Senator Lankford Co-sponsors Legislation to Prevent Terrorists From Buying Guns

WASHINGTON, DC – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) today joined Senators Ron Johnson (R-WI) and John Cornyn (R-TX) in co-sponsoring legislation to keep guns away from suspected terrorists, while protecting constitutional ‘due process’ rights for all Americans who purchase a firearm. The legislation was offered as an amendment (#4859) to the FY17 Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations bill (HR 2578), which is currently being debated in the Senate.

“On June 12, a radical Islamic-inspired terrorist attacked and killed 49 Americans in Orlando and last December a radical Islamic-inspired terrorist couple attacked a Christmas party in California and killed 14 people,” said Lankford. “These tragedies have spurred a national debate about preventing more lone-wolf terrorist attacks. We cannot ignore the rising threat of radical Islamic lone-wolf terrorists in the United States. No one wants any terrorist armed in America, but we also should not make America even less safe by denying due process or Second Amendment rights for any law-abiding citizen. Democrats continue to push for the ability of the Attorney General to unilaterally create a secret list of people who lose their right to buy a firearm without the ability to defend their right. I am committed to protect the nation from terrorism, but I will not take any action that removes the right of law-abiding Americans to protect themselves or remove their Fifth Amendment due process rights.”

Specifically, Lankford’s amendment would prevent individuals on the Terrorist No Fly List from purchasing a gun until they have a hearing before a federal court. The amendment also creates a five-year “look back” provision that will alert law enforcement if someone tries to buy a firearm and has been on the terrorist screening database any time in the last five years.

If the court does not find a reason to withhold an individual’s Second Amendment rights based on the law, the government must fully reimburse all legal fees. Civil liberty groups and individuals have long raised concerns about the frequency of people being falsely placed on the terror watchlist, so it is essential that any federal action based on the FBI list be confirmed in a court. It is also important that any individual on the list enjoy the right to defend and speak on their own behalf.

The Senate voted for a procedural motion to table the amendment, which means the amendment was not adopted.