FBI Director Robert Mueller suggested yesterday that Congress bar terrorism suspects from legally buying guns after an audit found that 47 people on a terrorism watch list were approved for purchases last year. A Government Accountability Office report pointed out that being suspected of having a link to a terrorist or a terrorist group is not among the nine criteria that prevent someone from legally buying a firearm. It only triggers a more intense background check of the person before a gun dealer can sell them a gun.
The National Rifle Association says the current law is protecting Americans from terrorists while allowing citizens the freedom to own guns. Wayne LaPierre, NRA chief executive, said under the law, if the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System gets a hit that someone applying for a gun permit is on a terror watch list, the government official who put that person on the list and other counterterrorism personnel are notified. “They are specifically asked whether there’s a good reason to deny this person buying a firearm,” LaPierre told the Associated Press. “If there is, the person is denied. If there is not, the person is not denied.”