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Singleton & Pinkin Measure Urging Federal Lawmakers to Close ‘Terror Gap’ Clears Assembly Committee

Known or Suspected Terrorists Have 91 Percent Success Rate in Purchasing Guns from U.S. Dealers

Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Troy Singleton and Nancy Pinkin urging federal lawmakers to act to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous individuals recently was advanced by an Assembly committee.

“Gun violence is a matter of public safety and public health. Congress must uphold its duty to promote the general welfare of all American men, women and children by taking common-sense steps to reduce this threat,” said Singleton (D-Burlington). “New Jersey has some of the nation’s toughest gun laws, but weaker laws in other states make our residents vulnerable. Only federal legislation can solve that problem.”

The measure (ACR-195) calls on Congress to enact legislation to reduce the risk of harm from firearms sales by reinstating and strengthening the assault weapons ban, requiring criminal background checks for all gun sales and prohibiting those listed on the FBI terror watchlists, including the Terrorist Screening Database, the No Fly List and the Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment, from purchasing firearms.

While felons and mentally ill individuals who present a danger to themselves and others are prohibited from purchasing guns, federal law allows persons on terror watchlists to buy firearms. Known or suspected terrorists attempted to purchase guns from American dealers more than 2,000 times between 2004 and 2014, succeeding 91 percent of the time, according to the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

“Our nation witnessed the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history earlier this year, and the shooter – who had been on a terror watch list – legally purchased the weapon he used to kill 49 people and injure 53 others,” said Pinkin (D-Middlesex). “The majority of gun owners support closing the ‘terror gap’ and prohibiting suspected terrorists from legally buying firearms. Congress should acknowledge the will of the people and reform the law.”

The resolution was advanced Thursday by the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee.