After the publication of this post, The Washington Post added and reorganized language so its article now states that the NRA expressed “general support” for Republican proposals rather than “general support” for a bipartisan solution. The primary Republican proposal was authored by Sen. Cornyn and is not a meaningful step toward blocking gun sales to suspected terrorists. The Post gave no indication that it had made revisions to its article.
The Washington Post erroneously reported that the NRA expressed “general support” for proposals to block gun sales to suspected terrorists. In fact, the NRA has supported, and continues to support, a proposal that has been described as having “an unworkable standard for blocking dangerous sales” to individuals suspected of having ties to terrorism.
Under present federal law, there is no prohibition on individuals on either a terror watchlist or the no-fly list purchasing firearms from gun dealers. On June 15, presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump wrote on Twitter, “I will be meeting with the NRA, who has endorsed me, about not allowing people on the terrorist watch list, or the no fly list, to buy guns.”
The NRA responded, also on Twitter, claiming, “Our position is no guns for terrorists -- period. Due process & right to self-defense for law-abiding Americans.”
A June 15 Washington Post article cited the NRA’s tweet as evidence that the gun group was “expressing general support” for proposals such as a nascent bipartisan effort being developed by Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) and “a gun-control group led by former New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg”:
Trump’s announcement, made via Twitter, came as Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), locked in a closely watched reelection battle, told Ohio reporters that he is ready to back a federal ban on weapons sales to anyone on a terrorist watch list if a compromise can be reached. Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), who has worked on bipartisan gun-control legislation in the past and is also facing a tough reelection, is in talks with a gun-control group led by former New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg to come up with such a measure, the group said.
The NRA responded to Trump by expressing general support for such proposals: “Our position is no guns for terrorists -- period. Due process & right to self-defense for law-abiding Americans,” the group tweeted.
But in a June 15 statement, the NRA indicated that its “position on this issue has not changed.” The statement went on to express continued support for a proposal authored by Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX).
Cornyn’s proposal would not be a meaningful step toward blocking sales to suspected terrorists. As Everytown for Gun Safety explains, the Cornyn proposal, which was drafted in response to bipartisan legislation introduced by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Rep. Peter King (R-NY), “would fail to address the terror gap, continuing to make it nearly impossible for the government to stop suspected terrorists from buying guns.” This is because the Cornyn proposal “has an unworkable standard for blocking dangerous sales -- requiring officials to show in court not only that someone is suspected of being involved in terrorism, but that he or she will actually commit an act of terror.”
Additionally, “the counter-proposal would give the government only 72 hours to bring the suspected terrorist into court and meet this incredible standard -- or else the dangerous gun sale will proceed.”