Former chief: Congress needs help

Congress created a law banning plastic guns in 1988 to protect the public from dangerous weapons that can evade metal detectors. The law was renewed in 2003 and is due to expire Dec. 9. Federal legislators are seeking support to renew and amend the law. They need our help.

I saw my first plastic handgun in the 1973 movie "The Day of the Jackal." As a police officer, I saw plenty of homemade "zip" guns. So why should we still be concerned?

There is actually more of a threat. Making guns on today's 3-D printers is as easy as downloading online blueprints and hitting the print button. The printers are not that expensive. Low-end models start at about $500.

I have no problems with responsible people owning guns, but I also believe that there are places where we should not allow people to carry them. How will we secure those places if we cannot rely on metal detectors? How long will it take airport security to go through everyone's carry-on luggage by hand? Do you really want anyone who can operate a computer and a printer to be able to possess and carry a gun?

A law will not prevent plastic guns, but a stiff penalty can deter people from carrying them, as it has for 25 years. Please contact your senators and representatives to support renewing and amending federal legislation to ban owning and carrying plastic guns. To sign a petition that will be delivered to lawmakers, visit


The writer is a former Minneapolis police chief.