Senator Harry Reid has introduced a new bill, S.792, that the majority leader (D-NV) has labeled as “A bill to strengthen the enforcement of background checks with respect to the use of explosive materials.” In short, the measure would require background checks for anyone purchasing “explosive materials” or “powders” commonly used to manufacture ammunition and fireworks, according to The Hill.
The pretext for the bill is the Boston bombings, which S.792’s co-sponsor Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) “shows that background checks are needed for explosive materials.” Tamerlan Tsarnaev, now deceased, and his 19-year-old brother Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who’s currently in a prison hospital after being wounded in a shootout with police, are said to have used blackpowder from common fireworks to manufacture the bombs that left three people dead and hundreds wounded. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is charged with using a weapon of mass destruction to kill, a crime that carries a potential death sentence.
Lautenberg said in a press statement, “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.” Purchasing more than 50 pounds of blackpowder already requires a background check. The new bill would lower the thresholds and will also include “smokeless powders,” which are used for the production of ammunition.