Making plastic gun with 3-D printer may be outlawed in Philly


Philadelphia City Council has passed one of the first bills in the country banning the use of 3-D printers to make a plastic gun. 

Saying he doesn’t want Philadelphia to become the plastic gun capital of the world, Councilman Kenyatta Johnson said his ban would allow only gunsmiths to use a 3-D printer to create a firearm.

“This bill will prohibit the manufacture of firearms using 3-D printers. Recently individuals have released via the Internet how to make a working firearm using a 3-D printer,” Johnson said. “Currently, federal and state laws do not prohibit making a gun for personal use, so a person could make one of these guns without violating any federal laws.”

Johnson said he remembers “zip guns,” crudely made weapons capable of killing, and he doesn’t want to see homemade firearms start popping up on city streets.

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Other gun laws proposed in the city have been struck down because state law superseded those ordinances.

“I don’t believe there is a state pre-emption to this issue. The state pre-emption provision only regulates ownership possession transfer of guns and ammunition,” he said. “This bill really goes to the manufacture of firearms, which is not ownership or transportation.”

Mayor Michael Nutter still must sign the bill for it to take effect.

CORRECTION: This story was previously accompanied by a photo from Greater Manchester Police in northern England showing a plastic component made with a 3D printer, found by officers during a raid on suspected gang members. Police initially claimed the item was part of a plastic printed firearm but later issued a statement that they “cannot categorically say” it was for use in a gun.

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