Should People on U.S. Watch List Be Barred from Buying Firearms?

A new Government Accountability Office (GAO) report that was released states that an overwhelmingly large number of terrorists and people on the government watch list are being approved to carry firearms and guns.  

From Feb. 2004 through Feb. 2010, the FBI shows that individuals on the U.S. terrorist watch list were involved in firearm or explosives background checks 1,225 times, according to the GAO. About 91 percent of the time, or 1,116 of these transactions were allowed to proceed because no prohibiting information was found, such as felony convictions, illegal immigrant status, or other disqualifying factors, and 109 of the transactions were denied.

The report states “Membership in a terrorist organization does not prohibit a person from possessing firearms or explosives under current federal law,” the GAO report states. “However, for homeland security and other purposes, the FBI is notified when a firearm or explosives background check involves an individual on the terrorist watchlist.”

Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs committee held a hearing yesterday to discuss the merits of a law barring people on the many U.S. watch lists from purchasing weapons.  Senator Joe Liberman is the head of the committee and stated this “dangerous loophole” in the system is “stunning and infuriating”.  “We are simply not doing all we can to stop terrorists from buying guns,” said Lieberman.

There is currently no law that prevents such people from obtaining a weapon. They can only be denied if they have a felony conviction or are illegal immigrants. For full details of the report go to


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