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Schumer advocates for ghost gun ban in Onondaga County

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer shows off examples of ghost guns in Onondaga County, Feb. 19.
Ellen Abbott
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer shows off examples of ghost guns in Onondaga County, Feb. 19.

U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is launching a campaign to reauthorize legislation that would keep fully plastic guns, called “ghost guns” off the streets, saying the reauthorization of the federal law that’s been around since the Reagan Administration is a matter of safety.

Last year, police were executing a search warrant at a house in Syracuse, looking for drugs and guns. What they found were two fully plastic ghost guns and a 3D printer in the midst of making another.

That printer and several more ghost guns were spread across the table in front of Schumer as he told reporters about the legislation that requires guns to include almost 4 ounces of metal, enough to set off metal detectors. Without it, indoor stadiums and airports become more dangerous.

"And that will greatly increase the danger of the kinds of shootings we saw outdoors in Kansas City, occur indoors at large venues, because anyone who wants to do bad with evil purpose can get through a metal detector with a gun," Schumer said. "So we have to pass it."

The law was originally passed in 1988 and has been reauthorized every 10 years. It’s set to expire in early March. An attempt to reauthorize it last year failed when a group of what Schumer described as "hard right Republicans" refused to vote for it.

Schumer is lobbying the House for support as part of a March spending vote. Onondaga County District Attorney Bill Fitzpatrick, a Republican, doesn’t understand those in his party opposed to re-upping the legislation this time around regarding guns that have no positive purpose.

“These are garbage," Fitzpatrick said. "They're only designed to be undetectable and to inflict harm on our fellow human beings. If there is such a thing as a complete no-brainer, this statute is it."

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.