Amendments to S.2837 Filed By Senators Cornyn and Grassley

June 17, 2016

Cornyn Amendment (S.Amdt.4749):

  • Senator Cornyn’s proposal purports to address the terror gap (which currently allows suspected terrorists, including those on terror watch lists, to legally buy guns). But this bill is unworkable from a law enforcement perspective. The standard it sets out will make it nearly impossible for the FBI to block sales to suspected terrorists.
  • Under this proposal, suspected terrorists would continue to be able to buy guns—unless law enforcement could show in court that the suspect will actually commit an act of terrorism (or that he has already committed or conspired to commit such as act).
  • Furthermore, the government would have only three days to bring the suspected terrorist to court and prove this unworkable standard—or else the FBI must let the gun sale proceed.
  • The Cornyn proposal would actually make it more difficult to block a gun sale to a suspected terrorist than it currently is to indict one (because law enforcement can indict based on probable cause that the person has provided material support to terrorism).
  • While Feinstein’s legislation could have stopped the Orlando shooter from buying guns, Senator Cornyn’s NRA-backed proposal is just a talking point, not an effective counterterrorism measure.

Grassley Amendment (S.Amdt.4751):

  • Senator Grassley’s amendment would repeal longstanding law and make it legal for people
    with severe mental illness to buy guns.
  • This proposal would:
    • allow people who have been involuntarily committed due to severe mental illness buy a gun immediately after leaving a psychiatric hospital;
    • enable veterans who suffer from severe mental illness, and who are at risk of suicide,
      to legally buy guns; and
    • invalidate hundreds of thousands of mental health records already in the background check system.
  • Senator Murphy’s amendment would keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people by requiring criminal background checks on all gun sales. Meanwhile, Senator Grassley’s proposal leaves the background check loophole wide open and actually makes it easier for people with severe mental illness to buy guns.