Press Releases

Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today participated in a press conference on the need to strengthen the Visa Waiver Program and close a loophole that allows individuals on terrorist watch lists to legally buy firearms and explosives.

Excerpts from Senator Feinstein’s remarks:

Visa Waiver

“[The Visa Waiver Program] is important to the business community and the tourism industry and I have supported it, but I also believe it is the soft underbelly of our national security policies.”

“The bill we’re working on—all of us together—would make several changes. Anyone who traveled to Syria or Iraq in the last five years cannot travel to the U.S. using the visa waiver program. Period. They can still visit, but they need a traditional visa, a process that includes an in-person interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate.”

“The bill requires additional information from travelers before they arrive in the U.S., to include fingerprints and photographs. The bill would require all individuals using the Visa Waiver Program to have a passport with an e-chip to store biometric data. This e-chip is more secure and harder to tamper with and contains an individual’s biometric information.”

“Our bill will be a straightforward solution that can make a real difference. I want it to be a bipartisan bill as well. Senator Flake has agreed to be the lead Republican on the bill and we look forward to working with him. We plan to introduce the bill after Thanksgiving.” 

No Guns for Terrorists

“If you’re too dangerous to board a plane, you’re too dangerous to buy a gun.”

“From 2004 to 2014, over a 10 year period, the GAO … took a look at this. And they report, that of the 2,233 people on the FBI’s terrorist watchlist who went through a background check to buy a weapon, of those 2,043 passed that background check and likely purchased a firearm or explosives. Now, that means that 91 percent of the people on the FBI’s watchlist who tried to buy weapons in the country, are in fact able to do so. To me, this is just a shocking statistic and one which might be addressed.”

More information on the Denying Firearms and Explosives to Dangerous Terrorists Act of 2015 is available here.