Guns were legally sold to 247 people on the government's terror watch list last year—and that's after all of them passed a background check, according to FBI figures. That's because it's not illegal to sell guns to people on the terror watch list, the AP explains. Since February 2004, 1,453 people on the watch list have attempted to buy firearms or explosives, and 90% of them have been successful.
Democrat Frank Lautenberg has campaigned for a law to close what he calls the "terror gap," something the Obama administration supports. But gun control foes say the terror list isn't transparent enough; it's generated in secret based on murky criteria. "We think it's wrong to arbitrarily deny a law-abiding person a constitutional right," says a spokesman for the NRA. And, as one counterterror official points out, denying a gun to someone on the list would necessitate telling them they were on the list, which might cause them to alter their behavior or identity to avoid detection.