The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Opinion

December 4, 2013

Our View: Legislators playing it safe

Adding an amendment to a 25-year-old law that prohibits firearms that could evade a metal detector should not become a national debate.

But it would appear that a common-sense amendment to close a loophole is going to create a lot of political posturing that, in our view, is unnecessary.

The House on Tuesday voted to renew the Undetectable Firearms Act for another 10 years as it is written now. The Senate is expected to vote on the bill Monday after returning from its Thanksgiving break. That vote will come the day before the act expires. So quick action is necessary, and that will likely be the reason this law gets renewed without an amendment that would strengthen it.

Because of new technology, guns can now be made out of plastic. Some Senate Democrats want to amend the act so that all guns must have at least one piece of metal in them so they can be detected in places such as airports and federal buildings.

According to The Associated Press, the NRA issued a statement before Tuesday’s vote that it opposes any expansion of the law, including applying it “to magazines, gun parts or the development of new technologies.”

With that said, legislators who normally would have done the right thing are jumping for cover.

Technology hasn’t stood still for the past 25 years. Law enforcement officials have warned for years that the day would come when undetectable plastic guns could be produced.

Some legislators, Republican and Democrat alike, want the old law passed without the amendment, largely because they are worried it will be seen as an attempt at gun control rather than what it is: a measure meant to protect the public. They are more worried about being re-elected than doing what’s right.

We are all for discussions on how to make this act better. We doubt that will happen.

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