Lawmakers mull ban on plastic guns after TSA failure to detect real firearms

 Reuters / Kyodo
Citing the failure of TSA agents to identify traditional detectable weapons at airport security, Democrats are seeking a ban on plastic guns that would require manufacturers to put at least one metal component on the firearm to make them easier to scan.

“If detectable weapons can make it through security checkpoints, how can we expect to catch wrongdoers carrying undetectable plastic firearms?,”Rep. Steve Israel, a New York Democrat, told the Hill.

To battle security lapses, the Democrats in the House plan to introduce amendments to the Undetectable Firearms Modernization Act. Israel is set to unveil the legislation at a LaGuardia Airport press conference in New York on Tuesday.

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The law, which now bans plastic guns at the airport, allows its owners to place a detachable metal piece to a plastic gun before going through a metal detector. But once a toy is through the security, the metal part can then be removed.

“Plastic guns are real, they can be fired, they can kill someone, and there’s nothing we can do to stop them from going right through the airport security line because they are undetectable,” Israel warned.

The push to create detectable toy weapons comes a week after a release of a report that alerted the public of the Transport Security Administration's (TSA) inability to keep passengers safe on flights and at the airport. According to the probe, the TSA only managed to single out mock explosives and banned weapons at security checkpoints five percent of the time.

“Handing criminals and terrorists a 95 percent chance of carrying dangerous weapons through airport security without being noticed is unacceptable,” Israel told The Hill.

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“What angers me, and frankly what frightens me, is that the guns that were getting passed the TSA agents were highly detectable,” he continued. “But a plastic gun couldn’t be picked up by the most astute and trained TSA agent.”

The debate over the fate of plastic weapons and the security risk they pose stems from a two-year old debate on the potential dangers of 3D printer guns. In 2013, Israel also drafted a bill to outlaw 3D technology creating weapons. However, no laws have been introduced to try and shield the US public from the perceived threat of plastic arms.