When we first saw reports of 3D printed sub-machine guns found during a drugs raid in Queensland Australia, our first thought at 3DPI was not to dignify such clearly obvious bad journalism with any additional coverage.
However, seeing as the story is now more widely reported than at the start of the week and as the subsequent “reporting” has, with few exceptions, been in a similarly sensational manner, we decided to contact Queensland Police.
I spoke to Detective Superintendent Jon Wacker of the Drug and Serious Crime Group in Queensland Australia for the real story.
“I don’t know where they got the 3D printed machine guns from,” said DS Wacker over the phone. The Detective is referring to captions accompanying the image below, where the Uzi style weapons were incorrectly labelled as 3D printed sub-machine guns by several news outlets.
There is nothing in any media reports to suggest that any parts were made [using 3D printing]. I see those list of questions there you’ve asked, nothing would suggest that any part of that machine gun was made on a 3D printer.
During a raid as part of Operation Oscar Quantum, targeting the illicit manufacture and trade of amphetamines, an XYZ Da Vinci 3D printer was also found. “We had the guns out for display and in the media release I did say that we’d also located a 3D printer and with that poetic licence has taken over,” said DS Wacker.
The senior law enforcement officer says that the guns recovered from the scene have yet to be tested by the ballistics department, however he believes such tests are highly unlikely to show the guns were 3D printed.
Even from the photos published it is quite clear that the metal guns on display were clearly not made using the 3D printer found at the scene. This did not stop several major news organisations from publishing scaremongering stories. Newspapers reporting the story as fact included The Guardian and The Sun. Speaking about some of the sensationalist reporting the Australian detective tells me, “I don’t even believe the date on that paper!”
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