Dec 03 2015
Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today released the following statement after the Senate failed to advance legislation to prohibit known or suspected terrorists from buying weapons:
“If you need proof that Congress is a hostage to the gun lobby, look no further than today’s vote blocking a bill to prevent known or suspected terrorists from buying guns and explosives.
“If you’re too dangerous to board a plane, you’re too dangerous to buy a gun. Unfortunately that commonsense idea failed to attract enough votes to pass the Senate. Police chiefs and law enforcement groups have unequivocally stated that closing this loophole is critical to strengthening our national security. And common sense tells us we’re less safe until we do so.
“Congress has been paralyzed by the gun lobby for years, while more and more Americans are killed in mass shootings. The carnage won’t stop until Congress finds the courage to stand up to the gun lobby and protect the nation.”
The Department of Justice under President George W. Bush initially proposed the legislation 2007. The Obama administration also supports the bill.
According to information prepared by the Government Accountability Office, individuals on the consolidated terrorist watch list, which includes the no-fly list, cleared a background check for a gun transaction in 94 percent of attempted transactions in 2013 and 2014 (455 out of 486 times).
Between February 2004 and December 2014, individuals on the consolidated terrorist watch list cleared a background check in 91 percent of attempted transactions (2,043 of 2,233 times), according to GAO data.
The Denying Firearms and Explosives to Dangerous Terrorists Act would:
- Allow the attorney general to deny the purchase or transfer of a firearm or explosive to a known or suspected terrorist if the prospective recipient may use the firearm or explosive in connection with terrorism.
- Maintain protections in current law that allow a person who believes he has been mistakenly prevented from buying a firearm to learn of the reason for the denial, and then to challenge the denial, first administratively with the Department of Justice, and then through a lawsuit against the Justice Department.