A report from the Government Accountability Office says at least 2,043 known and suspected terrorists in the United States have legally purchased firearms between 2004 and 2014, according to the Washington Post.
Presented for your hill-to-die-upon needs, second amendment absolutists:
“Membership in a terrorist organization does not prohibit a person from possessing firearms or explosives under current federal law,” the Government Accountability Office concluded in 2010. The law prohibits felons, fugitives, drug addicts and domestic abusers from purchasing a firearm in the United States. But people on the FBI’s consolidated terrorist watchlist — typically placed there when there is “reasonable suspicion” that they are a known or suspected terrorist — can freely purchase handguns or assault-style rifles.
The report says at least 2,233 attempts were made by suspected terrorists to purchase firearms over that 10-year period, and that those attempts were successful 91 percent of the time. Also! The 2011 and 2012 numbers are incomplete “because of a programming error that the FBI subsequently fixed, according to the GAO.” So no one really knows how many terror suspects legally bought guns over the last 11 years. Cool, cool.
Look. There are apparently over 700,000 names on the FBI’s terrorism watchlist—we can probably go ahead and infer that the list is, umm, unreliable, “a point that civil libertarians have made to underscore that many on the list may be family members or acquaintances of people with potential terrorist connections.” Still, this report really highlights the extent to which America’s gun-dealers are willing to arm all sides of the “bad guy with a gun/good guy with a gun” social experiment.
A bipartisan bill offered this year—unsubtly named the “Denying Firearms and Explosives to Dangerous Terrorists Act of 2015”—“would prevent several hundred gun purchases by suspected terrorists each year, and it includes provisions to let people challenge a denial if they believe they were placed on the watchlist in error,” according to the report.
Seems reasonable enough.
Except, here comes the NRA!
The NRA objected to earlier versions of the bill, saying they were “aimed primarily at law-abiding American gun owners,” that “prohibiting the possession of firearms doesn’t stop criminals from illegally acquiring them,” and that the bills were “sponsored by gun control extremists.”