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Everytown's Claims and The Facts

 
EVERYTOWN CLAIM: "Since 2007, the NRA has actively blocked efforts to keep guns out of the hands of suspected terrorists by opposing legislation that would close the Terror Gap."

FACTS:

  • This legislation has languished in Congress for over a decade not because the NRA opposed the flawed bill  but because Congress recognizes the constitutional issues surrounding the list. 
  • Last week (12/3/2015) anti-gun Senators voted against language that would have closed the so-called “Terror Gap”, while affording law-abiding Americans their 5th Amendment rights. They voted against an amendment by Sen. John Cornyn of Texas that sought to address, in a constitutionally-sound manner, the acquisition of firearms by dangerous individuals suspected of terrorism. Cornyn’s legislation authorized a 72-hour hold on firearm transfers to known or suspected terrorists, to allow for additional law enforcement and intelligence investigation and notifications. It authorized the attorney general to seek an emergency court order to prevent the firearm transfer, and required the government to prove its case before a federal judge by the same “probable cause” standard necessary to arrest the individual for a crime. http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=114&session=1&vote=00318
  • The NRA does not want terrorists to have firearms, to suggest otherwise is wrong and offensive to the men and women of the National Rifle Association and lawful gun owners across the nation.
  • The NRA’s only objective is to ensure that American citizens wrongly placed on secret lists are afforded their constitutional right to due process. 

 
EVERYTOWN CLAIM: “…the U.S. Senate blocked a bipartisan bill to close the Terror Gap that makes it easy and legal for suspected terrorists to buy guns.”

FACTS:

  • Anti-gun senators are playing politics and exploiting terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernadino to score political points.
  • A majority of US Senators (55-44) voted for an amendment by Sen. John Cornyn of Texas that sought to address the so-called “Terror Gap” in a constitutionally-sound manner. The Cornyn language would have prohibited the sale of firearms to dangerous individuals suspected of terrorism. Cornyn’s legislation authorized a 72-hour hold on firearm transfers to known or suspected terrorists, to allow for additional law enforcement and intelligence investigation and notifications. It authorized the attorney general to seek an emergency court order to prevent the firearm transfer, and required the government to prove its case before a federal judge by the same “probable cause” standard necessary to arrest the individual for a crime. Anti-gun senators voted against this amendment that would have closed the so-called “Terror Gap.” 
  • Anti-gun senators instead voted for Sen. Feinstein’s bill (45-54), which denies law-abiding American wrongly placed on the list their constitutional rights without due process. The Feinstein bill would give government bureaucrats discretion over who gets to legally possess firearms. The bill does not even mention the Terror Watch List or the “No Fly” list. Under her language, the AG gets to decide who to label a potential “terrorist,” and the person is then considered prohibited unless he or she can prove his or her innocence after the fact. The relief from disabilities provisions in the Feinstein bill are a sham. The accused does not have a right to confront the evidence used against him or her, and a reviewing court is required to rely on governmental “summaries” or redacted versions of documents. While the court may review the underlying evidence to judge the fairness of those summaries, the bill requires the court to ignore that evidence when actually determining if the government has met is burden. 

 
EVERYTOWN CLAIM: "Unfortunately suspected terrorists can walk into one of 50,000 gun stores and legally buy a gun."

FACTS:

  • It is absolutely false to assert that terrorists are free to walk into a gun store and purchase firearms completely unchecked – per federal law all federally licensed dealers are required to conduct background checks.  The FBI is notified of an attempted purchase each and every time without exception.
     
  • For the 2% of watch-listed persons who are not already prohibited, law enforcement delays their purchase of any firearm and the FBI is notified. If no prohibiting factor is found the purchase proceeds under surveillance of the FBI, which allows law enforcement to actively track people they deem of interest.  The FBI is free at any time to take further action where warranted.
     
  • 98% of watch-listed persons are already prohibited from acquiring firearms in the U.S. because they are not U.S. citizens or legal resident aliens. 
     
  • According to the FBI, they make a case-by-case determination and act accordingly:  “Regardless of whether the transaction is given the green light to proceed or is denied, the encounter is noted at the time and its import is assessed in the same manner as all newly discovered pieces of intelligence about the subject of the investigation … What the attempt to buy a firearm means in a counterterrorism investigation, and as a result the subsequent actions it warrants, necessarily must be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.” Daniel D. Roberts, Assistant Director, Criminal Justice Information Services, Federal Bureau of Investigation. (https://www.fbi.gov/news/testimony/terrorists-and-guns-the-nature-of-the-threat-and-proposed-reform)

 
EVERYTOWN CLAIM: "Close the terrorist loophole. Save lives."

FACTS:

  • Denying watch-listed persons their Second Amendment rights would not have prevented the terrorist attack in San Bernardino. Calls to close the “terrorist loophole” will not make the country safer and are merely distractions from President Obama’s failed foreign policy.
     
  • The terror watch list is imperfect and incomplete; while up to 35% of names are included by mistake, the list simultaneously fails to capture all dangerous people. 
    • As the Wall Street Journal reports about the San Bernardino attack: “It's not clear that there was a way to definitively identify the married couple as being a public risk ahead of time, but it is clear that they weren't identified as such. There will always be people who are not identified in advance, making the list necessarily incomplete.” (Philip Bump, “The no-fly list is a terrible tool for gun control, in part because it is a terrible tool,” Wall Street Journal, 12/7/2015)
  • Many individuals on the list are not terrorists and, while posing no threat to public safety, are provided no due process for inclusion on the list or given any pathway for removal from the list:
    • “…you can find yourself on one of these lists by having the same name as a suspected criminal or terrorist or by simply traveling to Turkey, and if you are on a list, you may not be able to determine which one you are on, much less get yourself removed. Basically, such a power would give the federal government the ability to make secret lists that could be used to take away a constitutionally protected right from anyone it chose—even the late Senator Ted Kennedy once ended up on a ‘no-fly list’ for reasons that were never made public.” (Frank Minter, “Did Terrorists Have a 91% Success Rate With Buying Guns in America?” Forbes, 11/18/2015)
       
  • Editorial boards and newspapers across the country have rejected calls to use secret government lists to deny law-abiding Americans their constitutional rights:
NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.