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Congressman Tim Ryan

Representing the 13th District of Ohio

Congressman Ryan Calls for Vote to Take Guns Out of the Hands of Suspected Terrorists

December 8, 2015
Press Release

Washington, DC – Congressman Tim Ryan today signed Congressman Mike Thompson’s discharge petition on the Denying Firearms and Explosives to Dangerous Terrorist Act, introduced by Congressman Peter King (R-NY) – a discharge petition is a legislation procedure that can force a vote on legislation once it has an absolute majority (218 signatures):

"Since Paris, and now San Bernadino, we continue to diligently reevaluate each and every aspect of our government that can possibly provide an opening for terrorists who want to bring fear and death to our country. As the global community mourns and recovers from these terrible tragedies, we have an obligation to cast aside our political party and interest group pressure. And do the right thing.  

“The fact is that any suspected terrorist on the FBI terror watch list is able to purchase firearms in the United States.  This same person is not allowed on an airplane, but can buy a gun.  And House Republican leadership, just today, repeatedly voted against closing this loophole to improve the safety of our communities.  In what world is this rational?  That is a very extreme position regardless of which political party you identify with and it provides a huge opportunity for terrorists to easily get a gun. 

“I sit on the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, where I get classified briefings about ongoing terrorist threats around the world and these threats are real. We need to set aside the politics and do what is best for the American people.  This normal Washington food fight will not keep our people safe.  It's time for members to recognize the severity of this threat and do what is right regardless of who may be upset by their decision,” said Congressman Ryan.

Congressman Ryan also voted in favor of the bipartisan, White House supported, Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorism Travel Prevention Act (H.R. 158). This legislation was designed to address vulnerabilities in the current Visa Waiver Program (VWP), which allows nationals from 38 countries (30 European) to enter the United States for business or pleasure for up to 90 days without first obtaining a visa from a U.S. embassy.

“As an elected official and member of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, it is my highest responsibility to ensure the safety and security of the American people. I take this responsibility seriously, and that is why I voted to strengthen our border to ensure that there are no gaps in our security,” said Congressman Ryan.

This legislation:

  • Requires travelers from VWP  countries to have an electronic passport – which are fraud resistant and contains relevant biographic and biometric information.
  • Requires VWP countries to report lost or stolen passports to the U.S. within 24 hours.
  • Requires nationals of VWP countries who have traveled to Iraq, Syria, designated state sponsors of terrorism (Iran and Sudan), or other “countries or areas of concern” ineligible to travel to the U.S. under the VWP – instead they will be required to obtain a visa as, as other visitors from non-VWP countries have to do, including: an in-person interview with U.S. Department of State Consular official and undergo more extensive security screening, including fingerprint security screening.
  • Requires the Secretary of Homeland Security and Director of National Intelligence to designate any other “countries or areas of concern” within 60 days.
  • Improves the current Electronic System for Travel Authorization.
  • Requires the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to submit a report to Congress that asses the threat to U.S. national security of each country in the Visa Waiver Program.
  • Requires DHS to submit an annual report to Congress detailing the number of individuals in VWP countries denied admission to the U.S. as a visitor or whose eligibility is revoked, as well as the number denied for being considered a national security threat.

You can find more information on H.R. 158 here: https://homeland.house.gov/visa-waiver-program/