NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton called on Washington D.C. to worry less about Syrian refugees and more about the suspects on the FBI’s terrorist watch list.
“If Congress really wants to do something instead of just talking about something, help us out with that Terrorist Watch List,” Bratton said on NBC’s Meet the Press Sunday morning.
“Those thousands of people that can purchase firearms in this country,” he said. “I’m more worried about them than I am about Syrian refugees.”
Bratton made the statement while standing alongside Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson after NYPD held a series of simulated shooting and terror attacks in lower Manhattan.
The exercises mimicked the circumstances around the coordinated attacks in Paris on Nov. 13 that extremist group Islamic State took credit for and killed 129.
Increasing political pressure led to a rash of largely conservative lawmakers around the country seeking to ban refugees from Syria, where investigators believe at least one of the Paris attackers hailed from.
Meanwhile, Democrats in D.C. began a new push for legislation introduced by former GOP President George W. Bush’s Justice Department to ban any individual on the FBI’s watch list of possible extremists from legally purchasing guns.
Multiple attempts to pass similar bills have stalled before, which critics blame on the National Rifle Association’s opposition to the legislative reform.
“The NRA’s only objective is to ensure that Americans who are wrongly on the list are afforded their constitutional right to due process,” said NRA spokeswoman Jennifer Baker in a statement Friday.
Still, Bratton repeated his call to action to federal authorities.
“If Congress really wants to do something to help the American law enforcement community and the American public,” he said, “let’s start getting serious about doing something that they can actually do something about.”