Unions demand Congress keep ban on ‘ghost guns’

Gun Rights

Photos from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives showing Nevada-based Polymer80 “ghost guns” being sold at a gun show. (Photos included in a March 2021 legislative presentation by Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence.)

WASHINGTON —Five unions and the AFL-CIO Transportation Trades Department are urging Congress to permanently extend a law banning the manufacture of untraceable firearms, also known as “ghost guns.” They say the guns, with no metal in them, can go through airport, bus, and train detectors and become a threat to transportation workers.

But the unions and their congressional allies of both parties, including Sens. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, Jack Reed, D-R.I., Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and Reps. Adriano Espillat, D-N.Y., Mike Lawler, R-N.Y., and Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., face an uphill battle against the ghost guns. That’s even with the endorsement of Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y.

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That’s because the 36-year-old Reagan era law expired on March 8, and the Republican-run House majority has shown no inclination to renew it. Reed, the Senate Armed Services Committee Chair, didn’t try to attach the ban to last July’s defense bill though he dropped the ban, as an amendment, into the hopper. The House’s Republicans had eliminated the ban from their version of the defense bill.

And while the notorious gun lobby, the National Rifle Association, is tied up in a massive fraud trial in New York and on the verge of bankruptcy, the nation’s number-two gun group, the Gun Owners of America, opposes renewing the ghost gun ban.

“Since 1988, the Undetectable Firearms Act required all firearms to be detectable by containing enough metal to set off walk-through metal detectors or x-ray machines, ensuring firearms are not taken to areas where they are expressly prohibited,” TTD, the Flight Attendants, the Government Employees, the Transport Workers, the Airline Pilots, and SEIU wrote to congressional leaders.

“More and more, flight crews and gate agents must deal with the excessive and all-too-often violent behavior of unruly passengers. Our members have been physically and verbally assaulted simply for carrying out their critical duties of keeping the flying public safe.

“Should Congress fail to timely reauthorize the Undetectable Firearms Act, flight crews, gate agents, and security professionals at airports could face the possibility of having to restrain an unruly passenger brandishing a loaded firearm that evaded airport security detection. This scenario could be deadly for aviation workers and passengers.”

“Permanently authorizing the Undetectable Firearms Act would prevent the manufacturing and possession of undetectable firearms at airports, crowded stadiums, and courtrooms, ensuring that firearms do not enter these secure areas unknowingly. Simply put, reauthorization of this legislation is a national security imperative.”

While the national ghost gun ban has expired, at least three states—Maryland, Washington, and New York—have also banned the weapons, a Google search shows.

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