The expiring law bans guns that can pass unnoticed through a metal detector, and has been renewed twice in the 25 years since it was first enacted. But with the expiration date a little more than a week away, reauthorizing it has been caught up in a political standoff that has thwarted other recent attempts to enact gun safety legislation.
“We’re on the clock, and as we know, this Congress doesn’t deal well with deadlines,” said Dan Gross, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.
For now, the extension is delayed as lawmakers fight over whether to simply extend the law or amend it to include new provisions aimed specifically at 3-D printed weapons.
Shortly before the Senate broke for its Thanksgiving recess, it set aside a measure to extend the law for a year because of objections by Republicans. Senator Jeff Sessions, Republican of Alabama, said he was concerned not about extending the law as written but about senators who support gun safety measures using the law as a backdoor way of attaching more provisions when it expires again.
“They’re considering altering it, putting more language in it,” Mr. Sessions said. “There’s concern that it may be altered in a way that would be problematic.”