WASHINGTON – Congressman Tom Reed (R-Corning, NY-23) says he doesn’t support legislation that would ban people on the federal no-fly list from purchasing fire arms, but he does support legislation aimed at increasing security requirements for international travelers.
During his weekly conference call with regional media on Tuesday, Reed said he’s supporting The Visa waiver Improvement Act – a bill introduced in the wake of the terror attacks in San Bernardino and Paris that closes a security loophole in the United States’ Visa waiver program.
Reed said the proposed bill also encourages international governments to share security information across the globe to help stop terrorism from spreading to the United States.
“What the improvement act will do is modernize the visa waiver program and make sure those individuals who have traveled to Syria or other areas that are identified as being part of this unrest in the world, that they would be put on a requirement to get a visa in order to come to America if they traveled to that area within the past five years,” Reed said.
Currently, the Visa Waiver program allows residents from over 38 nations, including France and Germany, to travel to the United States by using enhanced background checks but does not require that individuals to go to a U. S. Consulate to obtain a visa prior to traveling to the U.S. In turn, United States citizens are also allowed to travel to these countries under an easier process, ultimately reducing the amount of preparation time needed for international travel.
The bill comes as a new report that indicates over 5,000 European citizens, many of which reside in countries that participate in the Visa Waiver program with the United States, traveled to Syria and Iraq to fight with terrorists groups like ISIS.
NOT SUPPORTING PROPOSAL TO BAN GUN SALES TO PEOPLE ON NO-FLY LIST
Meanwhile, Reed said that he is not in favor of legislation that would infringe on a U.S. citizen’s Second Amendment rights, even if that person was on a federal no-fly list or similar terror watch list.
“I believe this conversation about gun control and the no fly list really misses the point,” Reed said, adding, “The point is that this is related to terrorists and we need a plan that is going to make America secure. That’s going to mitigate the opportunity for terrorist to come to the homeland.”
“Rather than take on the issue and engage in the politics of the issue, I’m interested in taking on the big problem,” Reed Continued. “The big problem is the threat that ISIS and related extreme Islamic radical jihadist groups represent when they engage in the acts that we saw right here in the homeland in California.”
The Visa wavier legislation now goes onto the Senate for additional consideration. A bill calling for a ban of firearms sales to people on the federal no-fly list was defeated last week in the GOP controlled Senate.