On Wednesday, Rep. Peter King (R-NY) joined Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) to introduce a bill giving Attorney General Eric Holder final say on who does or doesn’t pass National Instant Criminal Background Checks (NICS) for gun purchases.
The twelve other Democrats co-sponsoring the Denying Firearms and Explosives to Dangerous Terrorist Act of 2015 include “Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Dick Durbin (D-Ill), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Barbara Boxer (D-CA)… [and] Christ Murphy (D-CT),” among others.
According to San Diego Jewish World, the act is meant to stop a “known or suspected terrorist from buying firearms or explosives.” Yet as Feinstein, one of the bill’s central sponsors explained, the terrorists who would be barred from buying firearms are also barred from traveling to the United States in the first place — so why give the AG new powers over gun sales for people who are banned from even entering the USA?
Here’s how Feinstein put it:
The Kouachi brothers, responsible for the attacks in Paris, were on U.S. terrorist watch lists, including the no-fly list. However, if the brother had instead been in the United States, they would have been able to legally purchase weapons.
Of course, the brothers were not present in the United States — and of course, they were banned from boarding a plan to get here.
Nonetheless, the Denying Firearms and Explosives to Dangerous Terrorist Act of 2015 would give the AG new powers, allowing him to “deny the purchase or transfer of a firearm or explosive to a known or suspected terrorist if the perspective recipient may use the firearm or explosive in connection with terrorism.”
There are questions regarding what the measure for ascertaining a “suspected terrorist” for the purposes of banning gun sales will be, but none regarding the fact that the bill gives AG Holder the final say on who gets a gun.
Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.