New York City Police Commissioner William Bratton scolded Congress Tuesday on a national television news program for blocking a no-fly, no-buy gun bill last year.
“Shame on them, shame on them that they are totally beholden,” Bratton said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “They prostitute themselves in front of the NRA. They put the interest of their own political careers and that of the NRA ahead of the American people.”
Bratton was responding to a question about Republicans in Congress in December blocking a proposed bill that would have prohibited anyone on a federal no-fly list from purchasing firearms.
The mass shooting at an Orlando nightclub Sunday has reignited debate over such legislation that would prevent those on the federal terrorist no-fly list from purchasing firearms.
After a couple inspired by the Islamic State group killed 14 people in San Bernardino, California, in December, Democrats on Capitol Hill pushed bipartisan legislation that would prohibit anyone on the no-fly list from purchasing firearms. The measure was introduced by Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford) and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.).
Republicans blocked the bill, claiming those on no-fly lists are merely under suspicion and haven’t been accused or convicted of crime.
Alleged Orlando gunman Omar Mateen, who stormed the Pulse nightclub and opened fire with an assault rifle, had twice been under federal investigation for possible ties to terrorism. He was eventually removed from the FBI watch list after it was determined he had broken no laws, according to published reports.
Bratton scoffed at the “the idea that if you’re on a terrorist watch list you can go buy a gun, that if you’re on a no-fly list you can go buy a gun,” strongly suggesting that those under investigation by the FBI for potential terrorist activity should be precluded from buying guns.
“With this Congress I would not hold my breath waiting for any meaningful action,” Bratton said.