Earlier today, I spoke with CNN’s Alisyn Camerota about the new bipartisan gun bill Sen. Susan Collins and I recently introduced to prevent anyone who is on the No-Fly List from buying a gun. To me, it’s common sense — if we don’t let someone on a plane because the FBI thinks they may have ties to terrorism, then we shouldn’t let that person buy a gun.
Another provision included in the bill is one I introduced last week to ensure that the FBI is notified if someone who was once on the terrorist watch list purchases a gun.
We’re not saying: don’t sell guns to someone just because they were investigated. But having a system in place that alerts the FBI if someone they once investigated is suddenly trying to purchase multiple assault weapons is just common sense.
Sadly, if we had such a system in place before the shooting in Orlando, it could have been prevented.
The FBI previously investigated the gunman responsible for the attack in Orlando at least three times prior to the shooting and even placed him on the terrorist watch list in 2013 and 2014.
But because the FBI closed the case as inconclusive, the shooter was taken off the watch list. So when he walked into a gun store in Port St. Lucie, Florida to purchase two firearms — including an AR-15-style assault rifle — which he then used in the attack, the FBI was never notified.
As FBI Director James Comey told reporters the day after the shooting, “once an investigation is closed there is then no notification of any sort that is triggered by that person then attempting to purchase a firearm when the cases were closed as inconclusive.”
That’s something that has to change. We owe it to the people of Orlando and the nation. And that’s what I said on CNN earlier today.
U.S. Senator Bill Nelson