Durbin Calls on Gov. Rauner to Take State Action to Close Loophole That Allows Suspected Terrorists to Buy Guns

SPRINGFIELD—U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today sent a letter calling on Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner to take action at the state level to close a dangerous loophole in law that allows suspected terrorists to purchase guns in Illinois:


“The horrific terror attacks in Paris, Colorado Springs, and San Bernardino have given new urgency to the need to close dangerous loopholes in our laws that allow would-be terrorists to buy guns. The highest priority for both the Governor and I is to keep Illinoisans safe, but Republicans in Congress continue to block even the most common sense anti-terror measures. Gun owners and non-gun owners alike can agree that keeping guns out of the hands of suspected terrorists is the right thing to do. I call on Governor Rauner to work with our state legislature to close this loophole.


America’s response to these terror attacks should be to take the fight to ISIS abroad and strengthen our national security at home, not go after the children and families fleeing ISIS terrorism themselves. I won’t rest until we bring some sanity back to our federal gun laws, but Governor Rauner is in a position to take swift action to protect lives in our state. I hope he will.”


Yesterday, Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy announced that would sign a first-in-the-nation executive order, pending federal approval, to ban those on government watch lists from buying guns in his state.


Full text of Durbin’s letter to Governor Rauner:


December 11, 2015


The Honorable Bruce Rauner

Office of the Governor

207 State House

Springfield, IL 62706


Dear Governor Rauner,


The recent attacks in Paris, Colorado Springs and San Bernardino have highlighted the vulnerability of our communities to acts of terror perpetrated with firearms.  These mass killings have given new urgency to the need to close dangerous loopholes in our laws that allow known or suspected terrorists to buy guns.  I am working to pass legislation to close this “terror gap” on a federal level, but prompt action should also be taken in Illinois to prevent known or suspected terrorists from using a FOID (Firearm Owner’s Identification) card to buy guns.  I urge you to do all within your power to close the “terror gap” on the state level in Illinois.


Gun owners and non-gun owners alike agree that keeping guns out of the hands of known and suspected terrorists is common sense.  This can also be done consistent with the U.S. and Illinois Constitutions and our commitment to due process.  Federal “terror gap” legislation contains significant procedural protections to ensure that any person mistakenly included on a prohibited gun buyer list can challenge that listing both administratively and in court and be removed from the list.  With these protections in place, a person mistakenly included on the list would only experience the temporary inconvenience of a delay in buying a gun while it is confirmed that the person is not involved in terrorist activity.  Similar protections can be applied on the state level.   


You and I agree on the need to keep Illinoisans safe from acts of terror, and I hope we can work to swiftly close the “terror gap” on both the state and federal levels.  Addressing this vulnerability will make our communities safer. 


Thank you for your attention to this matter. 





United States Senator