Washington—Speaker Paul Ryan on Wednesday evening criticized the terror gap amendment offered last week by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) as failing to include any due process protections. That criticism is wrong on its face.
Individuals who believe they have wrongly been denied a gun can appeal administratively with the Justice Department as well as judicially in federal district court. This is the exact same appeals process that currently exists in law.
“Republicans, notably Speaker Ryan, have said our amendment doesn’t include due process protections. That’s simply not true,” Feinstein said. “Our amendment uses the existing due process protections in place for individuals who believe they have been wrongly denied a gun through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. Individuals can appeal both administratively and through the federal courts.”
- Administrative appeals process: Individuals who believe they have been wrongly denied a gun could learn the reason for the denial and appeal through an administrative process at the Justice Department. This is the same appeals process already in place for individuals who fall into one of the ten prohibited purchaser categories and are denied a gun through the National Instant Criminal Background System.
- Judicial appeals process: If necessary, individuals can also sue in district court and recover attorney’s fees. The ability to challenge a gun denial through judicial review is codified in the United States Code and used by petitioners (18 USC 925A). The law reads: “Any person whose application for relief from disabilities is denied by the Attorney General may file a petition with the United States district court for the district in which he resides for a judicial review of such denial.”