Last year, a GAO report found that individuals on the federal terror watch list were able to purchase firearms from licensed dealers more than 1,000 times. And just last month, the GAO reported that nearly 1300 people on that list purchased guns since 2004.
Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL) argued recently that this “terror gap” needs to be closed:
Nearly a decade after 9/11, the federal government can prevent suspects on terror watch lists from boarding an airplane but not from buying firearms. The Bush and Obama administrations both endorsed a bill that would close the gap, but Congress hasn’t acted.
Making good on his word, Quigley sponsored an amendment to the FISA Sunsets Reauthorization Act of 2011 that would allow the Attorney General to “deny transfer of a firearm if information obtained through the use of authorites” under FISA “indicates that a prospective firearm transferee is or has been engaged in conduct constituting, in preparation for, in aid of, or related to terrorism.”
Yet the House Judiciary Committee this afternoon voted against that amendment, 22-11, straight down party lines, with all “Nay” votes coming from Republicans and all “Ayes” coming from Democrats. Echoing arguments made by National Rifle Association leaders, Reps. Louis Gohmert (R-TX) and Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) spoke out in opposition of the amendment, saying it infringes upon people’s Second Amendment rights.
But while the NRA leadership may feel this way, its members do not. Last year, ThinkProgress attended the NRA’s annual conference in Charlotte, NC and asked dozens of NRA members if those on the terrorist watch list should be able to purchase firearms and an overwhelming majority agreed that they should not. Watch the video: