Watch a short message from Veteran Richard Smith
on the “Terror Gap” in America’s gun laws
In Iraq and Afghanistan, hundreds of thousands of men and women fought for America, and over 50,000 were wounded or killed. While the war in Iraq is drawing to a close, Americans are still fighting in Afghanistan, and every day around the world, we are going after known terrorists and their compounds.
Yet, at the same time, terrorists right here in America are buying guns and other weapons – legally – to attack our nation and our troops, and the law can do almost nothing to stop it. A 2011 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report shows that individuals on terror watch lists tried to buy guns and explosives 1,453 times during a nearly seven-year period (February 2004 – December 2010). On 1,321 occasions – 91 percent of attempts – the FBI was unable to block gun and explosive sales to suspected terrorists.
This is called the “Terror Gap” in America’s gun laws, and must be fixed. Veterans who fought for America, many of whom are proud gun owners, will not stand for letting terrorists being able to walk into a store and purchase their weapon of choice.
Terrorists Targeting Troops With Legally Purchased Arms
Fort Hood shooting. On November 5, 2009, 13 people were shot and killed and 30 others were wounded by Major Nidal Hasan. Hasan was able to pass a background check and buy a handgun even though he was under investigation by the FBI for links to terrorism. FBI agents investigating Hasan were never informed that he was trying to purchase a weapon.
Little Rock shooting. On June 1, 2009, Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad opened fire at a military recruiting station in Little Rock, killing one private and wounding another. At the time of the shooting, the FBI was investigating Muhammad after his arrest in Yemen with a fake Somali passport. He was charged with murder and 16 counts of terrorist acts.
Fort Dix plot. In 2007, six terror suspects were arrested for plotting to attack Fort Dix after trying to buy M-16s, AK-47s, and handguns from a government informant. One suspect pleaded guilty to providing firearms to illegal aliens. The other five were convicted of conspiracy to kill U.S. military personnel.
The Vet Voice Foundation strongly supports bipartisan legislation that would close the terror gap.
This legislation, sponsored by Senator Frank Lautenberg and Representative Peter King would allow the Department of Justice to place terror suspects on a list, pending judicial review, that would ensure they fail background checks, before purchasing a weapon. In some cases, the Justice Department could let a sale go through, without tipping off the terror suspect, so intelligence could continue their surveillance of the suspect.
This is common-sense legislation that does not infringe on a gun-owner’s rights, and will protect our troops and our nation. A poll of NRA members conducted by Republican pollster, Frank Luntz, found that even 82 percent of NRA members support closing the terror gap. We veterans join NRA members in supporting this measure. We believe in the preservation of the rights of Americans, particularly Veterans, to defend their homes and families, but that right should not be extended to the terrorists who would attack them.