Wednesday, July 19, 2023

U.S. Senate Covertly Aims to Renew Undetectable Firearms Act via NDAA

In the year 1988, a legislation prohibiting "undetectable" firearms was ratified by the United States Congress. This Undetectable Firearms Act came into existence as a reaction to Glock introducing a polymer-based handgun. Currently, the Act is facing the prospect of reauthorization, hidden within the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

The Glock polymer firearm was the inaugural polymer pistol to gain broad acceptance across the country. This sparked alarm among anti-gun factions who began to circulate misinformation, falsely claiming that Glocks could bypass metal detection systems. This false narrative found its way into popular media, exemplified by the movie Die Hard 2 where the protagonist, John McClane, mentions that the antagonists were wielding "Glocks 7s" that could evade airport security checks.

This disinformation was not only perpetuated by film scriptwriters, but also by several Congressional members. Fearful, politicians hastily enacted a bill banning an non-existent category of firearms. The reality at the time was that all firearms, including the much-feared Glocks, could be detected since they all incorporated substantial metal components. Specifically for Glocks, only the frame was polymer, with parts like the slide, barrel, firing pin, and more composed of metal. Additionally, the metal in the ammunition would trigger metal detectors.

The legislation required firearms to have a minimum metal content. Originally set to expire in 2013, it was extended by Congress. Despite fears, in 2013, no firearm was close to being undetectable. Nonetheless, there are now efforts to surreptitiously include it in the NDAA, with intentions for a permanent reauthorization.

Since 2013, technological leaps, especially in 3D printing, have occurred. The 3D printing revolution has seen the emergence of some of the most groundbreaking firearm designs. The availability of affordable 3D printers has enabled even hobbyists at home to experiment with firearm designs, fostering interest in engineering and design through the use of CAD software.

However, these technological advancements have caused concern among anti-gun proponents, including members of the Biden administration. If the Undetectable Firearms Act is reauthorized, it can be used as a weapon to obstruct the progress of 3D-printed gun innovation.

Behind the scenes, Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) is actively working with Republican colleagues in the Senate to attach the Act's reauthorization to the NDAA, a move that appears to have bipartisan support. Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has scheduled a "Cloture" vote to limit the debate time to 30 hours.

Once the time limit expires, the Senate could vote on the amendment. As the versions of the NDAA differ in the House and Senate, a conference will be held to resolve the differences. Both chambers will then need to approve the final NDAA.

The passage of this amendment to the NDAA hinges on who manages to make their voices heard. At present, gun owners have a limited window to urge their Senators to vote against reauthorizing the Undetectable Firearms Act. Advocates for stricter gun control are already lobbying Congress to reauthorize an act that has the potential to impede innovation from the next wave of firearm designers.

No comments:

Post a Comment