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House GOP to Move on Measures to Block Terrorists From Buying Guns

by Luke Russert and Alex Moe /  / Updated 
Image: Paul Ryan, teve Scalise
House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wis., walks with House Majority Whip Steve Scalise of La., after a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, on June 22, 2016, following a House Republican caucus meeting.Carolyn Kaster / AP

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The House will move next week on an anti-terrorism package that will have a provision to stop suspected terrorists from buying guns, a source who participated in a House GOP conference call on Thursday morning tells NBC News.

The terrorism package, introduced Friday by House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-California, includes measures to help prevent radicalization and recruitment of potential terrorists, a provision to notify law enforcement and potentially intervene if suspected terrorists try to buy guns and revoking the U.S. passports of people with terrorist ties.

The full House will also take up Pennsylvania Republican Rep. Tim Murphy’s committee-passed bill which seeks to prevent gun violence by providing improved care for mental illness.

Republican leadership is looking to move preemptively to block House Democrats from doing another floor protest. House Speaker Paul Ryan said leadership is gathering all the facts, evaluating options and getting recommendations from the sergeant-at-arms and the parliamentarians.

Ryan said they are prepared to take any steps they deem necessary.

Last week, civil rights icon and Georgia Rep. John Lewis led House Democrats in a 26-hour sit-in over gun policy reform in the Capitol. The protest failed to convince Republicans to vote on two controversial gun control measures, but gained national attention.

Related: Democrats End Gun Control Sit-In After More Than 24 Hours on House Floor

Ryan, during Thursday's call, reportedly said Democrats are desperate to change the narrative from terrorism to guns because they cannot stand on their terrorism record. He added that whether it was attacks in Paris, Brussels, Orlando, or Istanbul this week, there is an evolution in terrorist tactics.

Ryan also criticized the administration's response.

In the immediate aftermath of the Orlando terror attack, the House took swift action on anti-terrorism efforts aimed at thwarting terrorists' attempts to radicalize Americans and incite attacks on U.S. soil. The House approved the previously passed package of provisions, but the Senate never took up the measures.

A GOP terrorism task force was also charged with looking at additional legislative options.

Related: What You Need to Know About Gun Policy Votes

One of the issues discussed at the time was efforts aimed at keeping guns away from suspected terrorists. On Thursday, Ryan reiterated that it’s important to make sure suspected terrorists can’t get guns, but also stressed then need to take a measured approach in crafting legislation.

A spokesman for House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer told NBC News that the lawmaker looks forward to seeing the details of Ryan’s proposal.

"It remains to be seen whether the legislation is a bipartisan proposal that will address gun violence by keeping guns out of the hands of suspected terrorists, or if this is a partisan package that includes poison pill provisions — such as the Cornyn or Johnson proposals," said Mariel Saez, a Hoyer spokesperson.

The reference was to an amendment by Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn that would have allowed the Attorney General to delay a purchase of a gun for up to 72-hours for a suspected terrorist or an individual investigated for terrorism in the last five years and also seek a court order to prevent the sale. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisconsin, had a measure that would have required a hearing before a judge before stopping a gun sale.

"We will also be urging the Speaker to allow for an open process that provides House Democrats with a chance to file amendments and have a vote on the bipartisan 'No Fly, No Buy' bill introduced by Rep. (Peter) King," Saez said.

Failing that, House Democrats said Friday that they "will have further discussions about possible actions to take in response."

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