Schumer calls for closing gun law loophole

Posted at: 04/28/2013 6:47 PM
By: Amanda Ciavarri | WHEC.com

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Do you think someone on the national terrorist watch list should be allowed to buy guns? The answer might shock you.

People on the list are allowed to do just that and now Senator Chuck Schumer is calling for a change.

After the Boston Marathon bombings, Schumer says it is time to close this loophole.

Schumer says the bombers could have easily purchased weapons despite the older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, being on the national terrorist watch list.

According to Senator Schumer, right now the federal government can't stop the sale of gun, or explosives, unless the individual buying them meets one of nine disqualifying criteria. Those are things like being a convicted felon, or a domestic abuser.

Schumer said the bombers could have bought weapons without being turned away because being on the national terrorist watch list is not a disqualification.

Now, he is pushing for this loophole to be changed.

Here is a statistic to put this in perspective. In 2011, according to a report by the Government Accountability Office, known or suspected terrorists were cleared to buy firearms more than 1,300 times between February 2004 and December 2010.

"You see, right now the National Background Check System does not reveal information about whether a person is a suspected terrorist. It has whether you're a felon, it has whether you've been adjudicated mentally ill, but amazingly enough, not if you're a terrorist,” said Senator Schumer. "I'm announcing a major push to get legislation passed that says if you're on a terrorist watch list you cannot purchase a gun. It will be added, it will be supplemented to our background checks legislation which closes the gun show loophole.”

News10NBC reached out to the New York Shooters Committee on Political Education, or SCOPE, to get their reaction on this.

A spokesman for SCOPE said on the phone that Schumer is not looking at all the factors here. They say that one of the nine disqualifying criteria would put up a red flag with someone on the watch list and therefore, SCOPE says they don't believe they would actually be able to buy a gun in a shop.

Here is the full list of the nine disqualifying criteria:

  • If the person has been convicted of, or is under indictment for, a crime punishable by imprisonment for more than one year
  • If the person is a fugitive from justice
  • If the person is an unlawful user of or addicted to a controlled substance
  • If the person has been adjudicated as a mental defective or committed to a mental institution
  • If the person is an illegal alien
  • If the person has been dishonorably discharged from the military
  • If the person has renounced his or her U.S. Citizenship
  • If the person is subject to a court order restraining him or her from harassing, stalking or threatening an intimate partner, his or her child or a child of a partner or engaging in other conduct that would place an intimate partner in reasonable fear of bodily injury to the partner or child
  • If the person has been convicted of a misdemeanor offense of domestic violence

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