In all likelihood, the renewal of the Undetectable Firearms Act is the only gun control law that Congress is likely to approve this year, which some gun control advocates are hailing as a small victory.
The UFA requires that all guns be detectable by metal screening machines. It was set to expire next Monday if Congress did not act to renew it. The GOP-controlled House approved a bill on Tuesday, H.R. 3626, that would keep the UFA on the books. The bill now heads to the Senate for consideration where it is likely to pass.
The National Rifle Association as well as many pro-gun lawmakers endorse or at least are indifferent to extending the ban on undetectable firearms provided that the text of the law remains as is.
“The NRA strongly opposes any expansion of the Undetectable Firearms Act,” NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam said in an email to Politico. “By simply reauthorizing current law, however, H.R. 3626 does not expand the UFA in any way.”
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) along with other pro-gun control lawmakers were hoping to do just that, to pass a more comprehensive law, to add language to the UFA to target 3-D printable guns and a requirement that all guns have at least one unremovable or undetachable metal part.
However, the reality is that an expanded version of the UFA is unlikely to clear either chamber, which means Schumer and company will have to settle for what they can get.
“The House bill is better than nothing, but it’s not good enough. We absolutely must close the loophole that allows anyone to legally make a gun that could be rendered invisible by the easy removal of its metal part,” Schumer said Monday.
House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) echoed those thoughts that the current UFA as written is insufficient but expressed optimism about addressing the law in the future.
“The gun bill could be better, but this is a 10-year extension and obviously it can be worked on both in the Senate and in the next Congress,” Rep. Hoyer said. “Extending it is better than not extending it.”
Meanwhile, the NRA has said that it will continue to fight against a more strict and comprehensive UFA.
“The NRA has been working for months to thwart expansion of the UFA by Sen. Chuck Schumer and others. We will continue to aggressively fight any expansion of the UFA or any other proposal that would infringe on our Second Amendment rights,” Arulanandam said.
Here’s a pretty sensible pro-gun response to the UFA by The Yankee Marshall.