Philadelphia Becomes First City To Ban 3D-Printed Gun Manufacturing

Yesterday, the Philadelphia City Council approved
a ban on the manufacturing of guns with a 3D printer.

Philadelphia magazine
that councilman Kenyatta Johnson, who crafted the
legislation, is unaware of any actual 3D gun manufacturers in
the city, and in a surprisingly earnest statement Johnson’s office
explained that “It’s all pre-emptive. It’s just based upon internet
stuff out there.”

, which bans anyone without a federal firearms
manufacturing license from producing 3D-printed guns, was passed
unanimously by 10-member council. If the mayor approves the bill,
Philadelphia will be the first city to implement this kind of

Johnson, who is a longtime
of restrictions on gun ownership and use, previously
said “You can use certain types of plastics and certain types of
other material to replicate anything,” a power that if honed by 3D
gun enthusiasts could be “catastrophic.” He hopes that restricting
these firearms will be curtail violent crime in Philadelphia.

It’s an ambitious goal. The Department of Homeland Security, for
example, has suggested that stopping the production of 3D-printed
weapons is a
virtually impossible task
. And criminals may have little
incentive to buy or build plastic 3-D printed guns like the

, which is likely to complete just a few shots before
breaking. The production of
3-D printed guns may change that, but as
Philadelphia magazine notes, the equipment needed to
manufacture one of these firearms can set you back $8000, whereas a
good old-fashioned black market handgun may cost as little as $300.
If a criminal is looking to inflict the catastrophic damage that
Johnson fears, they would not need an expensive, futuristic gun,
but as Reason‘s J.D. Tuccille
, a coffee mug, few dollars worth hygienic
products, and a working knowledge of basic chemistry.

There also remains question as to how well the bill will hold
up, as Pennsylvania law states
that “no county, municipality or township may in any manner
regulate the lawful ownership, possession, transfer or
transportation of firearms, ammunition or ammunition components
when carried or transported for purposes not prohibited by the laws
of this Commonwealth.”

Johnson countered this,
telling that “the prohibition that city ordinances
can’t overcome as it relates to state legislation is primarily
ownership, transfer of a firearm. This goes to manufacturing.” He
assured that “We believe that if there is a challenge in the court
system, it will be something we’ll be able to defeat.”

from Hit & Run

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