Senator's Report Calls for Closing the "Terror Gap"

By Matthew Harwood


The report also points to the Fort Hood massacre, the botched Times Square bombing, and the murder of an Army recruiter in Little Rock, Arkansas, in June 2009, as evidence similar, albeit, smaller terrorist attacks and attempts in the United States have leveraged small arms and explosives rather than the previous jihadist modus operandi of large-scale, spectacular attacks like 9-11.

To close what he calls the "Terror Gap," Lautenberg has introduced (S. 1317), "Denying Firearms and Explosives to Dangerous Terrorists Act of 2009" (.pdf). The legislation, which has 11 co-sponsors, would give discretionary authority to the attorney general to deny a gun or explosive purchase if he determines the buyer is a known or a suspected terrorist and holds a reasonable belief that the weapon could be used to carry out a terrorist attack.

Under the legislation, prospective gun or explosive buyers denied a gun or a high explosive could appeal the attorney general's decision in federal district court within 60 days of the determination. The legislation has not made it out of the Judiciary Committee

"The shootings at Ft. Hood in November 2009, in Little Rock, Arkansas in June 2009 and the attempted bombing in Times Square in May 2010...are part of mounting evidence that it is only a matter of time until a Mumbai-style attack takes place in the U.S.," says the report. "Closing the gaps in U.S. law enabling terrorists to purchase the guns and explosives they need to carry out such an attack must a national security priority. The continued failure to treat it as such puts the American public at great risk."

♦ Snip of report cover, "Firearms, Explosives and Terrorists"


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