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Legislative Alert

IACP Supports Legislation to Curb Terrorist Access to Firearms

Meredith Mays Ward, Legislative Representative, IACP

he IACP recently declared its support for H.R. 2159, the Denying Firearms and Explosives to Dangerous Terrorists Act. Under current law, an individual wishing to purchase a firearm must undergo a background check, having his or her name run through the National Instant Background Check System. Certain individuals—such as those convicted of a felony or those listed on the FBI’s Violent Gang List—cannot legally purchase firearms. H.R. 2159 would properly prohibit those who are on the terror watch list from purchasing firearms.

The legislation also gives the Attorney General the discretion to deny any firearms license of an individual who is suspected to be involved in terrorist activity, and, at the same time, it gives guidelines for individuals wanting to challenge a decision by the Attorney General.

The IACP has long advocated for laws that prevent individuals who pose a danger to society or themselves from purchasing firearms and proudly supports H.R. 2159.

IACP Supports Gun Show Background Check Act

The IACP recently announced support for S. 843, the Gun Show Background Check Act.

The Federal Gun Control Act of 1968 stipulates that individuals “engaged in the business” of selling firearms must possess a Federal Firearms License (FFL). Holders of FFLs are required to conduct background checks and maintain a record of all their firearm sales. Certain gun sales and transfers between private individuals, however, are exempt from this requirement.

There are approximately 5,200 traditional gun shows held annually across the United States, with vendors who are Federal Firearms Licensees (FFLs) and non-licensed firearms sellers. Those who would fail a background check can access firearms through these non-licensed sources. Unlike an FFL, the seller is not required to conduct a background check to determine whether the purchaser is prohibited from purchasing and possessing a gun. If all gun sales proceed through an FFL, a single, consistent system for conducting gun sales, including background checks, will be established.

In a letter to Congress, IACP President Michael J. Carroll wrote, “the laws we have in place to ensure gun purchasers go through FFLs are undermined by oversights in the law that allow individuals prohibited from owning firearms to obtain weapons at events such as gun shows without undergoing a background check. The IACP calls on Congress to act swiftly to pass S. 843 to close these loopholes and preserve the effectiveness of the laws in place.”

S. 843 is currently being considered in the Senate Committee on the Judiciary.

IACP Calls for RISS Funding

The IACP recently called for sustained funding for the Regional Information Sharing Systems (RISS) at a funding level of a minimum of $45 million in FY 2011, even though funding is authorized at $50 million (according to the USA Patriot Act), and program demands indicate a need for $60 million.

The IACP wholeheartedly endorses the RISS program and is committed to its continuing success. RISS centers are a unique combination of federal, state, local, and tribal cooperation, providing services to law enforcement agencies across the country.

Many IACP members have joined RISS and avail themselves of RISS’s service on a regular basis. Any reduction of services will greatly impair members’ ability to secure information that is vital to the apprehension of known drug traffickers and other criminals. That is why the IACP wholeheartedly calls for a sufficient level of funding for RISS.

For more information on the RISS program, please visit

House Committee Passes International Megan’s Law

The House Foreign Affairs Committee recently approved H.R. 5138, the International Megan’s Law of 2010. The legislation would require convicted sex offenders to report upcoming international travel at least 30 days before leaving the United States, would establish an international network for sex offender travel notification, and would request foreign governments to notify the United States when a known child sex offender is seeking to enter the United States.

According to the legislation, the law is aimed at curbing the growing “sex tourism” industry and prevents sexual predators from harming children outside of the United States. The bill requires sex offenders to register and carries a maximum penalty of up to 10 years in prison. The State Department would also be given the authority to limit passport privileges of those who are deemed “high risk” to commit a sex crime.

The IACP has created numerous information and training tools on human trafficking and sex offender management, and they can be found on the IACP website,

For more information on any of the topics discussed here, please contact Meredith Mays Ward, Legislative Representative, at ■

Please cite as:

Meredith Mays Ward, "Legislative Alert: IACP Supports Legislation to Curb Terrorist Access to Firearms," The Police Chief 77 (June 2010): 8, (insert access date).



From The Police Chief, vol. LXXVII, no. 6, June 2010. Copyright held by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, 515 North Washington Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 USA.

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