Philadelphia Votes to Ban 3-D Printed Guns

The Philadelphia City Council voted on Thursday to ban the use of 3-D printers to create firearms.

The bill, which was introduced by Councilman Kenyatta Johnson in September, prohibits people from creating part or all of a firearm using the three-dimensional printing technology. Licensed gun manufacturers are not affected.

A 3-D printer creates a physical object by laying down many layers of plastic or another resin-infused material in the same fashion as an inkjet printer. The technology has been around for some time, but recent advances have made the devices very affordable and more commonplace.

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A gun made this way can be created without any metal and thus be undetectable by current checkpoint screening methods like metal detectors and X-ray machines in use at city buildings, arenas and airports.

“Today, Philadelphia became one of the first cities in America to proactively address an issue that has the potential to pose a significant danger to the public,” Councilman Johnson said in a statement after the vote.

Philadelphia is not alone in the push to ban the 3-D printed weapons. Lawmakers in California and Washington, D.C. vowed to push for similar restrictions in the wake of a reported successful test fire of a 3-D printed weapon earlier this year.

U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer wants to extend a federal law that prohibits carrying a undetectable gun. The current law is set to expire on Dec. 9.

Schumer says the latest designs for 3-D printed guns, which are available for download on the internet, allow the gun to fire multiple shots before being destroyed. A blueprint for one such firearm was recently downloaded more than 100,000 times, Schumer says.

The 3-D printed gun ban now goes before Mayor Michael Nutter.

Contact Vince Lattanzio at 610.668.5532, or follow @VinceLattanzio on Twitter.

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