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Jeanne S.
Democrat NH

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  • Student Success Act—Conference Report

    by Senator Jeanne Shaheen

    Posted on 2015-12-08

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    SHAHEEN. Mr. President, I come to the floor to join my colleagues because I also believe we should keep guns out of the hands of terrorists. I don't think that applies to law-abiding citizens, but I think it does apply to terrorists.

    I have been a strong supporter of the Second Amendment. In New Hampshire, we have a rich tradition of safe and legal firearm ownership. We have a rich tradition of hunting and sportsman's activities. But like most Granite Staters, I also support pragmatic and sensible ways to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people who would threaten this country, while also protecting the rights of law- abiding citizens. That is what we are discussing here today.

    We have put forward commonsense legislation that adheres to a pretty simple principle: If you are not allowed on a plane because you are on a no-fly list, because you are suspected of threatening the country, then you should not be allowed to buy a gun.

    [[Page S8455]] I want to repeat what Senator Schumer said because I think people don't think that is real. They think: Oh, well, if you are on the no- fly list, you are not going to be able to buy a gun. But according to the Government Accountability Office, between 2004 and 2014, suspected terrorists attempted to purchase guns from American dealers at least 2,233 times that we know of. In 2,043 of those cases--2,043--91 percent of the time, those suspected terrorists succeeded. That is unacceptable, and it is time we close the loophole that allows suspected terrorists to purchase guns.

    After the horrific tragedy last week that was carried out by radicalized individuals in San Bernardino, it is clear that we need to be doing more to prevent violent attacks inspired by ISIS here at home. Closing this loophole in our gun laws is a commonsense thing that we can do today.

    I have heard concerns that the legislation we have proposed doesn't allow for adequate due process for those on the list, but that is just not correct. The Department of Homeland Security has a process in place for removing a name from the no-fly list. As Senator Feinstein, the author of the legislation, has noted, the FBI office that handles the firearm background check system must provide a reason for a denial upon request. Individuals who are listed then have a right to correct any inaccurate records in the background check system. So there is a process in place for people who are wrongfully on that no-fly list to be able to remove their names.

    I would ask those who oppose this bill: If the no-fly list is not good enough for keeping guns out of the hands of terrorists, why is it worthwhile for protecting commercial airline flights from terrorists? The reasoning is inconsistent.

    The PRESIDING OFFICER. The time of the Senator has expired.

    Mrs. SHAHEEN. Mr. President, it is time to come together in the interests of national security to pass this bill to close this loophole in our Nation's gun laws.

    The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Connecticut.

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