Philly Looking to Ban 3D Printing of Guns

Perhaps they heard the news that a 3D printed gun was made out of metal, using Selective Laser Sintering. This is an expensive process, outside the where the technology is as far as the hobbyist is concerned, but technology always gets cheaper. Though, Perhaps Philadelphia City Councilmen just sit around thinking of ways to screw the Second Amendment, when they aren’t busy allowing the city to continue to circle the bowl. Regardless of the motivation, Philadelphia City Council is looking to outlaw the 3D printing of guns.

“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.”

This is true, but there’s another element of the UFA they are ignoring:

No political subdivision may bring or maintain an action at law or in equity against any firearms or ammunition manufacturer, trade association or dealer for damages, abatement, injunctive relief or any other relief or remedy resulting from or relating to either the lawful design or manufacture of firearms or ammunition or the lawful marketing or sale of firearms or ammunition to the public.

It could be argued that this only means that subdivisions can’t sue manufacturers, but I would argue this is further evidence the state intended to reserve this body of law for the state legislature. Another question is whether a prosecution would be considered an “action at law.”

Regardless, I would not expect this ordinance to necessarily to go down. As we’ve seen, Pennsylvania courts will do what they can to screw gun owners. We’ve seen it with the law against firearms registries that the courts have ruled does not actually prevent the state from running a registry, as long as they call it a record of sale. We’ve seen the courts ignore plain meaning when it comes to reciprocal licenses. So I don’t exactly have great faith the courts will do the right thing here.

12 Responses to “Philly Looking to Ban 3D Printing of Guns”

  1. Instinct says:

    You knew this was coming. Soon as I read they had successfully made a real 3D printed gun I knew the lefties would start screaming to have it all banned.

  2. The Jack says:

    A nice highlight of how stupid their “blame the (scary) tools” thinking is.

    Because a blanket ban of a specific manufacturing technique makes complete sense.

    (Will FFL’s be able to use SLS to make guns? If not why not?)
    (What about non-FFL mfg using other methods?)

    Funny that there isn’t this PSH over CADCAM CNC machines.

  3. Andy B. says:

    I really don’t know how you effectively outlaw a certain application of a technology, without outlawing the entire technology outright. And at that I note, that stills were illegal, but my grandfather still made an awful lot of good whiskey.

    • Sebastian says:

      It’s the kind of law that make people who really don’t understand anything feel comfortable… even in home brewing, I have a wort chiller that is, essentially, a coil of copper tubing through which you run cold water to rapidly cool your wort down from a boil to a temperature yeast can survive. If you reverse the whole process, and instead run hot steam through the tubing and put the tubing in a bath of cold water, you have a still. Same concept only reversed.

  4. Merle says:

    Somehow this reminds me of the brohaha over the “undectable” plastic guns a few years ago.


    • Ronnie says:

      It was more than just a few years ago when the ruckus began. In was during the mid to late 1980’s when the Glock 17 first became available on the civilian handgun market. It was not long afterward when Democrats and the lefty publications all started whining and obfuscating about the Glock 17 being an “undetectable” gun. The truth was that the Glock 17 never contained less than two pounds of steel, however.

  5. aerodawg says:

    I knew it was only a matter of time before someone produced a gun with SLS.

    IIRC the patents covering SLS run out soon, which usually triggers a precipitous drop in tech costs. SLS may be readily available for home use soon…

  6. Barry Hirsh says:

    One word, with which Philadelphia is very familiar, much to its destain:


    • Barry Hirsh says:

      Sp. correction: distain

      • Ronnie says:


        v. t. 1. To tinge with a different color from the natural or proper one; to stain; to discolor; to sully; to tarnish; to defile; – used chiefly in poetry.

        @ Barry Hirsch: You mean “disdain” instead, right?

        dis·dain (ds-dn)
        tr.v. dis·dained, dis·dain·ing, dis·dains
        1. To regard or treat with haughty contempt; despise. See Synonyms at despise.
        2. To consider or reject as beneath oneself.
        A feeling or show of contempt and aloofness; scorn.

  7. Something that was mentioned by another panelist at the symposium I did at Indiana Tech Law School Friday: the Undetectable Firearms Act is about to sunset next month.