A winter storm forced the Senate on Monday to approve a House-passed bill extending a ban on undetectable firearms instead of voting on a stronger version.

Current law requires guns to contain enough metal to be picked up by metal detectors, and that requirement would have expired Monday night without the Senate's action.

Many Democrats wanted to go further than a simple extension. Sen. Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerOvernight Health Care — Presented by the Association of American Medical Colleges — Trump officials move to expand non-ObamaCare health plans | 'Zero tolerance' policy stirs fears in health community | New ObamaCare repeal plan Selling government assets would be a responsible move in infrastructure deal Ignore the naysayers trying to disrupt US diplomacy with North Korea MORE (D-N.Y.) said last week that the House bill doesn't go far enough, and he said he would try to pass an expanded version that takes into account possible loopholes created by the advent of 3D printing.

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But several senators have been unable to return to Washington due to winter storms, making it much harder to orchestrate a last-minute attempt to expand the law through a series of roll call votes. That left the upper chamber to pass a bill the House unanimously approved last week to extend the Undetectable Firearms Act for 10 years.

Schumer did try to pass the House bill with an amendment from him and other Democratic senators, but it was objected to by Sen. Charles GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyOn The Money — Sponsored by Prudential — Markets roiled by Trump's new tariff threat | Trump lashes out at Canada over trade | Warren looks to block Trump pick for consumer agency The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by PhRMA — Defiant Trump meets with House GOP amid border blowback Republican senator calls for face-to-face with EPA’s Pruitt MORE (R-Iowa.). Grassley said his opposition was based on the last-minute nature of the change that Democrats were proposing.

"Today is the day that the current plastic gun ban expires," Grassley said. "The House had already passed a 10-year extension on a bipartisan vote, and the only way to be sure that the current ban remains on the books is to pass the House bill."

Schumer accepted that reality, and agreed in his own remarks that extending the law is a step in the right direction. But he said the Senate should work quickly to update the law to close possible loopholes created by 3D printers.

He and other Democrats say 3D printing allows guns to be manufactured in a way that lets people easily remove noncritical metal parts in order to avoid detection.

"So I would hope that we can pass a bill that not only extends the current ban, but would close the loophole hat allows for the manufacturing of guns that can evade detection by simply removing a piece of metal," he said.

Sen. Robert MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezSchumer: Obama 'very amenable' to helping Senate Dems in midterms The Hill's Morning Report: Can Trump close the deal with North Korea? Senate must save itself by confirming Mike Pompeo MORE (D-N.J.) was more critical of Republicans for blocking what he said would be an improvement to the law.

"Today Senate Republicans turned a blind eye to the threat from ever-improving technology that can print out a plastic gun which avoids detection," he said. "Once again, hard-line gun safety opponents stood in the way of common-sense measures to keep our families safe — refusing even to close a loophole that would prevent 3D printed guns from evading metal detectors and x-ray machines."

Even without the storm, the Senate seemed likely to simply approve the House bill given that the current ban expires Monday night, and many Democrats in the House and Senate favored a simple extension of the law over changes that might allow it to expire. Before Thanksgiving, Schumer himself pushed for a simple extension of the law, before he decided that the House extension wasn't good enough.

Last week in the House, Democrats accepted the need to pass the simple extension but also said they would work to change the law later to require all critical gun parts to contain some metal.

"While I support the reauthorization of the Undetectable Firearms Act for 10 years, a 10-year extension should not be interpreted as an agreement that the statute should remain unchanged for that entire term," said Rep. Bobby ScottRobert (Bobby) Cortez ScottHouse Dems demand answers from HHS on DOJ's ObamaCare decision Overnight Health Care — Sponsored by PCMA — DOJ move against ObamaCare sets off frenzy Dems blast DOJ for 'stunning attack on the rule of law' in ObamaCare case MORE (D-Va.).

On the Senate floor Monday, Sen. Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphyOvernight Health Care — Presented by the Association of American Medical Colleges — Governors criticize Trump move on pre-existing conditions Bipartisan group of senators asks FDA to examine drug shortages Trump faces Father’s Day pleas to end separations of migrant families MORE (D-Conn.) said it would be embarrassing if Congress couldn't at least extend the current ban. But he too said Congress needs to do work in the coming weeks to strengthen the ban to close the 3D printer loophole.

"This new technology that is pretty widely available already called 3D printing, has made it really easy to make firearms that comply with the existing law but are still potentially undetectable," he said.

— This story was updated at 6:12 p.m. to reflect the Senate vote.