As Marco Rubio faces a tough battle for his Senate seat in Florida, he introduces a new gun bill aimed at limiting terrorist access to guns.

The legislation, according to Rubio‘s Senate website, “builds on some of the best ideas that have been proposed, and improves them in ways that I hope will make a bipartisan solution more likely.”

Rubio’s Terror Intelligence Improvement Act would:

  • Consolidate all federal terrorism investigation intelligence under the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), strengthening the FBI’s capabilities and helping ensure dangerous individuals do not fall through the cracks.
  • Require the FBI Director and the Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) be immediately notified of any request to transfer a firearm to an individual who was the subject of a federal terrorism investigation within the last 10 years.
  • When an individual who was the subject of a federal terrorism investigation within the last 10 years tries to obtain a firearm, allow the U.S. Attorney General to delay the purchase or transfer for up to three business days and file an emergency petition in court to stop it. If the court finds probable cause that the individual is connected to terrorism, the Attorney General may arrest the individual.
  • Protect the due process rights of law-abiding Americans by ensuring emergency petitions filed by the Attorney General are only granted if the transferee receives notice of the hearing and has the opportunity to participate with legal counsel. If the court denies the Attorney General’s petition, the federal government is responsible for all reasonable costs and attorney fees.
  • Require the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community (IC IG) to conduct an audit of the federal government’s terrorism screening and watch list procedures, and identify any problems in the processes of adding or removing individuals from the system. Based on the audit, the IC IG must then submit a classified report to the Senate and House Intelligence Committees with recommendations for improving the system.

There’s a lot of big government here, not only will it be costly to bulk up the FBI for its new role, but that new role will necessarily mean a consolidation of power and discretion.  Given the changes in approach to terrorism under Obama, it’s also worrying that Rubio proposes the “has been the subject of federal terrorism investigation in the last ten years.”

Considering that the federal government has scrubbed all reference to Islam and jihad and the 2009 DHS report on the “domestic terrorist threat” including returning vets and people who are pro-life or pro-Tenth Amendment, it’s hard to dance a jig of joy about that part of Rubio’s proposed legislation.  However, Rubio is careful to include the need to find “probable cause,” which one would imagine would be more substantial proof of potential terrorist activity than some grandma in Dubuque who opposes illegal immigration.

That said, he does address very real concerns raised by calls for anyone on an airplane “no fly list” to be denied due process and their Second Amendment rights, and puts the burden of proof of terrorist intent on the judiciary and law enforcement . . . where it belongs.

Rubio’s Senate opponent, Patrick Murphy (D-FL), calls the bill a “toothless” sham.”

The Orlando Sentinel reports:

But the campaign of Democratic U.S. Senate opponent, U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, called it “a sham bill” that would put an “unworkable” burden of proof on law enforcement in order to stop a gun purchase.

. . . . Murphy campaign spokesman Joshua Karp called the bill “toothless”, saying that it makes a key change from Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins’ bill in saying the Attorney General can “delay” a purchase instead of “deny.”

“Rubio’s sham legislation is backwards,” Karp said. “The burden is on the Attorney General to prove in court that each individual flagged is intending to commit a crime.”

Karp said that someone who met that standard  would likely have been  already arrested or detained.

“Oh, and they only have three days to meet this standard of proof or else the weapon purchase goes forward,” he continued. “Rubio would give a suspected terrorist a weapon in 72 hours if the Justice Department couldn’t get a court to intervene.”

Murphy put out a statement saying, “Floridians won’t be fooled by Marco Rubio’s transparent attempt to paper over his relentless opposition to legislation that prevents gun violence.”

Apparently, Murphy isn’t too interested in due process when it comes to denying people their Second Amendment rights.

In July, the NRA endorsed Rubio for Senate.