Alexander Votes to Continue Debate on Proposals to Stop Terrorists From Buying Guns While Protecting Americans’ Second Amendment and Due Process Rights

Posted on June 23, 2016

WASHINGTON, June 23 – U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today voted to continue Senate debate on amendments offered by Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.) that would keep guns out of the hands of suspected terrorists, including those on the no-fly list.  

“Today I voted to continue debate on both the Collins and Johnson amendments,” Alexander said. “Homegrown terrorists are our gravest national security threat. The Senate should consider both proposals to stop suspected terrorists, including those who are on the no-fly list, from buying a gun and do it in a way that is consistent with every American's Second Amendment and Fifth Amendment due process rights.

“Earlier this week I was one of 53 senators voting for a Cornyn amendment that would change federal law to authorize the U.S. Attorney General to stop suspected terrorists from buying guns.”

The bipartisan amendment offered by Senator Collins would allow the Attorney General to stop suspected terrorists from buying a gun if they are on the so-called No Fly List or the Selectee Lists and there is reasonable suspicion to believe they pose a threat. The Collins amendment would protect due process rights by allowing Americans who are prevented from purchasing a gun to appeal the denial in the U.S. district courts and recover reasonable attorney fees if they prevail. The amendment also requires that the FBI be notified if a person who has been on the broader Terrorism Screening Database (TSDB) within the past five years attempts to purchase a firearm.

The amendment offered by Senator Johnson would also allow the Attorney General to stop suspected terrorists from buying a gun if they are on the so-called No Fly List or the Selectee Lists and there is a reasonable basis to believe that, based on specific and articulable information and credible evidence, the person poses a threat. The amendment also includes provisions to protect due process rights.

Alexander voted Monday 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. The amendment would continue current law, which says that if an individual who is 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. The Cornyn amendment would then allow the Attorney General to prevent the transfer if she can prove there’s probable cause the individual is involved in terroristic activity. This amendment also ensures state and local law enforcement is made aware of the transfer request and would apply to anyone known or suspected to be a terrorist in the past five years. 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 but was on the FBI terrorist watch list in 2013 and 2014.

Alexander also voted Monday night in favor of an amendment offered by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) that would strengthen 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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