August 21, 2017 2 min read

As recently as 20 years ago, flying on commercial airlines was a relatively simple activity, and most people breezed through security and onto their flight as long as they followed the basic TSA guidelines. Since 9/11, however, the agencies have tightened security, and even frequent fliers sometimes get hung up. In addition, security systems across all areas of law enforcement, including TSA and immigration, are closely connected. Most people know about the terrorist watch list, but how is it connected to background checks, and how does it affect gun sales?

What is the Terrorist Watch List?

The government maintains something known as the Terrorist Screening Database where different law enforcement agencies, such as the FBI, can track and monitor people who they know are or those who they suspect may be terrorists. In 2016, approximately 1 million people were being tracked. Of those, about 81,000 were also on the no fly list. This list includes people of all nationalities, and only a small percentage of these people were U.S. citizens.

How It Relates to Gun Sales

When you go to purchase a gun, the National Instant Criminal Background Check System processes your information, revealing any criminal records or prohibited activity. How this information is applied in your case depends on the laws that govern firearm sales in your state. Still, regardless of where you live, the NICS connects with the terrorist watch list, cross checking your application against both systems to determine whether you qualify to buy a gun. Being on the list does not mean you are a terrorist or that you won't be able to purchase a gun. Many people have been mistakenly placed on the no fly list, and some people are only monitored because they have potentially questionable associates.

Can I Still Purchase a Gun?

Most people purchasing guns will have to submit to background checks as federal laws require every licensed gun dealer to run them on each buyer. If your name appears on the no fly or watch list, you are not automatically disqualified from buying a weapon. Instead, you will probably be carefully scrutinized to see if you have any other factors in your personal history that prohibit gun ownership. If you do not have other prohibitions, the sale will be approved. While there have been laws proposed that would disallow anyone on these lists from buying a firearm, none of these legislative measures have passed as of 2017, and there must be another reason to deny an application.

It can be concerning to realize you have been flagged as a potential terrorist. In many instances, this is a mistake, and it won't affect your daily life. You can probably still buy a firearm if the Terrorist Screening Database has your records. At Concealment Express, we support all legal gun ownership and only work with reputable gun owners who understand all state and federal laws. We make the best gun holsters on the market and are happy to help you find the best gun holsters for your needs.


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Terrorist Watch List: Background Checks & Gun Sales