Capitol Hill Bureau Chief
The FBI-monitored terrorist watch list is meant to prevent anyone suspected of being involved in terrorist activity from boarding a plane in the United States. But it won't prevent the same people from buying firearms and explosives in this country
According to the FBI, more than 1,100 people on the terrorist watch list
have legally purchased firearms or explosives since 2004.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York traveled to Washington on Wednesday to ask Congress to change that law in the aftermath of the attempted terror bombing in Times Square
. The mayor endorsed a bipartisan bill introduced by Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) and Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) to make certain that background checks required to purchase guns also include a cross-check of the federal terrorist watch list. Their legislation would also allow the FBI to revoke a firearm registration for any person who is added to the list.
If some guy is too dangerous to get on a plane, the senator and congressman reasoned, he should not be buying a gun either.
"We cannot afford another incident like those in Fort Dix or Fort Hood, where individuals suspected of terrorist activity legally obtained weapons that were used to kill innocent Americans," King told the Senate Government Affairs and Homeland Security Committee Wednesday.
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in New York's Times Square, had weapons in his car, but was not on the watch list when he bought them. He was added to the list on Monday. However, Maj. Nidal Hassan, the shooter at Fort Hood, was under FBI surveillance when he purchased weapons that he later used in his rampage.
Although King, Bloomberg and the committee's chairman, Sen. Joe Lieberman (ID-Conn.), all support changing the law, Republican Sen. Lindsay Graham of South Carolina got into a heated argument with Lieberman over the intent behind adding restrictions to gun purchases.
"Losing the ability to own a gun, which is a constitutional right, using this list, the way it's constructed, is unnerving at best," said Graham. The same people who want broad restrictions on gun rights also support King and Lautenberg's bill, he said.
"I just don't see an argument that holds up," Lieberman said later. "If you've got a criminal record today, you can't buy a gun, you don't have a choice. That doesn't compromise the rights of law abiding citizens...You're my friend, but I don't get your concern." Aside from Graham's reservations, the bill is likely to get a hard look from the powerful gun lobby, the National Rifle Association.
Filed Under: Senate
, Barack Obama
, Michael Bloomberg
, Obama Administration
, The Capitolist
, Times Square Bomb