Senate Extends Ban on Plastic Guns

The Senate extended an existing ban on plastic firearms for an additional ten years today, just days before the anniversary of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

The Senate voted by unanimous consent to renew the Undetectable Firearms Act of 1988, which prohibits the possession of firearms that cannot be spotted by metal detectors or X-ray machines, including plastic weapons made with 3-D printers. The House of Representatives passed the extension last week.

The bill has been extended two previous times since being enacted in 1988, and it was set to expire today.

Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., introduced his own version of the bill that would have authorized the extension for only one year, but Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, blocked it.

While it is not a new piece of legislation, the passage of the plastic firearms ban served as a reminder of Congress' inability to pass new gun control legislation this year in response to the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. Twenty students and six educators were killed in the mass shooting.

"It should be a sort of great embarrassment to the United States Senate and the House of Representatives that we have not moved the ball forward one inch when it comes to protecting the thousands of people all across this country who are killed by guns every year," said Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn.

After the mass shooting, President Obama vowed Congress would strengthen gun control legislation, including bills to strengthen background checks and ban assault weapons. The Senate took up the measures last April, along with plans to strengthen mental health care, but the legislation failed to secure the 60 votes needed to clear a procedural hurdle.

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