Everytown for Gun Safety, the gun-control organization funded by billionaire media mogul Michael Bloomberg, released a new television ad that calls on Congress to close the so-called “Terror Gap.” Everytown aired the ad during Tuesday’s Republican debate on CNN.
“The day after the San Bernardino shooting – the deadliest mass shooting since Sandy Hook – the U.S. Senate blocked a bipartisan bill to close the Terror Gap that makes it easy and legal for suspected terrorists to buy guns,” said Everytown for Gun Safety President John Feinblatt. “It’s time for Congress to put the safety of Americans ahead of gun lobby interests and support common-sense measures that will save lives.”
Here is Everytown’s bullet points on the “Terror Gap”:
- The U.S. Senate blocked a bipartisan bill first recommended by President George W. Bush to close the Terror Gap on the day after the San Bernardino mass shooting. A bipartisan House version of the bill has also been introduced.
- Between February 2004 and December 2014, individuals on the terror watch lists attempted to buy guns and explosives through licensed dealers 2,233 times, and succeeded in doing so on 2,043 occasions (91 percent).
- Since 2007, the NRA has actively blocked efforts to keep guns out of the hands of suspected terrorists by opposing legislation that would close the Terror Gap.
- A 2012 survey by Republican pollster Frank Luntz found that 76 percent of gun owners, including 71 percent of NRA members, support closing the Terror Gap.
- Last week Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy announced that he would take executive action, pending federal government approval, to keep suspected terrorists from buying guns in his state.
As noted in a previous GunsAmerica article, the “Terror Gap” is really just another scare-and-grab tactic meant to gin up fear so that we do not question the government when it drops the hammer on our civil liberties. Yes, in theory, actual terror suspects should not have access to firearms. But in reality, since it’s not quite clear who the government labels “suspected terrorist” and who they don’t, allowing it to unilaterally deny individuals a fundamental right without due process is unconstitutional.
Plus, it’s not like the government doesn’t already have the ability to track and monitor high-risk suspects carefully. As the National Rifle Association noted in its opposition to the legislation, law enforcement is notified every time one of these individuals purchases a firearm.
“The NRA does not want terrorists or dangerous people to have firearms, any suggestion otherwise is offensive and wrong,” said Jennifer Baker, director of public affairs. “Under the current system, law enforcement is notified every time a person on the list attempts to purchase a firearm. Law Enforcement then makes a case by case decision on the appropriate follow-up for each circumstance.
“The NRA’s only objective is to ensure that Americans who are wrongly on the list are afforded their constitutional right to due process. It is appalling that anti-gun politicians are exploiting the Paris terrorist attacks to push their gun-control agenda and distract from President Obama’s failed foreign policy.”
So, the call for “Terror Gap” legislation, like all calls for gun control, totally misses the mark.