Dems move to ban plastic guns


Congressional Democrats are proposing to ban plastic guns, following reports of major security lapses at the nation’s airports

Plastic guns can be even more dangerous than traditional firearms because they’re harder to detect, says Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.).

{mosads}The Undetectable Firearms Modernization Act, backed by Israel and several other Democrats, would prohibit the manufacture of entirely plastic guns. The legislation would require a major component of every gun to contain enough traces of metal to be detected.

Israel plans to unveil the legislation Tuesday during a press conference at LaGuardia Airport in New York City, where he will draw a connection between his bill and recent high-profile airport security lapses.

“If detectable weapons can make it through security checkpoints, how can we expect to catch wrongdoers carrying undetectable plastic firearms?” Israel told The Hill. “What could be worse than a gun that can be used on an airplane, but cannot be detected on the security line because it’s plastic?”

“It’s time to modernize our airport security so the American people can count on it,” he added.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) failed a recent sting operation in which undercover agents sneaked fake explosives and weapons through airport security in 67 out of 70 tests, or about 95 percent of the time.
Many of America’s busiest airports failed the tests.

In one test, a federal agent was able to sneak a fake bomb that was strapped to his back through security, even after he was subjected to a pat-down.

The massive security failure led to the ouster last week of TSA acting administrator Melvin Carraway.
In light of the TSA security lapses, Israel and other Democrats say it is even more important to ban plastic guns.

“The fact is, we should be making it easier, not harder for TSA to stop dangerous weapons from getting onto our planes,” Israel said.

“What angers me, and frankly what frightens me, is that the guns that were getting passed the TSA agents were highly detectable,” he added. “But a plastic gun couldn’t be picked up by the most astute and trained TSA agent.”

Plastic guns have been made popular by 3D printers that make it easier for consumers to build their own firearms.

While the legislation would still allow manufacturers to build partially plastic guns, it would close a loophole that allows people to build guns that can evade security.

Current law prohibits plastic guns, but gun owners can get around the requirements by including a detachable strip of metal on an otherwise plastic gun.

Criminals can then remove that piece of metal when they go through security.

To combat this problem, Israel’s legislation would mandate that a major component of each gun be made of metal and that the weapon would be inoperable without that component.

“Plastic guns are real, they can be fired, they can kill someone, and there’s nothing we can do to stop them from going right through the airport security line because they are undetectable,” Israel warned.

The legislation was previously introduced in 2013. Last time around, it was supported by Reps. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.), Elizabeth Esty (D-Conn.), Jim Himes (D-Conn.), Mike Honda (D-Calif.), Jim Langevin (D-R.I.) and Pete King (R-N.Y.).

Sens. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) are also working on similar legislation to prohibit plastic guns, which could be introduced in the coming months.

While Republicans support the existing ban on plastic guns, most are opposed to expanding the law in the way that Israel is proposing.

Tags Bill Nelson Chuck Schumer

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