3 Florida Representatives Introduce Pensacola Shooting Loophole Fix

Dec 19, 2019

Jacksonville area Rep. John Rutherford (R-FL 4), along with Rep. Charlie Crist (D-FL 13) and Rep. Val B. Demings (D-FL 10), has introduced the Foreign National Firearms Background Check Enhancement Act.

The legislation would prohibit foreign nationals from purchasing a firearm in the U.S., unless that individual receives a waiver from the U.S. Attorney General certifying that, both here and abroad, he or she meets the same background check standards as a U.S. citizen.

“Following the tragedy at Naval Air Station Pensacola, it is clear that Congress must act to close a loophole in federal gun laws that allowed a foreign visitor to legally purchase a firearm and kill three Americans,” said Rutherford, adding, “As the former Sheriff of Duval County and a strong supporter of the Second Amendment, I believe that all foreigners seeking to purchase a firearm must be vetted both here in the U.S. and in their country of origin.”

The gunman who killed three people at Naval Air Station Pensacola on Dec. 6 was a Saudi aviation student.

Mohammed Alshamrani, a Saudi national, used the weapon to kill three sailors and wound eight more people before he was killed by a sheriff’s deputy.

“As communities in Florida, Georgia and Alabama mourn the loss of three of our best and brightest young airmen, Congress has a responsibility to step in and close the loophole that made this tragedy possible,” said Crist.

Under current law, non-immigrant visa holders are permitted to purchase a firearm in the event they: 1) Have a hunting license or are present for lawful hunting; 2) Are a foreign law enforcement officer on official duty; or 3) Are an official representative of a foreign government on official duties.

The legislation would end those exceptions, according to Rutherford’s office.

Bill Bortzfield can be reached at bbortzfield@wjct.org, 904-358-6349 or on Twitter at @BortzInJax.