Presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump will meet with the National Rifle Association to discuss the possibility of barring individuals who are on the FBI's terrorist watch list from purchasing a firearm.
On June 15, Trump announced on social media he would meet with the NRA in the wake of the Orlando shooting massacre, when a 29-year-old man gunned down 49 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, CNN reports.
“I will be meeting with the NRA, who has endorsed me, about not allowing people on the terrorist watch list, or the no fly list, to buy guns,” Trump tweeted.
Chris W. Cox, executive director of the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action, promptly released a statement clarifying that the organization’s stance on prohibiting persons on the FBI’s no fly list from purchasing guns.
“The NRA’s position on this issue has not changed,” Cox stated. “The NRA believes that terrorists should not be allowed to purchase or possess firearms, period. Anyone on a terror watchlist who tries to buy a gun should be thoroughly investigated by the FBI and the sale delayed while the investigation is ongoing.”
The NRA has historically opposed a wholesale prohibition on suspected terrorists from purchasing firearms, maintaining that it would violate the Second Amendment.
Omar Mateen, the gunman who committed the most fatal mass shooting in modern U.S. history, used guns that were purchased legally. He had been investigated by the FBI several times.
While Democratic lawmakers have repeatedly tried to push legislation that would outright ban these persons from legally buying a gun, Republicans have favored legislation authored by Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, which would delay the purchase by three days so the attorney general could seek a permanent ban in court.
That bill, along with any bill that would address the loophole, has failed to get traction in the U.S. House.
Trump has been supportive of barring firearm sales to people on the FBI’s terror watch list since December 2015, following the mass shooting in San Bernardino, California.
Presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton has called for the closing of the terror watch loophole among other forms of gun control.
“It’s essential that we stop terrorists from getting the tools they need for carrying out these attacks,” Clinton said during a speech in Ohio, CBS News reports. The former secretary of state added, “If the FBI is watching you for suspected terrorist links, you shouldn’t be able to buy a gun with no questions asked.”
On June 15, Democratic lawmakers began lobbying hard to bring a bill that would close the loophole to a floor vote. Democratic Rep. Joseph Crowley of New York blasted his Republican colleagues for hesitating.
“They’re so afraid of their own shadow and of the NRA they won’t move on even this, the most minimal of bills,” Crowley said, according to the Morning Consult.
The lawmaker added that he was not impressed by Trump’s announcement that he would meet with the NRA.
“If conman Don can convince the NRA to move forward on this, God bless him, but again it just goes to show the power of the NRA that their presidential nominee will go on hand and knee begging them to give them a pass on this issue,” Crowley concluded.