House Judiciary Committee
Rejects Amendments to Patriot Act to Keep Guns--Including 50 Caliber Anti-Armor
Sniper Rifles--Out of the Hands of Terrorists
Measures Fail Despite
Growing Evidence that Terrorists, Including Al Qaeda, Buy Firearms in
increasing evidence that a variety of terrorist organizations are buying
the most lethal categories of guns in the United States, the House Judiciary
Committee today voted down two anti-terror gun amendments to the USA Patriot
and Terrorism Prevention Reauthorization Act of 2005 (H.R 3199). The Committee
first rejected an amendment by Representatives Chris Van Hollen (D-MD)
and John Conyers (D-MI) to include within the existing crime of providing
material support to terrorists the transfer of firearms to persons known
to be listed in the Violent Gang and Terrorist Organization File. The
Committee later rejected an amendment offered by Representative Zoe Lofgren
(D-CA) to include within the crime of providing material support to terrorists
the transfer of a 50 caliber sniper rifle to any member of Al Qaeda.
"In rejecting these
amendments, the Judiciary Committee ignored incontrovertible evidence
that terrorists are easily acquiring guns--including 50 caliber anti-armor
sniper rifles--in the United States," states Violence Policy Center Legislative
Director Kristen Rand. For example:
- An operative of
Al Qaeda, Essam al Ridi, bought 25 Barrett 50 caliber sniper rifles
in the late 1980s in the United States and shipped them to Al Qaeda.
- At least two Barrett
50 caliber sniper rifles were acquired in the United States by the Irish
Republican Army. One was used in a fatal attack against a British soldier.
- The Violence Policy
Center obtained a copy of a six-page pamphlet titled How Can I Train
Myself for Jihad which also was reported to have been found in terrorist
safe houses in Kabul, Afghanistan. The pamphlet notes, "In other countries,
e.g. some states of USA, South Africa, it is perfectly legal for members
of the public to own certain types of firearms. If you live in such
a country, obtain an assault rifle legally, preferably AK-47 or variations,
learn how to use it properly and go and practice in the areas allowed
for such training."
- The Government
Accountability Office found that during the period February 3 through
June 30, 2004, a total of 44 firearm-related background checks handled
by the FBI and applicable state agencies resulted in valid matches with
terrorist watch list records. Of this total, 35 transactions were allowed
to proceed because the background checks found no prohibiting information,
such as felony convictions, illegal immigrant status, or other disqualifying
Adds Rand, "Congress
cannot construct an effective anti-terrorism policy without addressing
current gun laws that allow all manner of terrorists in America easy access
to the most lethal firearms."
The Violence Policy Center is a
national non-profit educational foundation that conducts research on violence
in America and works to develop violence-reduction policies and proposals.
The Center examines the role of firearms in America, conducts research
on firearms violence, and explores new ways to decrease firearm-related
death and injury.
Wednesday, July 13, 2005
Violence Policy Center
(202) 822-8200 x109