Home / News / The new “gun show loophole”: the “terrorism gap”

The new “gun show loophole”: the “terrorism gap”

In Everytown’s opening salvo against the NRA, they spend a page coining a new term and then drum up a bunch of fear about it:

The FBI currently has no authority to block firearm sales to individuals on the country’s terrorist watch lists — so someone deemed too dangerous to board a plane is allowed to buy guns under federal law.

Gun owners, including NRA members, overwhelmingly support proposals to close this “terror gap:” a 2012 survey by Republican pollster Frank Luntz found that 76 percent of gun owners, including 71 percent of NRA members, support prohibiting people on terror watch lists from purchasing guns.

The problems with this are, of course, manifest. Firstly, owning a gun and the right to self-defense are natural, human rights enumerated in the Constitution. Flying on an airplane is not.

Second, the idea of being stripped of my rights for being placed on a watch list based on reasonable suspicion, instead of convicted beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law scares me, and it should scare you too. Most people only know they are on a watch list when they get repeatedly “selected” for extra searching at the airport. I wonder how that would play out with buying a gun.

Everytown doesn’t seem to be throwing their weight behind making this a new catchphrase just yet, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we start hearing more and more about the “terror gap” (a rhetorical flourish to cast a lack of regulation as a shortcoming of the law) in the coming months.

About Ben

Blog contributor. Active in IDPA and USPSA, and he won't flinch if you call him a rules lawyer. Ben is a beard wearing, bacon eating, whiskey drinking, motorcycle riding, coder.


  1. Seems like they continue to be all about “gaps” and “loopholes”; they really need to start with the ones between their ears…

  2. It would help if the people on the watch lists were put there by a court and that the people had the opportunity for due process. Otherwise, we could have a total gun ban by executive order, just place everyone on the no-fly list except for the elite.

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