An Israeli television reporter conducted an experiment to test if he could smuggle a plastic gun created with a 3D printer into the Knesset, Israel’s parliament.
He was able to enter with the device not once but twice over the course of one week last month and during the second visit even pointed it in the direction of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu while sitting several yards away during a speech Netanyahu was delivering. The television report was broadcast this week detailing the investigation.
This is similar to an experiment carried out in May by Daily Mail reporters who found they could pass through airport-like security at the Eurostar train undetected with the homemade 3D printed gun.
So how the Israeli reporter manage to do it?
First, since there is a universal draft to Army service in Israel – where gun safety is emphasized – reporter Uri Even of Channel 10’s Tzinor Layla program knew he needed to consult with experts to make sure he and his crew remained safe.
He visited an office which owns a 3D printer – which is sold for about $2,000 in Israel, spent a few hundred dollars on plastic and within just a few hours was armed with a blue plastic handgun.
Even then went to a shooting range, where the manager of the range expressed concern the gun could explode in the face of the user, since he’d never previously fired such a weapon. He suggested mounting the device on a vise, tying a string to the trigger and pulling the trigger from a distance and behind a wall.
They succeeded in shooting the gun using a .38 caliber bullet and even hit the paper target, surprising both the shooting range manager and Dan Ronen, former head of operations of the Israel Police who consulted on the show.
Using a hidden camera, Channel 10 showed how Even twice was able to get past security with the unassembled gun. He never loaded the gun during his Knesset visit. After passing security, he is seen assembling the gun in the large plaza in front of the Knesset building and then sticking it in the back pocket of his jeans.
During his first trip, he visited with Member of Knesset Miri Regev, who was shocked when she learned what he’d managed to bring in. Regev, of Netanyahu’s Likud Beiteinu party, chairs the Knesset’s Interior Committee whose mandate includes police matters.
“Are you joking?” Regev said. “I’ve never heard of this. Police will have to learn to deal with it. This is incredible.”
On June 24, Even visited the Knesset a second time with his plastic gun and attended a speech given by Netanyahu, where not only Knesset security guards were present but also the prime minister’s security detail. Sitting ten rows back, Even sat with the gun between his legs pointed toward Netanyahu. Nobody noticed.
The Prime Minister’s Office, speaking for the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency), criticized the stunt to the Times of Israel. It called the report “an irresponsible act that could have endangered those who carried out the dubious ‘journalistic mission’ and could have caused them serious harm.”
“In addition to security checks [at the entrance to government buildings] there are visible and hidden security circles,” the Prime Minister’s office said, according to the Jerusalem Post.
Knesset security chief Yossi Grif told the Jerusalem Post after the investigative report, “In the Knesset, like all government offices and public institutions, we are examining the subject in order to give a professional response as soon as possible.”
“I am in constant contact with the rest of security services in order to reach an optimal solution as quickly as possible for the new threat,” he said.
Channel 10 says it has learned that the Knesset will now hold a hearing on the subject of plastic guns in light of the ease with which its reporter passed security with the 3D printed weapon.
Lawmaker Regev does not criticize Channel 10, suggesting the reporter did the Knesset a service.
“He did his job as a journalist, and the security forces in the State of Israel need to learn lessons from this,” Regev said.
“It’s good that they realize that there are new challenges they need to figure out how to overcome as technology develops,” Regev added.
The Hebrew report can be seen at this link.