Yoshitomo Imura may well become the Patrick Henry of 3D printing guns.
The 28-year-old Imura was sentenced to two years in a Japanese prison for manufacturing 3D printed guns which authorities say violated national weapons laws in his home country. The prosecution in originally asked that he be incarcerated for 42 months.
According to the police, Imura created at least two plastic guns with his printer at his home in Kawasaki, Japan, and both were fully capable of firing live rounds.
The sentence handed down in Yokohama District Court this week made Imura the first person in history to be jailed for making 3D printed firearms.
A former employee of the Shonan Institute of Technology, Imura was found guilty of violating the strict Japanese laws that forbid the possession of guns, large knives and the production of weapons in the island nation.
Calling the act of 3D printing the guns "vicious," Judge Koji Inaba said the fact that Imura released the design data for his guns meant he had "flaunted his skills and knowledge and attempted to make gun controls toothless."
During September and December of 2013, Imura printed the guns which led to his arrest. His 'ZigZag revolver' is said to be capable of firing half a dozen .38 caliber bullets. It is important to note that police say no live ammunition was found in his home at the time of Imura's arrest.
Imura's defense attorney, Akira Noguchi, argued that his client didn't know printing the guns was illegal and that any plans to appeal the sentence have not been formalized.
It all began when Imura uploaded a video to YouTube of himself where he fired one of the guns, based on the design of The Liberator, the 3D printed gun created by US anti-gun control activist Cody Wilson.
When compared to the United States, Japan has rigid and comprehensive gun control laws, and those laws combined with cultural factors have resulted in the commission of just 15 murders in Japan during 2012. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, says that per 100,000 population Japan notched 0.01 gun murders per year. As for the U.S.? The same UN office says that per 100,000 citizens there were 2.97 gun murders that same year.