The federal ban on plastic guns will expire on Dec. 9 if the Senate Democrats keep trying to trick Congress into more gun control.
Once the law sunsets, anyone with a 3D printer and downloaded blueprints can make a legal gun that can pass through metal detectors. This is dangerous for everyone.
Just before the Senate recessed last Thursday for two weeks, Sen. Chuck Schumer abruptly called for unanimous consent for a one-year extension to the Undetectable Firearms Act. Up to that point, all discussion in both the House and Senate were for five or 10 year periods.
His scam was to have the bill expire again during the Senate’s lame duck session in 2014. At that point, Mr. Schumer and his compadres could tack on the gun-control expansions that their vulnerable Democrats in rural and western states would not support in an election year.
Mr. Schumer and some Democrats on the Judiciary Committee had been trying recently to expand the scope of the ban to include millions of existing and non-threatening polymer magazines.
Sen. Jeff Sessions, the Alabama Republican who is on the Judiciary Committee, objected to Mr. Schumer’s request and asked the bill be done in regular order.
Mr. Schumer protested not moving immediately. He said on the floor that, “What makes us need to do this rather quickly is that a few months ago someone in Texas published on a website a way to make a plastic gun, buying a 3D printer for less than $1,000.”
He’s referring to Cody Wilson who printed a plastic gun which he calls “The Liberator.”
Current federal law states that a firearm has to have 3.7 oz of stainless steel in it — after removing the grips, stocks and magazine. With the invention of 3D printers, a few people have technically abided by the law by adding a non-functional steel clip to the firearm.
Even though Mr. Wilson has a federal manufacturer’s license, which exempts him from the law, he added a piece of steel to his gun to make it compliant.
The Democrats then attempted to create a non-existent political controversy for public relations purposes.
Connecticut Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal put out a press release Friday that falsely blamed Sen. Sessions for blocking the bill permanently. Mr. Blumenthal theatrically stated that, “Delaying these protections simply puts innocent American lives at risk.”
Sen. Chuck Grassley, the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee, is outraged by the games being played on the other side of the aisle.
“Congressional Republicans support a lengthy extension of the ban on firearms that cannot be picked up by metal detectors,” the Iowa Republican said in a statement Tuesday.
“Rather than working with us, they sought to move their inadequate bill just before the Senate adjourned, intending to make Republicans object. Democrats have knowingly mischaracterized this debate.”
The statute has actually been led by Republicans in the past. It was originally signed into law in 1988 by President Reagan. The GOP congress passed it with strong bipartisan support in 2003, and President George W. Bush signed it.
The House is expected to bring up a 10-year extension of the bill on suspension when it returns from Thanksgiving recess next week.
Since the Senate doesn’t comes back to D.C. until the day this law sunsets, it will have to either pass the House bill or try to expand into magazines and risk a break in the law.
The Senate ought to unanimously pass the House plastic gun bill for a ten-year period and send it to President Obama’s desk.
Public safety shouldn’t come down to the wire so politicians like Chuck Schumer can try to play tricks.
Emily Miller is senior editor of opinion for The Washington Times and author of “Emily Gets Her Gun” (Regnery, 2013).