New York Senator Schumer finds another firearms loophole to close.
How Do YOU Feel About This?
Here is his press release, and his letter to Attorney General Holder.
"FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 16, 2009
SCHUMER: GAPING HOLES IN FEDERAL GUN BACKGROUND CHECKS ALLOWED FORT HOOD SHOOTER TO PURCHASE GUN UNNOTICED BY FEDS
Current Background Checks Do Not Raise Red Flags When Someone who Has Been the Subject of a Terrorist Inquiry Buys a Gun - Allowed Fort Hood Shooter to Purchase a Gun Unnoticed by Joint Terrorism Task Force
Schumer Calls for Requiring Immediate Notification to JTTF When Someone who Has Been the Subject of a Terrorist Inquiry Buys a Gun
Schumer: We Cannot Let Another Threat Slip Through the Cracks
U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today called on the Department of Justice to require that a red flag be raised when someone who has been the subject of a terrorist inquiry attempts to purchase a gun after reports emerged today that the Fort Hood shooting suspect was able to purchase a gun and pass the background check even though the Joint Terrorism Task Force had reviewed certain communications of the suspect related to a terrorist investigation. Presently, the FBI unit responsible for background checks on gun purchases informs the FBI Counterterrorism Division when the gun purchaser is listed in the Terrorist Screening Database; but that watch list is not nearly inclusive of everyone the government may have concerns about.
“The bottom line is a giant red flag should have been raised when Major Hasan tried to buy a gun. We simply cannot allow bureaucratic firewalls to get in the way of tracking potential threats. The FBI and all branches of federal law enforcement have been working around the clock to investigate this tragic incident and I fully support and applaud their efforts, but changing these rules is common sense.”
Below is the Senator’s letter to the Attorney General:
Dear Attorney General Holder:
I write today with grave concerns regarding reports that the Fort Hood shooting suspect Major Nidal Malik Hasan was able to pass the required federal background check and purchase a firearm without the Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) ever being alerted to his purchase, even though Mr. Hasan had repeatedly contacted a radical Imam suspected of ties to Al Qaeda.
It is my understanding that when an individual is buying a handgun, National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) staff checks with the Terrorist Screening Center for hits in the Terrorist Screening Database. In the case of valid hits – where the purchaser in question is the subject of a preliminary or full terrorism investigation – NICS staff can delay the gun transaction for up to three business days and contact the FBI Counterterrorism Division to determine whether those agents have prohibiting information about the individual that is not yet contained in the automated databases.
In the case of Maj. Hasan, according to the FBI press release issued November 11, 2009, the FBI was aware of Maj. Hasan as part of an unrelated investigation being conducted by the JTTF. Moreover, the press release indicates that Maj. Hasan’s communications to the subject of that investigation were subject to inquiry. Given Maj. Hasan was a subject of a terrorist inquiry by the JTTF I find it shocking that no red flag was raised when he purchased a firearm.
I understand that FBI Director Mueller has ordered a full review of the facts and circumstances surrounding the Fort Hood tragedy and will be actively searching for any polices or practices that should be changed as a result of what we learn. I fully support this effort and stand ready to help should further regulatory authority be required through legislation.
The bottom line is that a red flag should have been raised and the JTTF notified when Major Hasan purchased a gun. I am sure you will agree that we simply cannot allow bureaucratic firewalls to get in the way of tracking potential threats.
Thank you for your consideration and attention to this matter. I know that the FBI and all branches of federal law enforcement have been working around the clock to investigate this tragic incident and I applaud your efforts.
Charles E. Schumer, United States Senator
CC: Director Robert S. Mueller, III, Federal Bureau of Investigation
Acting Director Kenneth E. Melson, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives"