Renew ban on plastic guns

Ever since Jules Verne wrote about trips to the moon and submarines that could travel 20,000 leagues under the sea, science fiction has developed a history of becoming science fact.

Today, the idea of 3D printers that can make objects out of raw materials and a computerized design have become a reality, and so has the idea of a plastic gun that can avoid detection by x-ray machines and metal scanners.

Back in 1988 the federal government enacted legislation to ban the manufacture, sale, import or possession of firearms that were undetectable by metal detectors. That law was renewed in 1998 and 2003, and it is set to expire on Dec. 9.

If it was a good idea to ban plastic guns in 1988 when they were mostly theory, it makes even more sense to ban them today, when 3D printers are becoming more and more commonplace.

The reasons for such a ban are obvious. If a bunch of terrorists were able to pull off the 9/11 attacks with a bunch of box cutters, imagine what someone could do with guns that could pass through metal detectors without causing a beep.

Democratic legislators in the House and Senate are working on legislation to renew this ban. We hope they have little trouble finding bipartisan support for their bill.