A House bill designed to stop terror suspects from buying guns will not get much support from Democrats, as long as it reflects language endorsed by the National Rifle Association.
On Friday, the House posted text of a new bill introduced by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., that includes several counter-terrorism provisions and is being fast-tracked to the floor next week.
Included are gun control proposals that are substantially similar to an NRA-backed proposal from Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, which the Senate failed to advance last week on a largely partisan vote, 53-47.
The Senate vote came amid dueling amendments to a Commerce-Justice-Science appropriations bill that has been sidelined for now in the Senate.
“All across America, families are demanding real action to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and suspected terrorists, not a toothless NRA bill that will do nothing to keep our communities safe,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said in a statement Friday.
A Democratic aide said Democratic Reps. John Lewis of Georgia and John B. Larson of Connecticut, leaders in last week’s guns protest on the House floor , have asked to meet with Ryan about possible amendments to the bill.
McCarthy said in a statement that the provisions would “provide a process for individuals being investigated as known or suspected terrorists who attempt to buy a gun to be flagged, delayed, and;—if the burden of proof is satisfied—denied their purchase.”
The House provisions would allow U.S. attorneys to block the sale of a gun to anyone on a federal terror watch list for three business days and then stop the sale if they can show probable cause that the buyer is engaged in terrorism.
Democrats have said the language would be unenforceable and wouldn’t stop potentially dangerous people from buying guns.
“It’s deeply disappointing – but not surprising – that House Republicans are putting forward a partisan bill authored by the NRA, which would make it exceedingly difficult to prevent suspected terrorists from purchasing guns,” said a spokeswoman for Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md.
The spokeswoman said Democrats will continue to demand a vote on New York Republican Rep. Peter T. King’s bipartisan ‘No Fly, No Buy’ bill,” which imposes a ban on firearms sales to those on terror watchlists, unless they can prove they don’t belong on the list.
Beyond the gun provision, McCarthy’s bill would also set up an Office for Partnerships to Prevent Terrorism with the Department of Homeland Security. The office would be led by an assistant secretary who would coordinate with agencies throughout the federal government.
The office would be charged with developing within 90 days a strategy for combating radical Islamic terrorism. It also calls for a grant program for states and communities that are developing messaging campaigns to counter Islamic terrorism.