IME Endorses Legislation to Close the Terror Gap Loophole
IME endorsed S. 792 legislation introduced by Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-NJ, to close a gap in its authority to vet employees with access to explosives. Currently, ATF does not have authority to deny a license or permit if employees are found to be on the Terrorist Screening Database (TSDB). This gap is one of the reasons that DHS will not accept ATF vetting as equivalent to vetting programs it administers. The result is duplicative vetting requirements for those employees working for licensees or permittees. IME supports harmonizing security-based vetting standards so programs requiring vetting would be reciprocally recognized. IME also recommends that the legislation give ATF authority to "perpetually" vet names against the TSDB as circumstances require. The legislation also eliminates the 50 pound exemption for black powder that can be purchased in hobby and sports outlets. According to the ATF, black and smokeless powders are used in a third of bombings and attempted bombings in the United States. We think it is reasonable that purchasers of black powder obtain a permit and be vetted by the ATF.