Second Amendment absolutists might be disappointed today upon discovering that the Republican controlled US House approved an extension of a gun ban. On a unanimous voice vote, the US House agreed to extend the Undetectable Firearms Act, continuing a 25-year-old prohibition against guns that can evade metal detectors and X-ray machines. The law was first put into effect in 1988, and signed into law by President Reagan. The House bill requires that any plastic gun have some piece of metal in it or on it so that it cannot be used to evade a metal detector.
This decision of course illustrates that even Republicans in the US House think there are limits to the 2nd Amendment. Even though they are fond of arguing that criminals do not obey laws apparently they are convinced that this particular law may be an exception. Of course, metal detectors are most often used in places like airports and courthouses, and perhaps Republicans think that these are locations where criminals and terrorists are not likely to enter anyway. Or maybe, just maybe, even Republican lawmakers are a little concerned that undetectable firearms do not really belong inside a crowded courtroom or a busy airport.
The Gun Owners of America organization however expressed opposition to extending the ban however. Mike Hammond, acting as legal counsel for the group, lamented that the law would not stop criminals who wanted to print guns from doing so. He went on to single out Congressional Democrats by complaining that “they’ve just spent all year trying to effectively destroy the gun lobby, so why in heaven’s name, given this intransigence, should we give them this Christmas present? Despite opposition to the measure from the Gun Owners of America, the legislation coasted through the House of Representatives on a bipartisan voice vote. While the bill represents the most basic of gun control measures, it does suggest that even Republicans in Congress recognize that second amendment freedoms are not absolute.
Keith Brekhus is a progressive American who currently resides in Red Lodge, Montana. He is co-host for the Liberal Fix radio show. He holds a Master’s Degree in Sociology from the University of Missouri. In 2002, he ran for Congress as a Green Party candidate in the state of Missouri. In 2014, he worked as a field organizer for Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick’s successful re-election bid in Arizona’s 1st Congressional District. He can be followed on Twitter @keithbrekhus or on Facebook.