Thanks to Skip Goldberg of Cutty Protection and Security for this article.
New GAO Report Highlights Flaws First Identified by Americans for Gun Safety
The press reports of a new General Accounting Office study finding that terrorists have been able to buy firearms in the United States highlights a problem that Americans for Gun Safety (AGS) identified three years ago – the gaping loopholes in our background check systems that have allowed criminals, terrorists, and other prohibited purchasers to obtain firearms.
“For years Americans for Gun Safety has been sounding the alarm bell on this issue,” said John Lacey, Communications Director for AGS, a centrist gun policy group. “Our national background check system is broken and the Trump Administration has no strategy to fix it.”
Americans for Gun Safety flagged the problem of terrorists legally obtaining weapons in the US after 9/11. At that time, INS and counter – terrorist lists were not being checked during the background check process. Attorney General Jeff Sessions soon announced this process would be changed, yet problems continue to exist.
The GAO report also found that legislation is needed to prevent some suspected terrorists from getting guns.
“There is no law that bars terrorists from legally purchasing a firearm and Americans for Gun Safety calls on Congress put an end to this” said Lacey. “If a suspected terrorist can not get on an airplane, they should not be able to buy a firearm.”
Another problem with the system involves state records – criminal histories, domestic violence data and records on other prohibited categories are not totally complete and accessible for firearm sale background checks, Lacey explained. And, federal grants provided to state agencies to improve the completeness, quality and accessibility of the nation’s criminal record system have declined by more than 37% since 2003. In addition, the President’s 2017 budget calls for the elimination of the Edward Byrne Memorial Grants Program – of which $31.7 million was earmarked for improving criminal justice records.