Despite recent efforts to beef up security in the United States, those most likely to use weapons against Americans are not even on background checklists at local gun dealers.

While nine out of 10 gun purchases are now subject to instant FBI criminal checks to filter out convicted felons, fugitives and a handful of others, the State Department’s list of known foreign terrorists – used by airport security personnel and border patrols – is not included in the database used by dealers to check a buyer’s eligibility, reports CBS News.

Even the names of suspected al-Qaida cell members in the U.S. would not show up in a background check by a gun store.

More than 20 months after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, a government report prepared by the Congressional Research Service found both international and domestic terrorists could take advantage of the background-check loophole to purchase weapons ranging from rifles to hundreds of pounds of explosive powder.

”As long as they have evaded detection by law enforcement authorities and are not identified as prohibited persons, they could purchase firearms from licensed dealers,” the report said. ”They could also purchase firearms at gun shows from either licensed or
unlicensed persons.”

”Why on earth would we want to shield the terrorists from being identified?” asks Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J. during an interview with CBS.

The report was requested by Lautenberg, who has introduced legislation to prolong background checks and waiting periods for firearm purchases during times of heightened terror alert.

Al-Qaida has apparently taken notice of the background-check procedure for gun purchases. According to Lautenberg, a training manual for the terror network was found in Afghanistan in which it’s suggested weapons are cheap and easily available in the U.S.

The CRS report noted that a convicted felon and member of the Lebanon-based terrorist group Hezbollah was able to purchase firearms at Michigan gun shows in the months after Sept. 11. The man was later convicted of conspiring to smuggle the arms

Many gun dealers and the National Rifle Association argue there are enough checks in place already. Firearm advocates say the solution lies in the enforcement of current laws, not new

”This is a continuation of the shameless tradition of gun-ban politicians embracing tragedy to push their agenda,” Andrew Arulanandam, a spokesman for the National Rifle Association, told the Newark Star-Ledger.

However, gun dealer Don Davis supports more checks.

”My God, we do records all day. That one more record of checking out one more guy is certainly not going to make any difference if you love this country. And brother, I love this country,” Davis told CBS.

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