Moderate Republican offers compromise on gun control
© Greg Nash

Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsOvernight Defense — Presented by Raytheon — Border deployment 'peaked' at 5,800 troops | Trump sanctions 17 Saudis over Khashoggi killing | Senators offer bill to press Trump on Saudis | Paul effort to block Bahrain arms sale fails Senators introduce bill to respond to Khashoggi killing Senate GOP discussing Mueller vote MORE (Maine), a prominent Senate Republican moderate who has helped put together major bipartisan deals in the past, has proposed compromise legislation to keep guns out of the hands of terrorists. 

She is working with Sen. Kelly AyotteKelly Ann AyotteElection Countdown: O'Rourke brings in massive M haul | Deal on judges lets senators return to the trail | Hurricane puts Florida candidates in the spotlight | Adelson spending big to save GOP in midterms GOP mulls having outside counsel question Kavanaugh, Ford Pallbearers, speakers announced for McCain's DC memorial service and Capitol ceremony MORE (N.H.), one of the chamber's most endangered Senate GOP incumbents, as well as Sens. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeMcCain would have said ‘enough’ to acrimony in midterms, says Cindy McCain Senate GOP discussing Mueller vote Trump rightly fears the Fed will smother the economy MORE (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGraham: Trump’s new AG has ‘concerns’ about criminal justice bill Overnight Defense — Presented by Raytheon — Border deployment 'peaked' at 5,800 troops | Trump sanctions 17 Saudis over Khashoggi killing | Senators offer bill to press Trump on Saudis | Paul effort to block Bahrain arms sale fails Senators introduce Trump-backed criminal justice bill MORE (R-S.C.).

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The proposal would prohibit the sale of guns to terror suspects whose names appear on either the federal no-fly list or the so-called “selectee” list, which requires them to under go additional screening at airports.

Omar Mateen, the shooter who killed 49 people at a popular nightclub in Orlando last weekend, was on the selectee list for 10 months, according to federal officials.

And her legislation includes a five-year “look-back” provision to raise a red flag if someone who has recently been removed from either list buys a gun. 

“If an individual who had been on either the no-fly list or the selectee list within the last five years purchases a gun, the FBI would be immediately notified,” said Annie Clark, a spokeswoman for Collins.

Once alerted, the FBI could begin surveillance of that person.

Collins told reporters this week that her legislation is more narrowly tailored than a competing measure sponsored by Democratic Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinTop Dems: DOJ position on Whitaker appointment 'fatally flawed' Congress needs to wake up to nuclear security threat Democrats in murky legal water with Whitaker lawsuits MORE (Calif.) that would prohibit a broader class of suspected terrorists from buying guns and explosives. 

Collins argues Feinstein’s proposal would cover people whose names have been submitted to authorities by tipsters but who have not necessarily been investigated to determine the validity of alleged suspicious behavior. 

“If you look at their language, they are using the terrorist screening database that is maintained by the FBI that has more than 1 million records and tens of thousands of Americans,” she said.

She noted that to be entered into the screening database “all you need is for someone to report some derogatory information” and that “it is not necessarily investigated or verified or confirmed."

To put someone on the no-fly or selectee list, federal authorities must find credible evidence that he or she is somehow involved in terrorist activity.

Collins’s plan would allow those blocked from buying a firearm a route to appeal the decision. Successful appeals would require the government to pay for attorney’s fees, according to her spokeswoman.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSenators introduce Trump-backed criminal justice bill On The Money: Senior GOP senator warns Trump against shutdown | Treasury sanctions 17 Saudis over Khashoggi killing | HQ2 deal brings new scrutiny on Amazon | Senate confirms Bowman to Fed board Senior GOP senator warns Trump against partial shutdown MORE (R-Ky.) has scheduled votes on four other gun proposals for Monday, including the Feinstein bill and an alternative sponsored by Senate Republican Whip John CornynJohn CornynCongress should ban life without parole sentences for children  Senate GOP discussing Mueller vote Grassley: McConnell owes me for judicial nominations MORE of Texas.

The Cornyn measure would empower the attorney general to delay suspected terrorists from obtaining a gun for up to 72 hours to give the Justice Department time to investigate the prospective buyers and secure a court order stopping the transfer.

Any person investigated for possible terrorist ties within the past five years could be delayed from acquiring a firearm.

Also on Monday’s schedule are a Democratic proposal to expand background checks and an amendment sponsored by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleySenators introduce Trump-backed criminal justice bill Congress should ban life without parole sentences for children  Grassley: McConnell owes me for judicial nominations MORE (R-Iowa) that would increase funding for the National Instant Background Check system and provide incentives to increase sharing of mental health records.

It’s not clear any of the four amendments, which have been offered to the Commerce, Justice and Science appropriations bill, will be able to clear the 60-vote threshold to pass.

Collins said she wants to avoid a replay of what happened in December, when proposals sponsored by Feinstein and Cornyn to block suspected terrorists from acquiring guns failed.

“I don’t want Groundhog Day here,” she said. “I don’t want us to go through the same thing we went through last year with no result.”

Jordain Carney contributed.