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Opinion

EDITORIAL: Stop those on terror list from buying guns

Suspected terrorists shouldn't be able to buy guns and explosives easily. While that doesn't seem like a controversial position, all these years after 9/11, people suspected of plotting terrorist violence can still buy those weapons legally.

That's a dangerous hole in the nation's gun control laws. Congress should close the "terror gap" by passing legislation to allow authorities to block such sales.

The bill would expand the current law, which requires a background check for anyone buying from a licensed firearms dealer. Domestic abusers, felons and some mentally ill are already turned away. But, absurdly, suspected terrorists aren't. According to government auditors, known or suspected terrorists have made 963 attempts to legally buy guns or explosives since 2004, and 865 were successful.

Would a new law make it impossible for terrorists to get weapons? Unfortunately, no - there are too many avenues for illegal purchases. But it shouldn't be as easy as sauntering into a strip-mall gun shop. Could the law inconvenience some people mistakenly placed on terrorist watch lists? Unfortunately, yes. But the bill would require guidelines from the attorney general describing the circumstances in which gun purchases would be denied. And it would give people whose purchases are blocked the opportunity to challenge that decision.

There's just no good reason why it should remain legal for suspected terrorists to buy the tools of their deadly trade. hN

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