Last week, Philadelphia’s 10-member city council unanimously passed a measure banning the production of firearms made by 3D printers. In doing so, Philly has become the first U.S. city to outlaw a practice that has become a growing concern at the state and federal level. The city of 1.53 million has good reason to be concerned, as there were 277 gun homicides in 2012 alone. Last year’s rate of 18.5 firearm murders per 100,000 persons put Philadelphia above entire countries such as Brazil and South Africa.

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The bill, which makes it illegal to “use a three-dimensional printer to create any firearm, or any piece or part thereof, unless such person possesses a license to manufacture firearms under federal law,” comes six months after Texas-based Defense Distributed made public the digital blueprints for making the world’s first 3D-printed gun, the Liberator .380 single shot pistol.

The federal government is very concerned about the potential rise of 3D-printed guns. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms recently test-fired two versions of the Liberator—one in strong plastic known as ABS, and the other in Visijet material that exploded upon firing. The State Department requested that Defense Distributed take its 3D-printed gun files offline and Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is working to extend a federal law banning undetectable firearms that is set to expire this month.

So far, 2013 is shaping up to be a much safer year in The City of Brotherly Love. Many criminal-justice experts credit the city’s proactive approach to preventing gun violence with a historic reduction in murders, as this year Philadelphia is on pace for its lowest homicide rate since at least 1968.

Via The Verge

Lead image via Electric-Eye