- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 25, 2015

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is urging members of Congress to act on a dormant gun control bill that would ban suspected terrorists from owning firearms, but it has been unable to clear Capitol Hill despite eight years of effort.

Mr. de Blasio, a Democrat, sent a letter on Tuesday to two of the top lawmakers in Congress imploring them to revisit the Denying Firearms and Explosives to Dangerous Terrorists Act in the wake of the recent tragedy in Paris, France.

“As the mayor of the top terror target in the United States, and one of the top terror targets in the world, I write to you today urging swift congressional action,” Mr. de Blasio wrote this week to House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, both Republicans.

“Quite simply, if someone is too dangerous to be permitted to fly aboard a commercial aircraft because of known or suspected ties to terrorist organizations, then those same individuals should not be allowed to legally purchase the types of weapons used by those who launched the unspeakable attacks in Paris,” the mayor wrote.

Specifically, the Denying Firearms and Explosives to Dangerous Terrorists Act prohibits the sale or distribution of firearms or explosives to any person deemed by the Department of Justice to be engaged in terrorist activities.

Attempts to amend gun laws so that suspected terrorists would be banned from owning firearms first surfaced under former President George W. Bush in 2007, the New York Daily News reported this week, but they have been routinely shunned largely due to the lobbying efforts of the National Rifle Association.

In the wake of the recent terrorist attacks in Paris, however, lawmakers are renewing calls for gun control in hopes of hindering any plans for a potential assault on American soil.

“I am still amazed at how long it has taken our society to deal with the problem of gun violence,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, said on Tuesday. “And when you add terrorism now, on top of every other threat, it makes the gun issue even more dangerous.”

“The same nefarious individual we monitor and bar from our planes, we turn the other way when it comes to allowing them to get guns and explosives,” added Sen. Chuck Schumer, New York Democrat, the Daily News reported. “The NRA has fought tooth and nail to prevent these individuals from the terror watch list from being added over the past several years.”

The Government Accountability Office determined previously that at least 2,233 suspected terrorists attempted to buy guns from dealers within the U.S. between 2004 and 2014, and succeeded more than 9-out-of-10 times.

“Membership in a terrorist organization does not prohibit a person from possessing firearms or explosives under current federal law,” the GAO found.

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