WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA), a retired Lieutenant Colonel in the Iowa Army National Guard and member of the Senate committees on Armed Services, and Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, voted again today to keep weapons out of the hands of terrorists and called for immediate action to defeat and destroy ISIS.

Senator Ernst supported the Johnson Amendment, which would prevent suspected terrorists from obtaining a gun for up to 23 business days, during which time the FBI is able to investigate the individual, confirm or rule out the identity and suspected nexus to terrorism of the individual, and file an emergency petition in court to prevent the gun transfer. If the court grants the petition, the individual is provided an opportunity to appeal.

This process ensures that law-abiding Americans’ Second Amendment and constitutional due process rights are appropriately protected. This is particularly important because of the widely reported flaws with the numerous terrorist watch lists – including the no-fly list – kept by the U.S. Government that may wrongfully implicate innocent American citizens. For example, a 2007 report by the Department of Justice (DOJ) Office of Inspector General (OIG) concluded that roughly 38% of records tested “continued to contain errors or inconsistencies that were not identified through the Terrorist Screening Center’s quality assurance efforts.”

“We cannot sit back and watch repeated terrorist attacks here at home and around the globe,” said Senator Ernst. “The FBI Director has made clear that ISIS is present in all 50 states.”

Ernst continued, “I have voted numerous times in support of measures that prohibit terrorists’ ability to obtain a gun. However, the multiple terrorist watch lists kept by the government are flawed, which is why we must also make certain that law-abiding Americans’ Second Amendment and constitutional due process rights are protected.

“Unfortunately, laws alone will not stop terrorists from pledging allegiance to radical Islamic groups and hurting Americans which is why we must act immediately to improve our efforts to counter violent extremism, defeat ISIS, and end the humanitarian crisis affecting the region and the world.”


  • The Washington Post "The list is itself almost necessarily a slippery slope.”:  “The San Bernardino attack also demonstrated the risk of over-inclusion. At least one news outlet confused the male shooter -- Syed Rizwan Farook -- with his brother, Syed Raheel Farook. ‘They have the same name except for the middle name,’ Sparapani pointed out, meaning that including a ‘Syed Farook’ on the list might block either from flying. (The shooter's brother is a decorated Navy veteran.) There's also the challenge of converting Arabic names into English writing. Consider the former leader of Libya, Muammar Gaddafi. Or Qaddafi. Or Gadhafi. Do you put all three names on the list? Get the letters wrong, and some people will be banned who shouldn't be...The list is itself almost necessarily a slippery slope."
  • “ISIS Present In All 50 States, FBI Director Says” (ABC7, February 25, 2015)
  • Senator Ernst Voted For Senator Grassley’s Amendment To Improve the National Instant Criminal Background Check System Without Unlawfully Infringing On Law-Abiding U.S. Citizen’s Second Amendment Rights:

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