WASHINGTON (CBS DC) — The House of Representatives passed a bill on Tuesday that would extend a 1988 law banning plastic guns that could slip past X-ray machines and metal detectors – but some Democrats are calling for tougher, more modern restrictions.
The passed bill simply gives a 10-year extension to a 1988 law that prohibits weapons with less than 3.7 ounces of metal. The bill is set to expire in only a few days if both the House and Senate don’t come to agreement.
Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., told CBS News the extension bill is “better than nothing, but not by much,” and is looking to pass a tougher bill that closes modern loopholes next week.
“Every expert – law enforcement and anti-terrorism says closing the loophole is the way to go,” Schumer said.
Some of the loophole possibilities include new technology that allows for 3-D plastic guns, and also the ability to disassemble the weapons to avoid metal detection.
The 3-D gun debate was sparked this past year after Cody Wilson of Texas created such a weapon from a home 3-D printer – a move that prompted an order from the State Department to remove the blueprints from his website, CBS News reported.
“Who wants to be the first person to be injured or killed by a bullet fired by a plastic gun? Nobody does,” Rep. Steve Israel, D-N.Y., told CBS News. “Rather than having to play catch-up to that, why don’t we just keep pace with technology and protect the American people from that possibility.”
Despite such concerns, Democrats passed the bill in a move that shows both their frustration and inability to pass major gun laws in the current Congress. In April, the Senate was unable to pass a bill for extended background checks and assault weapons bans even in the wake of the Sandy Hook shootings which helped spark the national debate on gun control.
“If we only define ourselves by this Congress, we’re in trouble because they don’t do anything,” Joshua Horwitz, the executive director of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, told USA Today. “You have to look at this issue in terms of overall congressional dysfunction.”
The National Rifle Association does not agree with proposed expansion of the law.
“The NRA strongly opposes any expansion of the Undetectable Firearms Act,” they wrote in a statement.
This past summer, Israeli journalists were able to get past Israeli Parliament security and within yards of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with a plastic gun, CBS News reported.
Changes to the bill will have to be made on Monday, which is the same day that the Senate votes on the legislation.