Calgary police lay dozens of charges against two men over 3D gun manufacturing

·2 min read

CALGARY — Police in Calgary have arrested two men suspected of producing "ghost guns" on a 3D printer and selling them to criminals.

Calgary officers have seized 1,229 firearms so far this year, including more than 300 believed to have been used in crimes.

Of those so-called "crime guns," nine per cent were homemade or 3D-printed — a significant increase over last year.

"What we are seeing is a definite trend in the use of 3D-printed firearms," acting Staff Sgt. Ben Lawson said Thursday.

He said police might have seized one or two a year when they first started tracking it in 2020.

"We are up to around 15 so far this year, so that increase has gone from about one per cent up to nine per cent of all crime guns seized in the city."

Lawson says the 3D guns function the same as regular ones.

Police have laid 66 charges against two suspects following an investigation that began last November.

Brandon Vincent-Wager, 24, and Justin Kumar, 27, are to appear in court late next month on charges that include firearms manufacturing, firearms trafficking and possession of firearms or restricted devices.

Recovered from a raid in May police were five completed 3D Glock-style handguns with magazines, three 3D printers, ammunition and additional firearm parts.

Lawson said the guns can go for between $2,000 and $5,000 on the black market and each takes about 30 to 40 hours to print. Additional parts that are required, such as triggers and barrels, can be purchased at any gun store.

"Lots of people refer to them as ghost guns and so a ghost gun is a firearm that has never had a serial number so it's not traceable," Lawson said.

The federal government has placed an import ban on restricted handguns. With limited exceptions, individuals and businesses are no longer able to import restricted handguns into Canada.

The Liberal government announced a plan in May to implement a freeze on importing, buying, selling or otherwise transferring handguns to help quell firearm-related violence.

Calgary has recorded 97 shootings so far in 2022, already more than the 95 recorded in all of 2021. Police Chief Mark Neufeld said it's "problematic" and "unprecedented."

Lawson wouldn't comment on whether the federal ban would limit the amount of firearms available in Calgary.

"We know that a criminal will attempt to get a firearm in their hands, any method that they can — whether it be from 3D-printed, whether it be from a break-and-enter, whether it be from smuggled firearms."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 25, 2022.

Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press