Bloomberg, Kelly call on Congress to close 'terror gap' loophole on guns

New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly on Wednesday called on Congress to close the loophole that lets suspected terrorists buy firearms and explosives.

The so-called "terror gap" means that the FBI has no authority to prevent individuals on the terrorist watch list from buying guns from licensed U.S. dealers unless they have a separate criminal record. In the wake of last weekend's attempted bombing in Times Square, Bloomberg and Kelly said it was imperative that Congress act quickly to change that.

"Our Founding Fathers did not write the Second Amendment to empower people who wanted to terrorize a free state," Bloomberg told the Senate Homeland Security Committee.


A recent Government Accountability Office report concluded that between 2004 and February 2010, suspected terrorists tried to purchase weapons 1,228 times. They were successful in 91 percent of those attempts.

Rep. Pete King (R-N.Y.) told the panel that the public would not be forgiving if a terrorist used legally purchased weapons to kill Americans.

"Just think what the American people would think of us," King said. "There would be blood on our hands."

King has introduced legislation in the House to close the loophole. Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) has introduced a similar bill in the Senate.