Hopewell Police say teenager shot dead with handgun made by 3D printer


HOPEWELL – Police say teenager accidentally shot himself over the weekend as he tried to make a handgun from spare parts and a 3D printer, a weapon commonly known as “Ghost gun” because they do not require a license to own,

The 16-year-old’s leg injury was not life threatening, Hopewell Police Lt. Cheyenne Casale said. Police discovered the homemade weapon while responding to the youngster’s residence on Saturday in the 2800 block of Grant Street.

Casale said the youth was beaten “while handling a partially completed homemade firearm”. The weapon was made up half pistol parts, half 3D printing.

“The miner had compiled aftermarket parts to create the upper half of a handgun, then used a 3D printer to make the lower half containing the grip and trigger mechanism,” Casale said. The weapon unloaded

The victim was taken to VCU Medical Center in Richmond for further treatment. His condition was not known at the time of this writing. Casale said federal and state law enforcement are working with Hopewell Police on the investigation.

Ghost guns are unregistered and cannot be found, making them attractive to people who want to own a gun but don’t want to license it.

Instructions on how to use a 3D printer to make a firearm are readily available on the internet. A Google search on the topic “how to build a handgun with a 3D printer” by The Progress-Index returned 646 million results on sites around the world.

According to some of the websites we scanned, just about any type of ghost gun can be built using a 3D printer, including an AR015 style rifle. A website, All3DP.com, has stated that 3D firearms can “sort of” work, but there have been several reports of these weapons exploding in the user’s hand.

“Generally speaking, most 3D printable gun files still require non-3D printed parts to complete build,” the website states. “Otherwise, they’re not that reliable – making them less than ideal for potential criminals looking to have an unregistered firearm.”

Ghost guns are unregistered and cannot be found, making them attractive to people who want to own a gun but don’t want to license it.

Virginia is one of 20 states that filed a lawsuit against the federal government last year to prevent 3D gun blueprints from being released online.

Authorities in Hopewell are asking anyone who may have information about Saturday’s shooting to call (804) 541-2284 or Crime Solvers at (804) 541-2202. Information can also be shared through the P3Tips app.

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Veteran reporter Bill Atkinson (he / him / her) is the regional daily news coach for the United Central Southeastern Region Group of the USA TODAY Network, which includes Virginia, West Virginia and parts of the North Carolina. He is based at the Progress-Index in Petersburg, Virginia. Contact Bill at batkinson@progress-index.com and follow him on Twitter at @BAtkinson_PI.


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