Need a Gun? On the Terrorist Watch List? No Problem

Feds OK sales thanks to controversial law
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 20, 2009 3:18 PM CDT
People on the government?s terrorist watch list tried to buy guns nearly 1,000 times in the last five years, and federal authorities cleared the purchases 9 times out of 10.   (Shutter Stock)
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(Newser) – People placed on Washington's terrorist watch list can be prevented from boarding an airplane or getting a visa, but they can still buy a gun, the New York Times reports. In the last 5 years, people on the list tried to buy guns nearly 1,000 times, and current laws forced federal authorities to approve requests 90% of the time. One buyer even picked up 50 pounds of explosives.

Officials must clear gun purchases, the Times notes, unless potential buyers can be disqualified for being a felon, illegal immigrant, or drug addict. “This is a glaring omission, and it’s a security issue,” said Sen. Frank Lautenberg, who proposes granting the attorney general authority to block such sales. But the NRA says Lautenberg’s approach opposes “the interests of public safety.”