Representative Nita Lowey

Representing the 17th District of New York

Lowey Offers ‘No Fly No Buy’ in Appropriations Committee Markup

June 22, 2016
Press Release

Provision to Prevent Terrorists From Buying Firearms
Offered As Amendment to Homeland Security Appropriations bill

Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-NY), Ranking Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, today offered an amendment to the FY2017 Homeland Security Appropriations bill to prevent potential terrorists from purchasing firearms, in the first House votes on gun policy since the tragic Orlando attack that killed 49 individuals.

Democratic members of the Committee speaking in support of the amendment used their time to discuss individual victims of attacks in San Bernardino and Orlando, in order to put human faces on the issue of gun violence.

“It is common sense that individuals involved in terrorist activity should not be permitted to purchase firearms,” said Lowey.  “After San Bernardino, Orlando, and many other tragic attacks that the FBI has investigated as terrorism, we know the consequences of allowing the most dangerous people easy access to the most dangerous weapons.  Congress must summon the will to take this simple step to prevent further tragedies and keep American communities safe.”

Federal law currently prohibits nine categories of dangerous individuals from purchasing firearms. That list includes convicted felons, domestic abusers, and the seriously mentally ill. It does not include suspected terrorists.

Between 2004 and 2015, individuals on terror watch lists tried to purchase guns or explosives 2,477 times. Of those attempts, 2,265 were successful – a 91 percent approval rate.

The amendment offered by Lowey is identical to language offered by Senator Diane Feinstein and voted down by the U.S. Senate this week.  It gives the attorney general the authority to block the sale of firearms to known or suspected terrorists, if the attorney general has a reasonable belief that the firearm would be used in connection with terrorism.  It also requires the Attorney General to establish procedures to ensure that the DOJ is promptly notified if an individual who has been investigated for terrorism at any point in the past five years attempts to purchase a firearm.

The amendment was voted down by the majority.

Lowey has offered versions of this amendment five times in previous years dating back to FY2012. 

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