Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) introduced S. 792 late last month, otherwise known as the Explosive Materials Background Check Act. The bill is a response to the Boston Marathon bombing, during which three bystanders lost their lives and dozens more were injured.
“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,” Lautenberg said in a statement. “Requiring a background check for an explosives permit is a small price to pay to ensure the safety of our communities.”
The bill would:
- Require a background check to purchase black powder, black powder substitute, or smokeless powder, in any quantity;
- Provide 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;
- Make it illegal to manufacture homemade explosives without a permit; and
- Direct 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.
In its current form, the bill will reportedly not affect commercial companies. The recently released full text of S. 792 can be read here.
Also in response to the Boston Marathon bombing, Senator Lautenberg introduced a bill to prevent gun sales to non-immigrant aliens.