It probably would surprise most Americans to know that the federal government has almost no authority to block firearm sales to international or domestic terror suspects.
The nation's disgracefully weak gun control laws are of little concern to the U.S. Senate, which recently rejected the most basic safety measures, including comprehensive background checks.
Under current laws, having their name on a federal terror-watch list does not prohibit people from buying guns -- as long as they don't have a criminal or mental-health record. Tamerlan Tsarnaev, one of the Boston bombing suspects, was listed on a terror-watch list.
Between 2004 and 2010, more than 1,000 people on terror-watch lists were able to buy guns or explosives after a background check, the Government Accountability Office reported. It's illogical that a person on a watch list is too dangerous to board an airplane but OK to buy an assault-style rifle.
Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., has introduced a bill that would give the Department of Justice authority to block sales of guns and explosives to terror suspects. Last week the Mayors Against Illegal Guns organization worked on Capitol Hill to build support for the plan.
Incredibly, but not surprisingly, the National Rifle Association has opposed the measures, even though polls show most gun owners support them.
It's time to stop the NRA from thwarting the will of the American people -- again -- and undermining the security interests of the nation.