States Explore Blocking Gun Sales to Terror Watch Lists

23 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Malloy says he’ll fight for transportation fund Vows to campaign against critics.

Congress may have declined to ban the sale of guns to people on federal terrorism watch lists, but one state — New Jersey — has, at least theoretically, been stopping such purchases since 2013. Three years after a deranged young man gunned down 20 children and six educators in an elementary school, two weeks after a radical Islamist couple killed 14 people at a holiday party, the U.S.If one thing has become clear in the wake of the most recent string of mass shootings we as a nation have experienced this year — beginning with Charleston, through Chattanooga and Lafayette, and, most recently, in Colorado Springs and San Bernardino — the American people are tired of waiting for action.A Tuesday report from a liberal think tank offered an assortment of recommendations for state governments to battle gun violence — including stricter background checks.

The Washington-based Center for American Progress, in a 67-page report, suggested five other areas where states could exercise their power: Enhanced enforcement of current laws, improved date collection and analysis, increased community involvement, increased oversight of gun owners with concealed-carry permits, and better regulation of the gun industry. “With more than 30,000 people killed with guns each year in this country, gun violence can easily be called a national crisis,” said Chelsea Parsons, the CAP vice president for guns and crime policy. But the system could potentially serve as a model for a handful of other states, including New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Illinois and California, where lawmakers have been exploring ways to restrict sales without an act of Congress. We simply do not have the luxury of waiting while Congress continues to debate these issues and the National Rifle Association throws up every conceivable roadblock to thwart common sense, lifesaving gun laws that have the support of the vast majority of Americans. The group, while acknowledging not all of its 28 recommendations were “appropriate or feasible in every state,” said it was trying to lay out a variety of possible options for local officials.

Malloy is vowing to campaign against any legislators who vote against his next proposal for constitutionally securing the Special Transportation Fund. Governors, who typically control state police, should take the lead in prosecuting when prohibited individuals attempt to buy guns and fail background checks. In remarks Monday, Malloy reiterated his intention to continue to pursue a constitutional amendment that would bar diverting revenue deposited into the dedicated fund after coming up short last week. Chris Christie, people buying guns or applying for a firearm permit in New Jersey can be blocked as part of the routine criminal history check, conducted through the National Crime Information Center. They should require state and local law-enforcement to systematically track all guns used in crimes — and use the data to identify the largest sources of crime-enabling guns in their states.

Through pension divestment and state purchasing power, they should pressure gun manufacturers into cutting off sales to bad-actor dealers whose weapons are likely to land in the hands of criminals. State executives — such as governors, attorneys general, law enforcement leaders, and mayors — have a substantial opportunity to use their existing authority to implement smart policies, programs, and regulations that would have a significant impact in reducing gun violence and saving lives. Many governors — 32 of whom are Republican, and every bit as cowed by the NRA as the typical member of the House and Senate — will refuse to fill the vacuum created by a cowardly Congress.

Government Accountability Office, an investigative branch of Congress, said in March that people on the FBI’s terrorism watch list successfully passed background checks required to purchase firearms 2,043 times between 2004 and 2014. Stephen Jones, a spokesman for the New Jersey State Police, said that neither the police nor licensed firearms dealers have direct access to the FBI’s watch list and instead rely on the NCIC screening process to reject suspected extremists.

Cuomo, a stalwart crusader, is pressing the feds to add the terror watchlist to their federal background check so that New York, at least, can ban would-be terrorists from getting weapons. According to the National Counterterrorism Center, about 1.1 million people, including about 25,000 U.S. citizens, were on the 2013 version of the Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment, a repository of information used to compile the consolidated Terrorist Screening Database. Meanwhile, President Obama has likewise indicated that he is considering a number of new federal executive actions on guns, including one that would expand background checks on gun sales. Momentum to take serious action to reduce gun violence continues to build, and the groundswell of support and activism on this issue in communities across the country is stronger than ever.

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