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Manufacturers Should Be Only Ones Allowed To Make 3D Printed Guns, Says State Senator

Keith Srakocic
State Sen. Wayne Fontana has co-sponsored two pieces of legislation to regulate unassembled "ghost guns," which he says can be more dangerous than other firearms because they can be unregistered.

On today's program: State Sen. Wayne Fontana tells us why he’s co-sponsoring two bills to regulate 3D-printed guns, known as "ghost guns"; Kathy Humphrey, Ph.D., explains what she’s bringing to Carlow University as its next president, and the first woman of color to lead a Pittsburgh university; and the pandemic makes it more difficult to identify and support the growing number of K-12 students experiencing housing insecurity.

Senator Wayne Fontana wants to regulate ‘ghost gun’ kits

(0:00 — 5:37) 

Eagle Arms, the largest firearm show promoter in Pennsylvania, agreed to stop selling so-called "ghost gun” kits. According to state Attorney General Josh Shapiro, this is believed to be the first such agreement in the nation.

But these ready-to-assemble guns are still legal in the Commonwealth.

“They are prevalent, more I think than most of us realize,” says State Sen. Wayne Fonanta (D-Allegheny County). “There’s a lot of folks out that are making their own guns and the reason is obvious: there’s no background checks.”

Fontana and Sen.Vincent Hughes (D-Philadelphia) reintroduced two pieces of legislation to regulate both ghost guns and 3D-printed firearms.

“Under this legislation [Senate Bill 413], no person may use a 3D printer to create a firearm — it’s as simple as that — or piece, or part of a firearm, unless the person possesses a license to manufacture firearms,” says Fontana. “We put it back in the hands of the people that should be doing it. Any person that violates it would be guilty of a third degree felony.”

The second piece of legislation, Senate Bill 414, subjects ghost gun kits, also called 80% receivers, to the same background checks and qualifications as any fully functioning firearm.

“I’ve talked to lots of Republicans or NRA [National Rifle Association] members and they’re okay with these types of laws, and even some background checks, the prevention of straw purchases, those kinds of things,” says Fontana.

“These bills aren’t to take away your Second Amendment rights.”

Kathy Humphrey, Ph.D., will be the new president of Carlow University
(5:40 — 13:27) 

The Pittsburgh-area will have its first black woman leading a four-year university. 

Carlow University appointed Kathy Humphrey as president. She is currently the senior vice chancellor of student engagement at the University of Pittsburgh. 

“I had the opportunity to come to the University of Pittsburgh to develop an outstanding undergraduate experience for students in and outside of the classroom,” says Humphrey. She joined Pitt in 2005 as vice provost and dean of students. “All of that knowledge I will be able to bring with me to assist Carlow as we create an outstanding student experience there as well.”

Some universities have seen decreased enrollment during the pandemic as prospective students put off a college education amid the economic recession. But Humphrey says if students see the value of education, then she believes enrollment at Carlow will stay strong. 

 “What we have to make sure is that we provide students an education that makes them know that it is the best decision they have ever made,” says Humphrey. “We have to help students to see the return on the investment even before they enroll”

Humphrey will become Carlow’s eleventh president on July 1, 2021.

Pandemic has made it harder to identify students facing homelessness
(13:30 — 18:0o) 

Student homelessness increased by 7% in one year throughout Pennsylvania. Advocacy groups say that number is likely much higher.  

90.5 WESA’s Sarah Schneider reports that the pandemic exacerbated situations that lead to homelessness, and remote learning has made it harder to identify students with unstable housing.

The Confluence, where the news comes together, is 90.5 WESA’s daily news program. Tune in weekdays at 9 a.m. to hear newsmakers and innovators take an in-depth look at stories important to the Pittsburgh region. Find more episodes of The Confluence here or wherever you get your podcasts.

Kevin Gavin is the host of WESA's news interview program "The Confluence." He is a native Pittsburgher and served as news director for 90.5 WDUQ for 34 years. Since the sale of the radio station by Duquesne University to Pittsburgh EPM, Inc. (now Pittsburgh Community Broadcasting Corp.), he served as Executive Producer of Special News Projects prior to being named as host of "The Confluence" five years ago. kgavin@wesa.fm
Marylee is the editor/producer of The Confluence, the daily public affairs show on WESA. She got her start in journalism at The Daily Reveille and KLSU while attending Louisiana State University. She took her passion for audio journalism to UC Berkeley's graduate program and worked in public radio at WPR in Madison, WI, and WOSU in Columbus, Ohio.
Laura Tsutsui is a producer for The Confluence, WESA's morning news show. Previously, she reported on the San Joaquin Valley with the NPR affiliate station in her hometown of Fresno, California. She can be reached at ltsutsui@wesa.fm.
Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Isabelle is a student at George Washington University studying Political Communication. She loves all things Pittsburgh sports and serves as a sports anchor for GW-TV. In her free time, she enjoys museum hopping and walking her dog, Stevie.
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