Recently we’ve been telling you a little story about Philadelphia, the city that wanted to make 3D printing guns an illegal activity. Well, since November 21 Philadelphia has officially become the first city in the United States of America to ban 3D printed guns. The Philadelphia City Council has unanimously approved this ban and the legislation is now waiting for the final approval from the cities mayor.
It’s not yet clear how the city will try to enforce this ban, but after the vote councilman Kenyatta Johnson pointed at the importance of the ban: “As technology progresses, three-dimensional printers will become more advanced, less expensive and more commonplace. As instructions for the manufacture of guns via 3D printing technology are already available on the Internet, we could be looking at a recipe for disaster.”
Johnson said earlier about this subject – before the ban was officially introduced by the City Council: “You can use certain types of plastics and certain types of other material to replicate anything. What will happen if someone used one of these 3D printers on a personal use, which we are seeing now, to create an actual firearm? That could be something that’s catastrophic.”
However, there’s also some criticism about the fear of 3D printing guns. In May this year, Nick Vadala pointed out in Philadelphia magazine that it would be highly unexpected that 3D printing guns will become a successful crime in the near future, due to the high costs of 3D printing:
“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: Your average 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.”
The same magazine now reports that Johnson isn’t aware of any local 3D gun manufacturers. “It’s all pre-emptive,” says his director of legislation Steve Cobb. “It’s just based upon internet stuff out there.”
Image by: Jasen Hudson.