A bipartisan majority in the House voted to extend a bill banning plastic guns or other guns that would not be detectable in a metal detector or x-ray machine on Tuesday.
The Undetectable Firearms Act, first passed in 1988 and renewed since, is set to expire on December 9. The act prohibits the manufacture, sale, or possession of firearms that do not contain enough metal to render them detectable by metal detectors and hence could be brought into airports or other secure places.
The bill required a two-thirds majority to pass, and it passed easily by voice vote.
Debate over the law has taken on a new dimension this year in light of the rise of 3-dimensional printers, which can be used to create a plastic gun. A group posted instructions for how to do so online earlier this year. Some proponents of the law have said it needs to be updated in order to account for the new technology.
Still, Democrats said that the House bill is a good start.
“This, for now, is a very good step,” said New York Rep. Steve Israel, speaking Tuesday on the House floor shortly before the voice vote. Israel was among those who had been pushing to include limits on 3-D printed weapons in the bill, and he said that he would still have “liked to close that loophole” in the Undetectable Firearms Act. Israel said that adjustment could be made later on.
New York Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer, who along with Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida and Patrick Leahy of Vermont pushed for such language in the extension, had a similar take.
“The House bill is better than nothing, but it’s not good enough,” Schumer said Monday, The Hill reported.
Schumer said that he was looking at adding another provision to the law — banning guns that have removable metal parts, allowing them to be taken through security checkpoints and reassembled.