Republicans Vote to Renew Gun Control Bill
The House will vote Tuesday to ban the sale of undetectable guns
Democrats have tried in vain in 2013 to get House Republicans to pass gun control measures they believe would curb violence such as the massacre in Newtown, Conn. Tuesday, however, gun control legislation which has a long record of bipartisan support and is sponsored by a House Republican with an “A” rating from the National Rifle Association, is up for consideration.
The Undetectable Firearms Act will be voted on under a suspension of the rules, which means it will need a two-thirds majority to pass. Its lead sponsor is Rep. Howard Coble, R-N.C., a veteran lawmaker who represents portions of rural North Carolina. His bill would extend a law that bans the sale of firearms that can go undetected in a metal detector.
The law has been a source of bipartisan compromise in Congress since the Reagan administration. It was a forward-looking bill in 1988 when it was first authorized. Then it was aimed at ensuring large-scale gun manufacturers couldn’t produce or sell weapons that could slyly bypass security checkpoints undetected. Now, in an era when consumers with a 3-D printer could make plastic guns at home, the law may have wider implications.
The vote in the House is expected less than a week before the current version of the legislation expires. The Senate, however, has yet to act and will be out of session until Monday.
Sens. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and Bill Nelson, D-Fla., brought a similar bill up for a vote before leaving for the Thanksgiving holiday, but Republicans in the Senate objected. Democrats in the Senate warn that the rapid advance in 3-D printing technologies could produce more undetectable guns and more mass shootings.
House Passes Ban On Plastic Guns As Senate Eyes Broader Reforms
WASHINGTON — Something bizarre happened in the House of Representatives on Tuesday: Republicans quietly passed gun control legislation.
The bill, which renews the 1988 Undetectable Firearms Act, faced so little opposition in the House that it was only debated for 10 minutes and passed on a voice vote. It’s the only gun-related measure to get a House vote since Democrats launched a major push for action on gun violence in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting late last year.
Tuesday’s vote doesn’t implement new gun laws — it just extends a current one banning guns that don’t contain enough metal to trigger X-ray machines or metal detectors. The law was originally signed by President Ronald Reagan and was renewed by Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, passing Congress with broad bipartisan support each time. It is currently scheduled to expire on Dec. 9.
While the House didn’t make any changes to the law, Senate Democrats are poised to try to expand it. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) will put forward a bill on Monday, the same day the law is set to expire, containing a provision targeting plastic guns made with 3-D printing technology. Specifically, his bill would require that guns contain a piece of metal that is intrinsic to its operation, such as in the barrel or the trigger handle, rather than an extraneous piece that could be removed before a gun is put through a metal detector.