On Tuesday two individuals who had become radicalized committed a mass shooting in San Bernardino that killed fourteen and wounded twenty-one others. It is now known that these individuals had been in contact with suspected terrorists under surveillance from the FBI.
On Wednesday, Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein introduced an amendment that required terror suspects on government watchlists to undergo a background check before purchasing a gun.
According to Feinstein’s office, 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.
Section Two of the bill explicitly states the federal government is:
Granting the Attorney General the authority to deny the sale, delivery, or transfer of a firearm or the issuance of a firearms or explosives license or permit to dangerous terrorists
So not only would this bill work to prevent guns going into the wrong hands, it would allow those seeking a gun to appeal to the government to get a gun if they feel they have been wrongly denied one. Everyone in Congress should support something so simple, so clean-cut.
But of course the amendment was voted down in a 45-54 vote, completely along party lines. Democrats for, Republicans against. So once again, the Republicans decided to bow down to the will of the NRA and put American lives in danger. As it’s been reported through the Government Accountability Office that over 2,000 terror suspects in the United States have legally purchased guns between 2004 (when the assault weapons ban ended) and 2014.
Even in the wake of the deadliest shooting in the United States since Sandy Hook being committed by radicalized terrorist sympathizers, the Senate couldn’t muster up the courage to pass even this common sense legislation.
Senator Feinstein rightfully blasted the Republican-controlled Senate for failing to pass the commonsense piece of legislation:
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.
This bill which is supported by former President George W. Bush has been since 2007, shows just how out of touch Washington is and how powerful lobbying interest like that of the NRA is.
The House Version of the bill was introduced by Republican Representative Peter King (who had ties to terrorism himself) and had 42 co-sponsors, all Democrats. It has yet to reach committee.
Republicans last month voted to require background checks for Syrian refugees. Now they vote down background checks for suspected terrorists?
The madness has to stop. The stranglehold in D.C. has to stop. People are dying and terrorism is getting the upper hand.
Featured image via Wikipedia