Philly Becomes First City to Ban 3-D Gun Printing

Not that there are any 3-D printers in Philadelphia. That we know of.

Today, the Philadelphia City Council voted unanimously to ban the manufacturing of guns by 3-D printers, making Philly the first city to do so. Which is interesting, because the author of the bill, Kenyatta Johnson, isn’t aware of of any local gun-printing 3-D printers. “It’s all pre-emptive,” says Johnson’s director of legislation Steve Cobb. “It’s just based upon internet stuff out there.” We would hereby like to claim credit for this legislation by pointing to Nick Vadala’s comprehensive May 10th piece on guns made by 3-D printers. It reads, in part:

People have been manufacturing their own guns for hundreds of years, and we’re not exactly at the point where a 3-D printed gun can replace a standard zip gun as a down-and-dirty, DIY instrument of crime. Think of it like this: Youraverage 3-D printer costs anywhere from $1,500 to $8,000 and up, plus the cost of printing materials. Your average handgun could go for as little as $300 or less, even on the black market. A zip gun is either free or nearly so, and anyone with any mechanical ability can make one. Bombs, like the ones used recently in Boston, are frequently entirely homemade and constructed of legal materials. So, really, a 3-D printed piece isn’t exactly a better option to do wrong right now.

OK, maybe Johnson’s office didn’t base their legislation on Nick’s post, considering his entire point was that 3-D gun regulation was just a bunch of political grandstanding. But as Nick also points out, we’re a tech-savvy city, and it’s not inconceivable that some bored, semi-employed entrepreneur in Kensington that doesn’t follow City Council hearings tries to make one of these himself.