Moylan Seeking to Ban Terror Suspects and Felons from Buying and Possessing Firearms

12/15/2015

“When our commercial airline system was used to perpetrate the deadliest terrorist attack on American soil, we responded with increased security to prevent another attack,” Moylan said. “In light of the multiple acts of terrorism that have occurred using firearms, it’s time to take further action to keep our communities safe from more violence.”

House Bill 4359 requires the Illinois State Police to conduct a search of the FBI’s Terrorist Watchlist to identify whether an individual attempting to obtain a FOID Card is on the list. Any individual on the list will not be issued a card. The bill also allows the State Police to conduct a retroactive search and revoke existing FOID Cards, along with any weapons, issued to suspected terrorists.

The bill will strengthen current law by requiring law enforcement officers to remove firearms illegally in the possession of convicted felons. Law enforcement officers will also have to remove firearms from the possession of individuals who have had their FOID Card revoked for other reasons, including domestic violence charges and mental health problems. Under current law, it is illegal for these individuals to own firearms, but they are expected to voluntarily turn over their weapons. Under this proposal, law enforcement will be required to remove firearms from their possession.

In the past several years there have been several mass shootings committed by individuals proclaiming allegiance to terrorism. In 2009, a shooter open fired at Fort Hood, Texas, killing 13 people and injuring 30 others. Earlier this year, mass shootings motivated by terrorism occurred in Tennessee and California, killing a total of 19 people.

Under current law, an individual with known connections to terrorist organizations can walk into a gun shop and legally purchase weapons. Many suspects on the FBI’s terrorist watchlist are prohibited from flying on airplanes, but those same individuals are allowed to purchase an unlimited amount of firearms and ammunition. Federal law already prohibits felons, domestic abusers and people with specific kinds of mental health histories from purchasing a gun, but not terrorist suspects.

The Government Accountability Office found that between 2004 and 2014, suspected terrorists successfully purchased over 2,000 guns from American dealers. According to the report, they were able to successfully purchase guns from these dealers 91 percent of the time. Efforts in Congress to ban these sales have stalled. Earlier this year, bills were introduced in both the U.S. House and Senate to ban these sales, but neither bill advanced pass committee.

“It’s deplorable that Congress has been unable to act on this common sense measure to keep us safe from terrorist attacks,” said Moylan. “It’s important that we do all we can at the state level to prevent terrorist-inspired mass shootings here in Illinois.”