Three individuals on the US government’s terrorist watch list that forbids suspects from flying were able to go ahead with a federal background check to buy explosives under rules that the Republican party refused to overturn in the wake of the San Bernardino attack.
Latest government figures reveal that three names on the watch list of people suspected of assisting or engaging in terrorism applied for explosives checks between 2004 and 2014 through the national instant background check system (NICS). In all three instances, the individuals were allowed to go ahead with the checks.
On Thursday night, a day after the San Bernardino attacks in which 14 people were killed, the Democratic US senator Dianne Feinstein brought an amendment that would have put an end to a regulation that has become a symbol of America’s lax gun laws and Republican intransigence towards tightening them up. It would have banned known or suspected terrorists from buying guns or explosives, in the same way as they are prohibited from flying.
On Friday, the FBI confirmed that it was investigating the San Bernardino attack as an “act of terrorism”. Earlier in the day, it was reported that one of the two shooters, Tashfeen Malik, pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group.