- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 5, 2010

New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg urged Congress on Wednesday morning to pass legislation to keep known terrorists from buying guns in the United States.

Mr. Bloomberg testified four days after a Connecticut man who received explosives training in Pakistan attempted to detonate a car bomb in New York’s bustling Times Square.

“This is a dangerous and serious breach of national security,” the mayor told the Senate Homeland Security Committee. “It’s time to close the ‘terror gap’ in the guns laws … and take other steps to prevent terrorism.”

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In additional to preventing known terrorists from buying guns from licensed dealers, the legislation would make arms purchases at gun shows more difficult.

Faisal Shahzad, the 30-year-old Connecticut resident and son of a retired Pakistani air force official, was charged Tuesday in connection with the attempted car bombing. However, he was not on the terrorist watch list when in March he purchased the gun that was found in his vehicle outside New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, where on Monday he attempted to fly to Dubai.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican, strongly objected to the legislation proposed last year by Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg, New Jersey Democrat.

Mr. Graham raised concerns about the constitutionality of the watch list being used to ban people from buying guns.

He said that the overwheming majority of people on the list are Muslim men and that, in 91 percent of cases, the people on the list who were allowed to buy guns have not been prosecuted for crimes.

“We’ve got a good system here,” Mr. Graham said. “We’re talking about Second Amendment rights. Taking away handguns doesn’t make me more safe. We’re going too far here.”

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