Alexander Votes to Stop Suspected Terrorists From Buying a Gun

Posted on June 20, 2016

Alexander: “I voted today to change federal law so that the Attorney General can stop anyone suspected of being a terrorist in the past 5 years from buying a gun”

WASHINGTON, June 20, 2016 – U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today voted in favor of an amendment offered by Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) that would allow the Attorney General to stop a suspected terrorist from buying a gun:

“I voted today to change federal law so that the Attorney General can stop anyone suspected of being a terrorist in the past 5 years from buying a gun,” Alexander said. “It would also change the law to immediately notify federal, state, and local law enforcement officials if a suspected terrorist attempts to buy or transfer a gun.”

Under current law, if a known or suspected terrorist attempts to buy a firearm from a federally licensed firearm dealer, there is a delay for three business days to allow the FBI to further investigate. After the delay, the known or suspected terrorist can proceed with the transfer unless the FBI finds a disqualifying offense such as a felony conviction or adjudicated mental health issue. The Cornyn amendment would allow the Attorney General to prevent the transfer without the qualifying offenses required under current law if she can prove there’s probable cause the individual is involved in terroristic activity.

Currently, state and local law enforcement are not notified when a known or suspected terrorist attempts to purchase a firearm from a federally licensed firearm dealer. This amendment ensures state and local law enforcement is made aware of the transfer request.

Under current law, there is no delay in the purchase of a gun for those individuals who were known or suspected terrorists in previous years. The Cornyn amendment would ensure the Attorney General is notified whenever anyone who has been appropriately identified as a known or suspected terrorist in the past five years attempts to buy from a federally licensed firearm dealer. For example, the Cornyn amendment could have prevented the legal sale of weapons to someone like the Orlando shooter who purchased his guns in 2016 even though he was on the FBI terrorist watch list in 2013 and 2014.

Alexander also voted in favor of an amendment offered by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) that strengthens the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens while authorizing new funds for background checks and improving our existing system to keep guns out of the hands of criminals, terrorists and those a court has decided are dangerously mentally ill.

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