Wednesday, September 17, 2014
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Bill to ban 3-D printing of guns advances

City Council's Public Safety Committee today approved a bill that would ban the use of 3-D printing of guns in Philadelphia.

Bill to ban 3-D printing of guns advances

Philadelphia City Councilman Kenyatta Johnson.
Philadelphia City Councilman Kenyatta Johnson.

City Council's Public Safety Committee today approved a bill that would ban the use of 3-D printing of guns in Philadelphia. 

"You can use certain types of plastics and certain types of other material to replicate anything," said Councilman Kenyatta Johnson, who sponsored the bill. "What will happen if someone used one of these 3-D printers on a personal use, which we are seeing now, to create an actual firearm? That could be something thats catastrophic."

The possibility of people using 3-D printers, a new technology, to produce weapons raised eyebrows after the Texas group Defense Distributed posted a video in May of a Star Wars-like plastic gun being used. Many fear that the guns could allow criminals or terrorists to evade metal detectors.

In the past, some city ordinances regarding firearms have been struck down because, in Pennsylvania, state law preempts cities' when it comes to guns. But Johnson said that won't be a problem in this case.

"The prohibition that city ordinances can't overcome as it relates to state legislation is primarily ownership, transfer of a firearm. This goes to manufacturing," he said. "We've spoken with the Law Department. We believe that if there is a challenge in the court system, it will be something we'll be able to defeat."

The Philadelphia Police Department testified in support of the measure.

The bill was advanced unanimously by Council members Johnson, Curtis Jones Jr., Jannie Blackwell and Denny O'Brien.

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Chris Brennan, a native Philadelphian and graduate of Temple University, joined the Daily News in 1999. He has written about SEPTA, the Philadelphia School District, the legalization of casino gambling, state government, the mayor, the governor, City Council and political campaigns. E-mail tips to brennac@phillynews.com
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Jenny DeHuff is a 2005 graduate of the University of Rhode Island, where she cut her teeth in journalism. A South Philly transplant from New England, she joined the Daily News City Hall Bureau in 2013. For the past several years, she has worked as an investigative reporter exposing corruption in suburban politics, covering sometimes ghastly criminal court cases and following the people’s money and how its spent. In addition to being a dogged news hound, she enjoys reading and writing about travel, animals, Irish whiskey and aviation. E-mail tips to dehuffj@phillynews.com
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Sean Collins Walsh is from Bucks County and went to Northwestern University. He joined the Daily News copy desk in 2012 and now covers the Nutter administration. Before that, he interned at papers including The New York Times, The Dallas Morning News and The Seattle Times. E-mail tips to walshSE@phillynews.com
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