Washington: In the wake of the Boston terror attack, an American Senator has introduced a legislation in the US Congress which requires that sales of explosive powder be subject to a background check.
"It defies common-sense that anyone, even a terrorist, can walk into a store in America and buy explosive powders without a background check or any questions asked. Requiring a background check for an explosives permit is a small price to pay to ensure the safety of our communities," Senator Frank Lautenberg said after introducing the Explosive Materials Background Check Act.
The bill requires a background check to purchase black powder, black powder substitute, or smokeless powder, in any quantity. It provides the Attorney General with the authority to stop the sale of explosives when a background check reveals that the applicant is a known or suspected terrorist and the Attorney General reasonably believes that the person may use the explosives in connection with terrorism.
The legislation makes it illegal to manufacture homemade explosives without a permit; and directs ATF to conduct a study on the tagging of explosives, particularly black powder, black powder substitute, and smokeless powder, which could enable law enforcement to detect, identify, and trace explosives used in crimes.
Lautenberg had introduced a similar proposal in 2003 as part of his "Homeland Security Gun Safety Act of 2003."
Current law allows an individual to purchase as much as 50 pounds of explosive "black powder" without a background check, and also permits an individual to purchase unlimited amounts of dangerous "smokeless powder" and "black powder substitute" without a background check.
Lautenberg`s proposal would change that and require a background check for any purchase of these explosive powders.
These powders can be used as the explosive material in assembling pipe bombs, used in the Columbine school shooting, and pressure cooker bombs, which were used in the recent Boston attack that left three persons dead and nearly 200 wounded.