Congress ready to renew ban on plastic guns

Senate plans 10-year extension on law prohibiting firearms that can slip past airport detection machines
Associated Press
Dec 9, 2013


Racing a midnight deadline, Congress is ready to renew the expiring ban on plastic firearms that can evade airport detection machines. But lawmakers are sure to reject toughening those restrictions — the latest defeat for gun-control forces in the year since the grade school massacre in Newtown, Conn.

The Senate planned to give final congressional approval Monday evening to a 10-year extension of the prohibition against guns that can slip past metal detectors and X-ray machines. The quarter-century-old ban has been renewed twice and would expire Tuesday without action.

But first, senators were set to defeat an effort by Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., to strengthen the ban by requiring that such weapons contain undetachable metal parts. Some plastic guns meet the letter of current law with a metal piece that can be removed, making them a threat to be slipped past security screeners at schools, airports and elsewhere.

"Who in God's name wants to let plastic guns pass through metal detectors at airports or stadiums?" Schumer said in an interview Monday.

The National Rifle Association, which has been instrumental in blocking gun restrictions, has expressed no opposition to renewing the law. But the gun lobby said it would fight any expanded requirements, including Schumer's, "that would infringe on our Second Amendment rights" to bear arms.

The expected rejection of stricter curbs underscores the repeated setbacks for gun-control advocates in Congress since last Dec. 14. On that day, a gunman fatally shot 20 first-graders and six staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary School before killing himself.

Despite that — and other recent mass shootings, including at the Washington Navy Yard just blocks from the Capitol — supporters of expanded gun control are nearing the end of a year in which they have been unable to push any new firearms restrictions through Congress.

"We're several decades behind the NRA," said Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn. "This is a long game, and it's going to take us some time to build up the resources necessary to compete."

Congressional Republicans have resisted tightening the restrictions against undetectable guns, but those lawmakers — as well as the NRA — have not opposed renewing the current prohibition. The House approved a 10-year extension last week.

Plastic guns were in their infancy when President Ronald Reagan and Congress first enacted the ban against undetectable firearms. But such weapons have become a growing threat and can now be produced by 3-D printers, which are becoming better and more affordable.

Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa, top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, says that with the law's expiration at hand, Congress should extend it for a decade and study Schumer's more-restrictive plan later.

Supporters of tightening the rules say the 10-year renewal helps the gun lobby because it reduces Democrats' ability to revisit the issue.

The Sandy Hook killings prompted President Barack Obama and Democrats to make gun control a top domestic priority this year — but to no avail in Congress.

Their most stinging loss occurred in April, when the Senate turned aside an effort to expand federal background checks for would-be gun purchasers, an effort to prevent criminals and mentally ill people from getting weapons. That measure would have required the checks for all sales at gun shows and online — expanding a system that is currently required only for sales through licensed firearms dealers.

Also defeated were proposed bans on assault weapons and large-capacity ammunition magazines.

In a measure of GOP opposition and NRA clout, those proposals never even came to votes in the Republican-majority House.

But with Saturday's Newtown anniversary approaching, Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Pa., a psychologist, plans to announce legislation Thursday aimed at boosting federal mental health programs, including treatment, research and training for workers who respond to emergencies.

The lack of movement in the Democratic-led Senate has left gun-control groups divided about their 2014 goals.

Some are willing to set aside, for now, the push for expanded background checks and settle for more modest changes. These could include strengthening mental health programs and having states provide more records to the federal background check system.

Backing this approach are some Newtown families and the group Americans for Responsible Solutions, formed by former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., seriously wounded by a shooter, and her husband, former astronaut Mark Kelly.

"Anything we can do, anything Congress can do to potentially save a life, one life, they should do," said Pia Carusone, executive director of Giffords' group.

Others want to continue raising pressure on lawmakers to back strong background check requirements, and they oppose aiming for less.

These groups include Mayors Against Illegal Guns, led by outgoing New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, an organization that has been spending money against gun-rights congressional candidates and lawmakers. These groups are concerned that Republicans would use votes for weaker efforts to cast themselves as having championed major steps against guns.

"Our interest in giving (New Hampshire GOP Sen.) Kelly Ayotte a vote on a mental health bill, which would be a good bill but do virtually nothing to solve the gun violence problem in this country, approaches zero," said Mark Glaze, the mayors group executive director.

Ayotte voted against expanded background checks in April and has been criticized by gun-control groups ever since.




more do nothing, feel good legislation. bullets and springs would still show up in a x ray scan.


& whats with my pic?

Señor Clown

It seems like a bit of a stretch to think that a 3D printer can print a gun barrel strong enough to contain cylinder pressures high enough to launch a bullet with more force than a slingshot.


there are carbon fiber barrels for the ruger 10-22 rifle, still I think bullets and springs would show up in x-ray..


"Some plastic guns meet the letter of current law with a metal piece that can be removed, making them a threat to be slipped past security screeners at schools, airports and elsewhere."

What is one person had the gun and another had the parts? Its not that much of a stretch.


Re: "3D printer,"

There's serious talk of putting 'em on board the ISS to build needed parts in space.

The jin is outa the bottle.


LOL. Time to renew another liberal solution in search of a problem. How many time in the past 10 yrs has a plastic gun been either snuck on board a plane or used in the commission of crime on a plane. The answer ZERO. The real reason for the renewal is the fact the libs are trying to insert other anti-gun legislation in the bill under peoples noses. It isn't gonna work though, the cats already out of the bag Mr Schumer.


And yet the anti-gun groups are crowing like it's a victory of some sort


You can put as much regulation on firearms as much as you want, but as Jeff Goldblum said in Jurassic Park, "Life finds a way."

AJ Oliver

Why do all other developed nations have a MUCH smaller rate of gun violence? Answer, folks like the those above.


Re: "Why do all other developed nations have a MUCH smaller rate of gun violence?"

Because the right to a firearm isn't codified into their laws and so subsequently the totalitarians make and enforce the rules?

"H*ll, this nation was founded by religious nuts with guns."

- P.J. O'Roarke.

AJ Oliver

I'm guessing you have not traveled much. Totalitarian rule in Canada, New Zealand, UK, etc., etc.. Dude, that is NUTS!!! People are MORE free in other developed countries, in part because they can walk the streets without fear. Try it some time. Guns keep us neither safe nor free.


Re: "People are MORE free in other developed countries,"

Perhaps a move is in order for you then?

Reminds me of that lefty mental reject, actor John Malkovich who moved his family to France because he said that the U.S. is so violent, yet portrays murderous nut cases in movies. Hypocritical?

And just HOW do you propose to take the estimated 200 million plus firearms out of the hands of Americans? NUTS.

You do know that the homicide rate is declining don’t you?

I lived in the NW 'burbs of Chicago for 25 yrs. Often walked the neighborhood at night and NEVER ONCE felt the need to carry a firearm.

Keep scaring yourself.

The entire issue is a hell of a lot more complicated than the gun control crowd's simplistic thinking.


I admire you for trying but we cant educate or help these people..


I always LOVE how the lefties continually use the "other developed countries" argument when it comes to socio-economic programs (healthcare, gun control, et. al).

Major fallacy:

Overwhelmingly they are small countries with mostly small homogenous populations.

The U.S. has a large land mass, is culturally and ethnically diverse and is made up of approx. 315 million people.

It would be about as difficult as trying to get the ethnically and culturally diverse European Union with its 28 member counties and 507 million people to agree on social and economic programs.

H*ll, many doubt as to whether the euro (one of their few agreements) will survive as a major currency.

AJ Oliver

Writing that Canada is totalitarian is loony tunes.
Seriously, have you ever been there?
What astonishing ignorance.
And BTW, it's still cowardly to go after folks from behind the curtain of anonymity. Cowardly, got it?


Re: "Writing that Canada is totalitarian is loony tunes."

So WHY are there approx. 1 million Canadian expats living in the U.S.?

"Cowardly"? I ain't the one that started name calling Cupcake.

Other than b*tchin' YA got NO plan.

Stop It



"Writing that Canada is totalitarian is loony tunes."

What would you call it when clergy are arrested and charged for preaching the wrong words from the pulpit of their own church? How about when major authors are put on trial for publishing books the government doesn't like? When a major American News magazine is banned and copies are confiscated at the border? One thing you'd have to call it is Canada. But sure, anything you say - that First Amendment is just a silly obstacle to an orderly society.

There's this widespread assumption that most developed countries (at least in the West) are just as free as the USA because they have elections. Democracy is not liberty. A well known religion in this country is banned by our ally Germany. In England, government agents listen in on diners' conversation, ready to charge them for unapproved speech. A few minutes of skillful search engine use can find cases of people being arrested, fined, or imprisoned in most industrialized countries for something that is consitutionally protected in the USA.

"And BTW, it's still cowardly to go after folks from behind the curtain of anonymity. Cowardly, got it? "

Yeah, you keep chanting that as if repetition will make it true. This country exists in part because of people who "went after" George III and the anti-federalists from behind the curtain of anonymity.

No one went after you - Contango disagreed with you, i.e. disputed the ideas you expressed. Your confusion on that is understandable, given your fetish for identities over ideas, which speaks to a burning need to make it personal. I notice you always seem to pull out the anonymity card when you don't have anything substantive to offer on the topic at hand, and it usually accompanies the typical leftist tactic of naked assertion that those who disagree with you are mentally ill (a variant on
pointing and screaming "heretic.")

Identities are a distraction from the actual topic of discussion, and this fixation with them betrays either the conceit that one's own identity somehow enhances the value of one's words, or one's quest for hooks on which to hang ad hominems. Which one drives you?


Re: "disputed the ideas you expressed."

How can you tell that it's dogma?

Because the "true believers" (Hoffer) will attempt to silence any disagreement and opposition through intimidation and if necessary, death.

I've read that some feral animals such as pigs have become a serious problem in Europe, due in part to firearm restrictions and the punitive bureaucraticly imposed expense of hunting.

Our Founders looked to the sclerotic centrally planned Europe, found it wanting and sought better.


"Because the "true believers" (Hoffer) will attempt to silence any disagreement and opposition through intimidation"

And did you notice how, when that fails, AJ falls oddly silent?