Democrats have doubled down on Feinstein's legislation in the wake of the terrorist attacks. The proposal would allow the attorney general to block the sale or transfer of a gun or explosive to a suspected or known terrorist if the individual is believed to use the weapons in an act of terrorism.
But the Senate legislation, which doesn't have a Republican backer, likely faces an uphill battle in a GOP-controlled Congress.
The letter comes after Minority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidCruz: Precedent exists for keeping Supreme Court short-staffed Warren’s power on the rise Republicans make M investment in Senate races MORE (D-Nev.) accused Republicans late last week of prioritizing their support of the National Rifle Association (NRA) at the expense of national security.
Democrats point to a Government Accountability Office report that found that suspected terrorists were successfully able to purchase a gun more than 2,000 times between 2004 and 2014.
They added in their letter to McConnell and Ryan that the Paris attacks make it "more imperative than ever" to close the so-called "terrorist background check loophole."
"There is no reason why suspected terrorists who we consider too dangerous to board airplanes should be able to walk into any gun store in the United States and purchase a firearm or an explosive for the purpose of carrying out a terrorist act," they wrote. "But today, suspected terrorists can legally purchase guns in the United States — and they’re doing so, even while law enforcement may be investigating them or pursuing their arrest or indictment."