Policy: Technology

NRA supports gun law extension, but not for 3-D printed guns

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The National Rifle Association indicated its support for the renewal of a law prohibiting hard-to-detect firearms, but made clear its opposition to expanding the law to cover "new technologies" like 3-D printed guns.

The gun lobbying group reassured its supporters that the House bill passed by near-unanimous voice vote earlier this week did not expand firearms restrictions, but simply extended legislation that has been in place since 1988. The bill, called the Undetectable Firearms Act, banned guns that are not easily found through traditional screening methods.

"Other than extending the sunset date, [the House bill] makes no changes whatsoever to the underlying act," the NRA's Institute for Legislative Action said in a statement on its blog this week.

The NRA also expressed their public opposition to a proposal by Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., proposal to change the Undetectable Firearms Act in a way that would restrict the development and manufacture of 3-D printed guns.

"The NRA has been working for months to thwart expansion of the UFA by Senator Chuck Schumer and others," the group said. "The NRA strongly opposes ANY expansion of the Undetectable Firearms Act, including applying the UFA to magazines, gun parts, or the development of new technologies."

The Undetectable Firearms Act expires Dec. 9, but Schumer has called attention to the risks of allowing plastic guns to be manufactured by those with 3-D printers, suggesting that guns without permanent metal components could be snuck through traditional screening devices.

“The House bill is better than nothing, but it’s not good enough,” Schumer said after the House passed the bill on Tuesday. “Under current law it is legal to make a plastic gun so long as it has some metal in it, even if it is easily removable. The bill we’ll try to pass in the Senate would fix that.”

The law in its current form has been largely uncontroversial, with bipartisan extensions of the original provisions in 1998 and 2003.

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