Sen. Durbin Urges Illinois Governor and State Leaders to Close ‘Terrorist Gun Loophole’

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U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) has sent a letter to Gov. Bruce Rauner (R-IL) urging him to work with state lawmakers to close what he calls a ‘dangerous loophole’ which he says could potentially allow terrorists to purchase guns in Illinois.

“The horrific terror attacks in Paris, Colorado Springs, and San Bernardino,” Durbin wrote, “have given new urgency to the need to close dangerous loopholes in our laws that allow would-be terrorists to buy guns.”

The letter comes after Connecticut’s Governor signed new legislation prohibited those on federal watch lists from buying guns in his state.  Durbin blamed Congressional Republicans for blocking what he calls ‘common sense anti-terror measures’ at the federal level. 

Republican candidates for President have rejected the idea because they say those lists contain so many ‘false positive’ names and would have little impact on terrorists’ ability to get weapons.

The full text of his letter is below:

December 11, 2015

The Honorable Bruce Rauner
Office of the Governor
207 State House
Springfield, IL 62706

Dear Governor Rauner,

The recent attacks in Paris, Colorado Springs and San Bernardino have highlighted the vulnerability of our communities to acts of terror perpetrated with firearms.  These mass killings have given new urgency to the need to close dangerous loopholes in our laws that allow known or suspected terrorists to buy guns.  I am working to pass legislation to close this “terror gap” on a federal level, but prompt action should also be taken in Illinois to prevent known or suspected terrorists from using a FOID (Firearm Owner’s Identification) card to buy guns.  I urge you to do all within your power to close the “terror gap” on the state level in Illinois.

Gun owners and non-gun owners alike agree that keeping guns out of the hands of known and suspected terrorists is common sense.  This can also be done consistent with the U.S. and Illinois Constitutions and our commitment to due process.  Federal “terror gap” legislation contains significant procedural protections to ensure that any person mistakenly included on a prohibited gun buyer list can challenge that listing both administratively and in court and be removed from the list.  With these protections in place, a person mistakenly included on the list would only experience the temporary inconvenience of a delay in buying a gun while it is confirmed that the person is not involved in terrorist activity.  Similar protections can be applied on the state level.   

You and I agree on the need to keep Illinoisans safe from acts of terror, and I hope we can work to swiftly close the “terror gap” on both the state and federal levels.  Addressing this vulnerability will make our communities safer. 

Thank you for your attention to this matter. 


United States Senator

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