Senators introduce bill to block terrorists from buying guns

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A bipartisan group of senators is reviving “no fly, no buy,” legislation that would block suspected terrorists from being able to buy guns.

The bill, known as the Terrorist Firearms Prevention Act, would allow the attorney general to deny the sale of a firearm to individuals on the no-fly list or selectee list, which subjects airline passengers to additional screening. 

“If you are considered to be too dangerous to fly on an airplane, you should not be able to buy a firearm,” Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said in a statement. “This bill is a sensible step we can take right now to reform our nation’s gun laws while protecting the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Americans.”

Sens. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.), Angus King (I-Maine), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) are supporting the legislation. 

“If we suspect someone of being a terrorist and think it would be too dangerous to let that person on a plane, it’s probably not a good idea to let that person buy a gun either,” said Nelson.  “That’s just common sense.”

In addition to allowing the attorney general to deny a sale, it would also alert the FBI and local law enforcement when an individual who has been on either of the watch lists tries to buy a gun. 

An individual who was denied the ability to buy a gun would be able to appeal and have their case heard before a judge within two weeks.

The Senate debated dueling proposals in 2015, but both failed.

In 2016, during his campaign, President Trump indicated he would consider backing a “no fly, no buy” policy to restrict individuals on the airline terrorist watch list from being able to purchase guns and said he would meet with the National Rifle Association to discuss it. The NRA opposed such legislation, and Trump later walked back his support, saying he “understands exactly” the organization’s position.

Tags Angus King Bill Nelson Donald Trump Heidi Heitkamp Jeff Flake Joe Manchin Martin Heinrich Pat Toomey Susan Collins Tammy Baldwin

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