Police in Manchester, UK made a huge show out of having seized a "3D printed gun." Then, it turned out that they'd just seized parts for a 3D printer. But it's still very scary, as Assistant Chief Constable Steve Heywood copsplains: it might have been a 3D printed gun, and they had "intelligence" about a 3D printed gun, and if we search the computers we stole, we might find plans for a 3D printed gun, and also, our botched, humiliating cockup "opens up a wider debate about the emerging threat these next generation of weapons might pose."
Thanks, Officer Hypothetical, for saving us from this dire threat!
"We need to be absolutely clear that at that this stage, we cannot categorically say we have recovered the component parts for a 3D gun.
What we have seized are items that need further forensic testing by national ballistics experts to establish whether they can be used in the construction of a genuine, viable firearm.
We will also be conducting a thorough analysis of computers we have recovered to establish any evidence of a blueprint on how to construct such a weapon.
Clearly the fact we have seized a 3D printer and have intelligence about the possible production of a weapon using this technology is of concern. It prudent we establish exactly what these parts can be used for and whether they pose any threat.
What this has also done is open up a wider debate about the emerging threat these next generation of weapons might pose.
The worrying thing is for me is that these printers can be used to make certain components of guns, while others can be legitimately ordered over the Internet without arousing suspicion. When put together, this could allow a person to construct a firearm in their own home.
Thanks to Challenger, which is the biggest ever multi-agency response to organized crime in Greater Manchester's history, we now have even greater resources to combat any emerging threats posed by organized criminal gangs, which may include the production of these weapons.Under Challenger we will a multi-agency action plan for every single organized crime group in Manchester and we will target these networks from every possible angle, hitting them where it hurts."
3D-printed 'gun parts' seized in UK raid may be spare parts for a printer (update) [Aaron Souppouris/The Verge]
(Thanks, Alex G!)
I write books. My latest is a YA science fiction novel called Homeland (it's the sequel to Little Brother). More books: Rapture of the Nerds (a novel, with Charlie Stross); With a Little Help (short stories); and The Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow (novella and nonfic). I speak all over the place and I tweet and tumble, too.