Republican Sen. Marco Rubio reintroduced a bill last week that threatens to prevent innocent people from obtaining guns and strengthen the federal government’s firearm overreach.
Rubio’s office markets the “Terror Intelligence Improvement Act” as granting law enforcement access and extra authority over “suspected terrorists while safeguarding law-abiding citizens’ Second Amendment and due process rights” through consolidation of information about potentially “dangerous individuals.” The proposed legislation, however, actually enables the federal government to delay or limit an American citizen’s attempted firearm purchase if they were the subject of a federal terrorism investigation dating back 10 years.
“After the terrorist attack at Pulse nightclub, I made a promise to improve our laws to make it more difficult for evil people to get ahold of guns,” Rubio said. “This bill is a common-sense measure that would help ensure criminals, terrorists, and others seeking to take innocent lives are not able to acquire firearms, while also protecting the due process and Second Amendment rights of innocent, law-abiding Americans.”
Individuals, the legislation states, do not have to be guilty for the FBI director and the Joint Terrorism Task Force to be alerted when they attempt to purchase or receive a transferred firearm. The U.S. attorney general is also notified and retains the power to stall the process for up to 10 business days and file an emergency petition to halt the gun procedure until a court can rule on it as long as the individual is notified. The transfer or purchase can then be completely shut down and the person arrested if a court finds “probable cause” suggesting the individual was or even may be potentially involved in terrorism.
This subjective operation and overreach by the federal government, Rubio’s office reassured the public, is warranted given terrorist shootings such as the one at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando and will be audited by the inspector general of the Intelligence Community, who will monitor the federal government’s terrorism screening and watch list additions and removals. The Senate and House Intelligence Committees will also be granted oversight information and recommendations “for improving the system.”
Rubio unsuccessfully tried to pass this legislation in previous legislative terms dating back to 2016, but the bill ultimately failed to gain traction with his Republican and Democratic colleagues. Despite his professed loyalty to the Republican platform, previously advocating against government overreach, Rubio has shifted his position on gun control numerous times, often receiving backlash from other Republicans.
The Republican senator also recently introduced another gun control bill seeking to “provide family members of an individual who they fear is a danger to himself, herself, or others, or law enforcement, with new tools to prevent gun violence.” The legislation currently has three co-sponsors, Democratic Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island, Independent Sen. Angus King of Maine, and Republican Sen. Rick Scott of Florida.