In One Chart: Leading GOP Presidential Candidates On Selling Guns To Suspected Terrorists
Washington, D.C. – Republicans have lined up to attack the President’s recent executive orders to prevent gun violence - some of them even stooping to blatant lies during Sunday show appearances – and we can expect to hear more of same from the GOP presidential candidates at tomorrow night’s debate in Charleston. While the candidates stand in a state where gun crime is “among the worst in the nation”, and near the site of last year’s mass shooting that killed 9, it’s a good opportunity to take stock in how extreme GOP stance on guns actually is and how far out of step they are with mainstream Americans.
Currently, convicted felons, domestic abusers and the seriously mentally ill are barred from purchasing guns in the U.S. That’s common sense. What isn’t common sense is that currently known or suspected terrorists, despite being barred from boarding planes, are not barred from purchasing firearms. You can thank the NRA’s efforts for that, and of course the GOP. Last month members of the Senate had a rare opportunity: a chance to cast a meaningful vote to protect the American people from potential terror threats. Democrats in the Senate rallied together to fix this glaring gap in our gun laws, and House Democrats pushed to allow a vote on a bill. Yet, the day after the deadliest mass shooting since Newtown, the Republican run Senate let their NRA donors trump the safety of the American people and blocked this common-sense fix to keep guns and explosives out of the hands of suspected terror suspects. Meanwhile, House Republicans have repeatedly blocked Congress from even debating closing the Terror Gap, fearing it might hurt the NRA’s bottom line, this week voting for the 11th time to keep this outrageous loophole open.
And when asked the simple question ‘Do you believe we should allow terror suspects to buy guns?’, Republican presidential hopefuls clamoring to be the toughest candidate on terrorism suddenly start dancing around the answer . So here's a handy chart for where leading 2016 GOP hopefuls stand on giving people currently on the terror suspect list easy access to guns and explosives:
Jeb Bush: Though claiming he’d be willing to change his view if the list were “seriously narrowed”, Bush says we should not ban gun and explosives purchases for people currently on the terror watch list
Ted Cruz: Voted to allow firearms and explosives to “known or suspected dangerous terrorists”
Marco Rubio: Voted to allow firearms and explosives to “known or suspected dangerous terrorists”
Ben Carson: Asked by George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s “This Week” about whether someone on a terror watch list should be allowed to buy a gun, Carson answered “Well, as you, I'm sure, know, there are a lot of people on that watchlist and they have no idea why they're on that list and they've been trying to get their names off of it and no one will give them information. You know, I am a big supporter of the Second Amendment, and I don't want to deprive people unnecessarily of that.”
Donald Trump: Asked by George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s “This Week” about whether someone on a terror watch list should be allowed to buy a gun, Trump answered: “If somebody is on a watch list and an enemy of state and we know it's an enemy of state, I would keep them away, absolutely.”
- By a 2-1 margin, Americans support Obama's new executive actions on guns: 67 to 32.
- Between 2004 and 2014, individuals on terror watch lists tried to purchase guns or explosives 2,233 times. Of those attempts, 2,043, an astounding 91% were approved.
- Individuals on the consolidated terrorist watch list who sought to purchase a weapon in 2013 and 2014 cleared the background check in 455 out of 486 attempts.
- In 2015, there were more days with a mass shooting than days without a mass shooting.
- Since Sandy Hook, an American kid has died by a gun every other day.