Being on the terrorist watch list may sound like it should be a roadblock when buying a weapon. You’re going to hand an assault rifle to someone who isn’t even allowed to fly in coach? Well, yes—because right now being on the watch list isn’t even a factor when undergoing a background check for gun purchases.
Democrats have tried to bring this into consideration on multiple occasions, including using a parliamentary maneuver to force a vote on the proposal last year. The bill in question was actually authored by Republicans, but Republicans voted to block it from being considered. Democrats got an actual bill on the floor in the Senate, where it was also voted down along party lines.
So you get these results.
An updated report by the Government Accountability Office, released Tuesday by Sen. Dianne Feinstein's office, shows individuals on the terrorist watch list were involved in background checks to purchase firearms 244 times—with 223 of those transactions, or 91%, allowed to proceed.
In total, since 2004, more than 2,000 suspected terrorists have obtained guns.
The bills noted above are just the tip of the iceberg. Democrats made multiple attempts to pass bills that would have blocked or at least slowed purchases being made by those on the list. However, even when a Republican put forward a bill to simply extend the waiting period for those on the watch list, it was voted down by the GOP.