Philly bans the use of 3-D printers to manufacture guns

councilman kenyatta johnson
Credit: File photo / Rikard Larma

Driving to Canada on a family trip, City Councilman Kenyatta Johnson couldn’t believe what he heard.

His nephew told him about instructions available online that teach viewers how to print out a gun.

“At first I didn’t take him seriously,” Johnson said Thursday.

But when he came home from vacation, he hopped on YouTube, “And saw several different disturbing video clips that show how individuals can create a gun using a 3-D printer.”

Johnson proposed a bill on Sept. 12, which passed City Council on Thursday, that bans the use of three-dimensional, or 3-D, printing technology to manufacture firearms. 3-D printers build objects with layers of plastic that hardens into familiar shapes.

The state regulates the ownership, possession, transfer or transportation of guns and ammunition, but not the manufacture of firearms for personal use, Johnson said.

Shira Goodman, executive director of CeaseFirePA, said she thinks the bill sends a message.

“I think it sends a message to the people of Philadelphia that we care about the city and that they want to take steps to protect it,” Goodman said, “And I think it sends a message to Harrisburg that if you’re not going do it, we are.”

Goodman said she’s not sure if the bill will be tested by the state and possibly sent to court as has happened in the past with previous ordinances.

Johnson, founder of the anti-violence organization Peace Not Guns, said Philadelphia is one of the first cities “to proactively address an issue that has the potential to pose a significant danger to the public,” he said.

“As technology progresses, three-dimensional printers will become more advanced, less expensive, and more commonplace,” he added. “As instructions for the manufacture of guns via 3-D printing technology are already available on the Internet, we could be looking at a recipe for disaster.”


Follow Tommy Rowan on Twitter: @tommyrowan

Follow Metro Philadelphia on Twitter: @metrophilly

Follow Metro Philadelphia on Facebook: Metro Philadelphia


Mayor reveals new tech hub Digital.NYC

Mayor Bill de Blasio revealed Digital.NYC on Wednesday, a new online platform aimed at connecting all things tech in New York City. The public-private partnership…


Falling debris hits two men in Times Square

Two men were taken to the hospital Wednesday morning after being hit by falling debris from 110 feet above Times Square. Nancy Greco from the…


Queens Assemblyman William Scarborough accused of misusing campaign…

Queens Assemblyman William Scarborough has been indicted on state and federal charges for allegedly withdrawing campaign funds as cash for personal use. Scarborough, a Democrat…


U.S. Secret Service director Pierson resigns under fire

U.S. Secret Service Director Julia Pierson resigned under fire on Wednesday after a series of security lapses came to light.


TV watch list, Wednesday, Oct. 1: 'Criminal Minds,'…

The "Criminal Minds" team adds some supernatural assistance, as the "Ghost Whisperer" herself, Jennifer Love Hewitt, joins the show. She's playing an FBI agent, but you never know when someone…


See the most popular Pandora station in your…

Who knew Bachata music was so popular?

The Word

The Word: Twilight just won't die

You thought our "Twilight" days were behind us, didn't you? Well think again. Series creator Stephenie Meyer (who would rather you not ask about "Twilight"…

Going Out

Which NYC restaurant lost its three-star Michelin rating?

A record 73 restaurants in New York City collected coveted Michelin stars on Tuesday as a mix of trendy spots and fine-dining stalwarts underscored the…


Rex Ryan fields more questions about Geno Smith,…

The idea Geno Smith will be replaced by backup Michael Vick appears to be all smoke, as the Jets are intent to ride with their second-round draft pick.


Will Beatty playing like franchise left tackle again…

Left tackle Will Beatty, who is the elder-statesman of Giants’ line, has turned around his season and become a consistent force on Manning’s blindside.


John Conner back with Jets for second stint

He'll be back. It's "Terminator 2" for the Jets, who brought back John Conner to the team on Tuesday after placing fullback Tommy Bohanon on…


Fantasy football: Ben Tate to break out, Larry…

Fantasy football: Ben Tate to break out, Larry Donnell will stay solid


Creating a support system for minority women in…

When Kathryn Finney founded digitalundivided — an organization devoted to engaging minority communities with the tech world — she didn’t know quite what to expect.…


We can learn a lot from animals about…

There’s a lot we can learn about love from the birds and the bees — and the chickens, monkeys and squirrels that we share the…


Saint Laurent

Our review of the Saint Laurent Spring '15 show at Paris Fashion Week.


Céline: Paris Fashion Week Spring 2015

Our review of the Celine Spring '15 show during Paris Fashion Week.