Riding the wave of recent news exposing failed TSA security checks, New York Rep. Steve Israel reintroduced legislation Tuesday to essentially ban plastic guns the lawmaker says would be easy for criminals and terrorists to carry through the nation’s airports undetected.
In a June 1 report, the Department of Homeland Security found that TSA agents failed 95 percent of tests where undercover investigators smuggled weapons through airport security screening zones. Jeh Johnson, secretary of the Transportation Security Administration said in a statement he would direct the agency to take actions to improve security measures.
Israel argued that if regular firearms could get through airport checks with such frequency, it’s only a matter of time before 3-D printed guns are used to skirt TSA security.
“If detectable weapons can make it through security checkpoints, how can we expect to catch wrongdoers carrying undetectable plastic firearms?” Israel said in a statement. “My legislation will close a dangerous loophole and require certain major components of guns are made of metal so they can be detected. It’s time to modernize our airport security so the American people can count on it again.”
The bill was initially introduced as the Undetectable Firearms Modernization Act two years ago and similarly seeks to update existing law passed in 1998 and renewed in 2003, before consumers had the ability to affordably 3-D print gun components.
The bill isn’t actually about protecting Americans from undetectable guns in airports, it’s about keeping people from creating their own firearms components, said Cody Wilson of Texas-based Defense Distributed.
“The text of the bill is about making sure the magazines have metal in them, making sure receivers have metal in them,” Wilson told Guns.com during a phone conversation Wednesday. “It’s a pernicious way of preventing you from manufacturing your own magazines and receivers.”
Wilson further scoffed at the bill, calling it a transparent seasonal fundraising attempt that will give the Department of Justice teeth in regulating how much metal is used in manufacturing the essential components of firearms.
“One, we’re letting Loretta Lynch determine how to build guns and two … trying to come up with ways to prevent people from creating magazines when he (Israel) discovered that printable magazines (and printable rifle receivers) were a new thing,” Wilson said.
Last month, alongside the Second Amendment Foundation, Wilson sued the State Department over censorship of plans his non-profit released online in May 2013 for the manufacture of its plastic handgun design, “The Liberator.”
“We get to be the spear tip on this one, but we’ve got a team that can take it all the way,” Wilson told Guns.com.
The government has yet to respond to Wilson’s complaint, but has proposed rule changes to the International Traffic in Arms Regulations that many – like the National Rifle Association – have argued could curb free speech when it comes to publishing technical information about firearms.
Wilson believes the revisions are related to his case.
“It looks like someone’s trying to maneuver,” Wilson said. “Its timing could not be coincidental.”
Wilson questioned the way the NRA chose to frame the debate in its email blast to members, which said the Obama administration could have the power to one day kill free speech online.
“It’s not just a future thing. They’ve been doing it to me for two years,” Wilson said. “They’re not gonna do it. They are doing it. They’re flagrantly, in daylight, going for the formalization of the rules.