WASHINGTON—House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) issued the following statement after introduction of H.R. 5611, the Homeland Safety and Security Act, by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA):
“While the enemy’s tactics are evolving, the Obama administration’s strategy to defeat radical Islamist extremism is not. We have to step up our game. This counterterrorism legislation provides new tools to protect our homeland, including a provision to prevent terrorists from buying guns. It is a responsible measure that confronts this threat while protecting the rights of law-abiding citizens. I look forward to a debate and vote on the House floor next week.”
BACKGROUND: THE HOMELAND SAFETY AND SECURITY ACT
This is the second counterterrorism package that the House will vote on since the Orlando shooting. On June 16, the House passed H.R. 5471, the Countering Terrorist Radicalization Act.
Read the Homeland Safety and Security Act here, and a summary of its provisions below:
1. Authorizes an office within the Department of Homeland Security to prioritize counter Islamist terrorist radicalization in the U.S. The text of the legislation calls the threat by its true name—radical Islamist terrorism—which is a first.
2. Requires a nationwide exercise to game out the threat of individuals traveling from the U.S. to join a terrorist organization and terrorist infiltration into the United States (by US citizens and foreign nationals)
3. Revokes U.S. passports of individuals who belong to designated foreign terrorist organizations or have aided, abetted, or provided material support to such an organization.
4. Requires that law enforcement be notified if an individual investigated as a known or suspected terrorist in the last five years attempts to purchase a gun:
- For individuals being investigated as a known or suspected terrorist, authorizes the Attorney General to delay the transfer of the firearm or explosive for up to three business days and to file an emergency petition in a court of competent jurisdiction to prevent the transfer of the firearm or explosive. The transferee must receive actual notice of the hearing and be provided with an opportunity to participate with counsel.
- The emergency petition shall be granted if the court finds that there is probable cause to believe that the transferee will commit an act of terrorism. If there is probable cause to believe that the person has already committed, conspired to commit, or attempted to commit an act of terrorism, the individual may be arrested or detained in accordance with current law.
- If the petition is denied, the government shall be responsible for all reasonable costs and attorneys' fees.