< Back to H.R. 4445 (100th Congress, 1987–1988)

Text of the Undetectable Firearms Act of 1988

This bill was enacted after being signed by the President on November 10, 1988. The text of the bill below is as of Nov 10, 1988 (Passed Congress/Enrolled Bill).

102 STAT. 3816                   PUBLIC LAW 100-649—NOV. 10, 1988
                  Public Law 100-649
                  100th Congress
                                                       An Act
 Mov. 10, l^oo    rp^ amend title 18, United States Code, to prohibit certain firearms especially useful
  [H.R. 4445]                                         to terrorists.

                   Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the
Undetectable      United States of America in Congress assembled,
Firearms Act of
1988.             SECTION 1. SHOFiT TITLE.
industry            This Act may be cited as the "Undetectable Firearms Act of
Imports.'         1988".
Commerce and
trade.            SEC. 2. UNDETECTABLE FIREARMS.
l^USC 921 note       ^^^ PROHIBITIONS.—Section 922 of title 18, United States Code, is
                  amended by adding at the end the following:
                    "(p)(l) It shall be unlawful for any person to manufacture, import,
                  sell, ship, deliver, possess, transfer, or receive any firearm—
                           "(A) that, after removal of grips, stocks, and magazines, is
                        not as detectable as the Security Exemplar, by walk-through
                        metal detectors calibrated and operated to detect the Security
                        Exemplar; or
                           "(B) any major component of which, when subjected to inspec-
                        tion by the types of x-ray machines commonly used at airports,
                        does not generate an image that accurately depicts the shape of
                        the component. Barium sulfate or other compounds may be used
                        in the fabrication of the component.
                    "(2) For purposes of this subsection—
                           "(A) the term 'firearm' does not include the frame or receiver
                        of any such weapon;
                           "(B) the term 'major component' means, with respect to a
                        firearm, the barrel, the slide or cylinder, or the frame or
                        receiver of the firearm; and
                           "(C) the term 'Security Exemplar' means an object, to be
                        fabricated at the direction of the Secretary, that is—
                                "(i) constructed of, during the 12-month period beginning
                             on the date of the enactment of this subsection, 3.7 ounces
                             of material type 17-4 PH stainless steel in a shape resem-
                             bling a handgun; and
                                "(ii) suitable for testing and calibrating metal detectors:
Regulations.           Provided, however. That at the close of such 12-month period,
                       and at appropriate times thereafter the Secretary shall promul-
                       gate regulations to permit the manufacture, importation, sale,
                       shipment, delivery, possession, transfer, or receipt of firearms
                        previously prohibited under this subparagraph that are as
                        detectable as a 'Security Exemplar' which contains 3.7 ounces of
                        material type 17-4 PH stainless steel, in a shape resembling a
                        handgun, or such lesser amount as is detectable in view of
                       advances in state-of-the-art developments in weapons detection
                        technology.
                    "(3) Under such rules and regulations as the Secretary shall
                  prescribe, this subsection shall not apply to the manufacture, posses-

PUBLIC LAW 100-649—NOV. 10, 1988 102 STAT. 3817 sion, transfer, receipt, s h i p m e n t , or delivery of a firearm by a licensed m a n u f a c t u r e r or a n y person acting p u r s u a n t to a contract w i t h a licensed m a n u f a c t u r e r , for t h e purpose of e x a m i n i n g a n d t e s t i n g such firearm to d e t e r m i n e w h e t h e r p a r a g r a p h (1) applies to such firearm. T h e Secretary shall e n s u r e t h a t rules a n d regulations adopted p u r s u a n t to t h i s p a r a g r a p h do n o t i m p a i r t h e m a n u f a c t u r e of prototype firearms or t h e development of new technology. "(4) T h e Secretary shall p e r m i t t h e conditional importation of a firearm by a licensed i m p o r t e r or licensed m a n u f a c t u r e r , for exam- ination a n d testing t o d e t e r m i n e w h e t h e r or n o t t h e unconditional i m p o r t a t i o n of such firearm would violate this subsection. "(5) This subsection shall not apply to a n y firearm which— "(A) h a s been certified by t h e Secretary of Defense or t h e Director of C e n t r a l Intelligence, after consultation w i t h t h e Secretary a n d t h e A d m i n i s t r a t o r of t h e Federal Aviation A d m i n i s t r a t i o n , a s necessary for m i l i t a r y or intelligence a p - plications; a n d "(B) is m a n u f a c t u r e d for a n d sold exclusively t o military or intelligence agencies of t h e U n i t e d States. "(6) This subsection shall n o t apply with respect to a n y firearm m a n u f a c t u r e d in, imported into, or possessed in t h e U n i t e d States before t h e d a t e of t h e e n a c t m e n t of t h e U n d e t e c t a b l e F i r e a r m s Act of 1988.". (b) PENALTY.—Section 924 of title 18, U n i t e d States Code, is amended— (1) in subsection (a)(1), by s t r i k i n g " o r (c)" a n d inserting in lieu thereof ", (c), or (f)"; a n d (2) by adding a t t h e end t h e following: "(f) I n t h e case of a person who knowingly violates section 922(p), such person shall be fined u n d e r this title, or imprisoned n o t more t h a n 5 years, or both.". (c) C O N F O R M I N G A M E N D M E N T S . — S e c t i o n 925 of t i t l e 18, U n i t e d S t a t e s Code, is amended— (1) in subsection (a), by i n s e r t i n g after " c h a p t e r " t h e follow- ing: ", except for provisions r e l a t i n g to firearms subject to t h e prohibitions of section 922(p),"; a n d (2) by adding a t t h e end t h e following: "(f) T h e Secretary shall n o t authorize, u n d e r subsection (d), t h e i m p o r t a t i o n of a n y firearm t h e importation of which is prohibited by section 922(p).". (d) R E S E A R C H A N D D E V E L O P M E N T O F IMPROVED A I R P O R T SECURITY 49 u s e app. SYSTEMS.—The A d m i n i s t r a t o r of t h e Federal Aviation Administra- ^^^^ ^°^- tion shall conduct such r e s e a r c h a n d development a s m a y be necessary t o improve t h e effectiveness of a i r p o r t security m e t a l detectors a n d a i r p o r t security x-ray systems in detecting firearms t h a t , d u r i n g t h e 10-year period beginning on t h e effective date of t h i s Act, a r e subject to t h e prohibitions of section 922(p) of title 18, U n i t e d S t a t e s Code. (e) STUDIES T O IDENTIFY E Q U I P M E N T CAPABLE OF D I S T I N G U I S H I N G 18 U S C 922 note. SECURITY E X E M P L A R F R O M O T H E R M E T A L O B J E C T S LIKELY T O B E CARRIED O N O N E ' S P E R S O N . — T h e A t t o r n e y G e n e r a l , t h e S e c r e t a r y of t h e T r e a s u r y , a n d t h e Secretary of T r a n s p o r t a t i o n shall each con- duct studies t o identify available state-of-the-art e q u i p m e n t capable of detecting t h e Security E x e m p l a r (as defined in section 922(p)(2)(C) of title 18, U n i t e d States Code) a n d distinguishing t h e Security E x e m p l a r from innocuous m e t a l objects likely to be carried on one's person. Such studies shall be completed within 6 m o n t h s after t h e
102 STAT. 3818 PUBLIC LAW 100-649—NOV. 10, 1988 date of the enactment of this Act and shall include a schedule providing for the installation of such equipment at the earliest practicable time at security checkpoints maintained or regulated by the agency conducting the study. Such equipment shall be installed in accordance with each schedule. In addition, such studies may include recommendations, where appropriate, concerning the use of secondary security equipment and procedures to enhance detection capability at security checkpoints. 18 u s e 922 note. (f) EFFECTIVE D A T E AND SUNSET PROVISION.— (1) EFFECTIVE DATE.—This Act and the amendments made by this Act shall take effect on the 30th day beginning after the date of the enactment of this Act. (2) 10-YEAR SUNSET.—Effective 10 years after the effective date of this Act— (A) subsection (p) of section 922 of title 18, United States Code, is hereby repealed; (B) subsection (f) of section 924 of such title is hereby repealed; (C) subsection (f) of section 925 of such title is hereby repealed; (D) section 924(a)(1) of such title is amended by striking ", (c), or (f)" and inserting in lieu thereof "or (c)"; and (E) section 925(a) of such title is amended by striking ", except for provisions relating to firearms subject to the prohibitions of section 922(p),". Approved November 10, 1988. LEGISLATIVE HISTORY—H.R. 4445 (S. 2180): HOUSE REPORTS: No. 100-612 (Comm. on the Judiciary). CONGRESSIONAL RECORD, Vol. 134 (1988): May 10, considered and passed House. May 25, considered and passed Senate, eimended, in lieu of S. 2180. Oct. 20, House concurred in Senate amendment with an amendment. Oct. 21, Senate concurred in House amendment with an amendment. House concurred in Senate amendment.