We demonstrate for the first time an optically pumped gas laser based on population inversion using a hollow core photonic crystal fiber (HC-PCF). The HC-PCF filled with 12C2H2 gas is pumped with 5 ns pulses at 1.52 m and lases at 3.12 m and 3.16 m in the mid-infrared spectral region. The maximum measured laser pulse energy of 6 nJ was obtained at a gas pressure of 7 torr with a fiber with 20 dB/m loss near the lasing wavelengths. While the measured slope efficiencies of this prototype did not exceed a few percent due mainly to linear losses of the fiber at the laser wavelengths, 25% slope efficiency and pulse energies of a few mJ are the predicted limits of this laser. Simulations of the laser's behavior agree qualitatively with experimental observations.