Raw Video: Senator Bill Nelson speaks to SBG on proposed firearm legislation
Senator Bill Nelson (D-Florida) spoke briefly to Sinclair Broadcast Group's national correspondent on his bill to send alerts to the FBI if someone formerly on the terror watchlist buys a gun.
The information would go to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). Gun shop owners use the NCIS database to run background checks on gun buyers.
Q. So you're introducing legislation to, basically, bar people who've been investigated by the FBI from buying a firearm. Can you talk to me a little bit about that?
Sen. Nelson: "This shooter had been investigated twice. Was on a terrorist watch list, twice, a couple of years ago. He goes and purchases a gun. There is no - because those cases were closed - there's no notification to the FBI. This legislation, if you've been on a terrorist watch list in the past, it wouldn't in any way prevent the purchase of the gun, but it would notify the FBI, so that if they wanted to contact him after the fact of the purchase - find out what's going on, they'd have that notification, that heads up - that would've prevented this tragedy."
Q. Are you worried about - some people are calling out the FBI, saying they dropped the ball on this investigation by closing the investigation. Are you worried about the resources? Do you think they dropped the ball?
Sen. Nelson: "I think the FBI did its job. They thought - and closed the case - because they thought he had made up a lot of the stuff that he was talking about. It seems, in hindsight, that there was a lingering problem, but they had no prosecutable evidence, so they closed the case. But because there was the lingering problem, if they had gotten that alert that he had been on the terrorist watch list, when he went out and bought those assault weapons that would have prevented this tragedy. Now, in this case up here, of course, you're not going to get anything past if the NRA doesn't give its 'OK'. I can't imagine the NRA blocking this legislation because it doesn't block the purchase of the gun. What it's trying to do is head off the terrible purpose for which that assault weapon was purchased."
Q. Some people are saying that the FBI needs more money. Do you think Congress needs to give them more resources? Because they get thousands of these tips and its just not possible for them to keep following up when they get a tip like the ones they got about the shooter in Florida.
Sen. Nelson: "The short answer is yes."