Schumer, law enforcement raise concerns over expiring ghost gun ban

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D – New York) visited Albany Monday, gathering with local law enforcement to push for the reauthorization of a federal gun provision that could soon expire.

The Undetectable Firearms Act ensures fully-plastic ghost guns are illegal. It is set to expire March 8, and Schumer said it was being blocked by a number of House Republicans.

Since 1988, the law has mandated that each gun contain four ounces of metal, making it detectable by x-ray scanners and metal detectors.

Officials in Albany said that while the law is at the federal level, if it were to lapse, it would make cracking down on crime even more difficult.

Schumer touted support from the Fraternal Order of Police and America’s largest sports leagues because of the potential implications for detecting weapons at large events.

“If you’re going into an area where there are a lot of people, an airport, a sports arena, a courtroom, city hall, where people might want to do damage, it’s undetectable,” Schumer said.

“The prospect of having weapons that are undetectable, really, is cause for alarm in the law enforcement community and it should be in communities across the country,” said Albany Police Chief Eric Hawkins.

Fully-plastic guns have become more popular with the rise in 3D printing technology. In the past five years, Albany Police reported a 71% increase in the number of ghost guns they’ve taken off the street. Hawkins said police need support at the federal level to keep them out of the wrong hands.

“What we’re finding is that a lot of these weapons are being produced outside of the State of New York. And so that’s why it’s important that we have these partnerships at all levels. It’s important that we have support from our senator,” he said.

Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan said the ban is important to ensure peace of mind for students and staff at local schools.  

“One of the top things they feel anxious about is their own personal safety and guns in schools and school shootings,” she said.