The dark web experts are now concerned regarding the influx in the 3D printing kits online. These kits enable the criminals to create untraceable handguns at their residences.
Australian National University researchers had prepared a report for the Australian Institute of Criminology. In the report, ANU had listed DIY handgun patterns and kits as the latest trend to watch. The dark web vendors are looking forward to selling weapons devoid of the unique serial numbers needed on the legally manufactured firearm frames.
“We were surprised how much self-help material there is available,” Professor Roderic Broadhurst said from the ANU Cybercrime Observatory.
“There is a kit available for cutting frames for weapons. It is like selling a pattern for a dress; you can then make the main piece of the firearm using 3D printing but without the unique serial numbers required on legally manufactured firearm frames.”
The discovery and the utilization of hybrid metal and plastic 3D printing kits and components are distressing. It will aid in producing weapons and firearms much easier and cheaper, as professor Broadhurst stated.
“3D printing kits are getting better and we are definitely seeing a higher class of products; it used to be thought plastic would be too brittle but they are using harder plastics,” Professor Broadhurst said.
“It’s like standing on a piece of Lego – these pieces will not break.”
The ANU study had tracked the dark web markets in 2019 between the months of July and December and spotted 2124 weapons being put up for sale. Of those spotted, there were 219 rifles, 1497 handguns, 34 shotguns and 41 submachine guns.
The most common categories of weapons included:
- Handguns (70.5 per cent)
- Rifles (10.3 per cent)
- Ammunition (3.7 per cent)
- Submachine guns (1.9 per cent)
- Explosives (1.7 per cent)
- Shotguns (1.6 per cent)
- Accessories (1.1 per cent)
Along with the decommissioned military ammunition and weapons, there were also counterfeit weapon advertisements posted by the law enforcement agencies. Professor Broadhurst had stated that the Australians’ access to the variety of untraceable ‘ghost guns’ was also alarming.
The most popular listings on the dark web that the vendors had been offering had been conventional handguns, being stealth packaged to Australia. A type of Austria-manufactured handgun, Glock semi-automatic pistols, comprised entirely 25 per cent of all the handguns sold on the darknet markets.
“There are lots of Glocks available. They are the standard law enforcement side arm and you see them in action movies,” professor Roderic Broadhurst said.
“They are trendy, slick and popular with gangsters and law enforcement. We think they are popular on the dark web because they can be stripped down to their parts and sent through the post in pieces.
“The prices of these Glocks are roughly the same price as the offline equivalent but they are not registered or their serial numbers have been wiped off; it theoretically makes them untraceable.”
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