Senator Nelson from Florida has filed a restrictive bill that would stifle innovation and experimentation, without significantly impacting terrorists or criminals. Interestingly, a complete exemption would be included for the U.S. government and agencies. The bill is titled the “Undetectable Firearms Modernization Act of 2017“.
“Thanks to advances in technology, anyone with a 3-D printer can simply print a fully-functioning firearm that can be snuck through a metal detector without being noticed,” Nelson said. “These guns pose a real threat to our safety and we need to be doing everything we can to keep them off the streets and out of the hands of those who wish to do harm.”
Both lawmakers cite an August incident where TSA Agents at the Reno-Tahoe International Airport found and confiscated a plastic gun from a passenger’s carry-on bag during screening. The gun, assembled using a 3-D printer, was found loaded with five live .22 caliber bullets.
The plastic copy was known to be a non-firing replica by August 9th. From kolotv.com:
One of 68 firearms discovered in carry-on bags nationally the week ending August 4, 2016, the TSA says it was a realistic replica, loaded with live ammunition.
The TSA says the passenger was offered the option of checking the item in carry-on baggage, but chose to leave it behind. The passenger was not arrested or cited, and continued to his flight with no impact to airport operations.
Nelson and Schumer’s statement was made in March of 2017.
Currently, the first part of the Undetectable Firearms Act of 1988 is this:
(1) It shall be unlawful for any person to manufacture, import, sell, ship, deliver, possess, transfer, or receive any firearm— (A) that, after removal of grips, stocks, and magazines, is not as detectable as the Security Exemplar, by walk-through metal detectors calibrated and operated to detect the Security Exemplar;
The Nelson bill would change that paragraph to this, bold added for emphasis:
(1) It shall be unlawful for any person to manufacture, import, sell, ship, deliver, possess, transfer, or receive any firearm— (A) that, after removal of all parts other than a major component, is not as detectable as the Security Exemplar, by walk-through metal detectors calibrated and operated to detect the Security Exemplar;
If you remove *all parts* other than a major component, only a major component is left to detect. Words mean things in the law, and the phrase in bold is not equivalent to “all parts other than all major components”, even though the difference is only two letters.
Such a requirement would outlaw all composite frames on the market today. Glock frames and most Glock type frames would be outlawed. Virtually all composite AR type lower receivers would be outlawed. The law could be a sneak attack or simply a result of ignorance on the part of Senator Nelson and the other famously anti-Second Amendment co-sponsors.
It will be interesting to see if Senator Nelson uses images of the non-firing replica from Reno to bolster his bill.
It seems unlikely that Nelson’s bill will find much support in a Trump administration with a Republican Congress.
By Dean Weingarten.