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Robert Longley

People on Terror Watch List Buying Guns, GAO Reports

By June 24, 2009

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People named on the FBI's Terrorist Watch List have been allowed to purchase firearms 865 times since 2004, according to results of an audit just released by the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

According to the GAO audit, people on the Terrorist Watch List were allowed to purchase firearms 865 times out of 963 attempts during a 5-year period ending in February 2009. One person on the Watch List was allowed to purchase explosives. The purchases that were denied were rejected for other reasons revealed by the required Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act background checks, including felony convictions, a history of drug abuse, a history of domestic violence or being an illegal alien.

While the Brady Act background checks reviewed by the GAO did report all 963 prospective gun buyers as listed on the Terror Watch list, inclusion on the list alone does not currently prohibit firearms purchases.

Senator Takes Action: Blaming the gun lobby for the omission he called the "terror gap," U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-New Jersey), stated he planned to introduce legislation that would give the Attorney General the authority to block the sale of guns or explosives to persons named on the Terror Watch List.

"The special interest gun lobby has so twisted our nation's laws that the rights of terrorists are placed above the safety of everyday Americans," said Sen. Lautenberg in a press release. "This new report is proof positive that known and suspected terrorists are exploiting a major loophole in our law, threatening our families and our communities. This 'terror gap' has been open too long and our national security demands that we shut it down."

Just for the record, the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act Sen. Lautenberg accuses the gun lobby of "twisting" was enacted in 1993, eight years before the Global War on Terror and 10 years before the creation of the FBI Terror Watch List in 2003.

Also See: Bill Would Renew Federal Assault Weapons Ban (2008)

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February 10, 2013 at 11:42 pm
(1) Steve S says:

Last time I checked, here in the US, we have a little thing called due process of law before people can be stripped of constitutional rights. There is no due process of law involved in adding someone’s name to the terrorist watch list. The only one twisting anything is Launtenberg twisting the constitution so he can try to deny people a constitutional right without any pesky trials or actual proof of any guilt being required.

September 3, 2013 at 2:16 pm
(2) WeNotYou says:

We need to set up a criminal watch list to stop people who we think might someday be criminals but haven’t actually committed a crime…yet. All people of color will be on the list as well as anyone who owns a gun, drives a pick up truck, or watches Duck Dynasty.

September 3, 2013 at 2:18 pm
(3) WeNotYou says:

” that the rights of terrorists are placed above the safety of everyday Americans”

If we know they are terrorist why haven’t we locked them up? Ah must be the whole lack of evidence thing…wait…if we don’t have the evidence to prove they are terrorist…how do we know they are terrorist?

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