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3D printed guns are now banned in Philadelphia

Posting in Technology
Have ideas of buying a 3D printer and printing this gun? If you live in Philadelphia, think again. The city became the first city in the United States to ban the 3D printed guns.

The Philadelphia City Council voted recently to ban guns manufactured by 3D printers in a move not to curb a major problem, but, as Steve Cobb, director of legislation for the the bill's author, told Philadelphia Magazine: "It’s all pre-emptive. It’s just based upon internet stuff out there." 

Not that it shouldn't be a concern. The first 3D printed gun fired last May. And while the plastic gun might have looked like a toy, the latest 3D printed gun certainly doesn't. It's made of metal and fired successfully. Still, the more complex gun was made using the laser sintering process of 3D printing that is much more expensive than the cheap desktop 3D printers that are becoming much easier to buy and hook up at your home.

U.S. Federal officials recently tested 3D printed gun and confirmed they can be deadly. But the real concern is that detecting them could prove difficult.

As Richard Marianos, assistant director of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives told NPR: "When these 3-D firearms are manufactured, some of the weapons can defeat normal detection such as metal detectors, wands, and it could present a problem to public safety in a venue such as an airport, an arena, a courthouse."

That's especially concerning as a law in the U.S. that requires a certain amount of metal in any firearm -- making it detectable in a metal detector -- is set to expire in December. And it's just not clear how much Philadelphia's new law will do to ease those concerns.

[hat tip Fast Company]

Photo: Flickr/Electric-Eye

— By on November 26, 2013, 10:20 AM PST

Tyler Falk

Contributing Editor

Tyler Falk freelance journalist based in Washington, D.C. Previously, he was with Smart Growth America and Grist. He holds a degree from Goshen College. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure