WASHINGTON (CBSDC) — There are renewed calls for Congress to close a loophole that allows those on the U.S. government’s terrorist watch list to buy firearms.
Bills have been introduced for eight consecutive years to close the loophole, according to CBS News.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., co-sponsored a bipartisan bill called the Denying Firearms and Explosives to Dangerous Terrorists Act. The bill gives the attorney general the power to deny “the sale, delivery, or transfer of a firearm” to suspected terrorists.
There are nearly 420,000 people on the government’s terror watch list, which includes the “No Fly List.”
According to the Government Accountability Office, more than 2,000 suspected terrorists were able to buy a firearm between 2004-2014. Less than 200 on the terrorist watch list were denied.
However, the National Rifle Association opposes the bill.
“Anything which they feel restricts the use or the ability to retain a gun they’re opposed to,” Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., the bill’s co-sponsor, told the New York Daily News. “It’s sort of a knee-jerk reaction. The National Rifle Association is strongly opposed to it and the fact is we have only a handful of Republican co-sponsors.”
The bill was originally backed by former President George W. Bush’s administration.
Co-sponsor Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said passing the bill is a “no brainer.”
“If you are too dangerous to board a plane, you’re too dangerous to buy a gun,” Feinstein told CBS News.
Sen. Chuck Schumer told the Daily News there’s a “good chance” the Republicans in the Senate will pass the bill.
“It is hard to believe that anyone could defend that someone on the terrorists watch list should get a gun, no questions asked,” Schumer said. “I can’t believe our Republican colleagues would block this now.”
CBS News reports House Speaker Paul Ryan was non-committal on the bill to close the loophole.
“This is the beginning of this process. The task force is taking all suggestions from Democrats and Republicans,” Ryan said.
A task force has been set up to enhance counter-terror measures.
The NRA told CBS News the bill would do nothing to prevent terror attacks.
“The legislation … does nothing to prevent terrorist attacks and would deny law-abiding citizens their constitutional rights without the process.”
Last week’s terror attacks in Paris at the hands of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria left 130 people dead and hundreds of others wounded.