Senior American politician Chuck Schumer said he was surprised to find out there was a loophole in a US law that allows people to make bombs in their homes and has proposed closing that loophole to help prevent future terrorist attacks.
“It is shocking to learn that it is not illegal for an individual to build an explosive device at home,” Mr Schumer said while speaking at a recent event in New York. “There’s absolutely no good reason to build an explosive device in one’s home.”
Homemade bombs were used in three infamous terrorist attacks in the US over the last 25 years: the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing and the 2013 bombing at the Boston Marathon. Such bombs have also played a small part in other notorious events, such as the 1999 massacre at Columbine High School.
A variety of readily available substances can be used to make explosives in the home, and Mr Schumer mentioned fireworks and instant ice packs as an example of those substances.
“It’s critical we criminalize homemade explosive making,” Mr Schumer said at the event.
As the law is written, it is illegal for any business to make a bomb without paying the required fees and obtaining the proper licensing, according to the website for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
The law also says it’s illegal for people to store and transport explosives, Jennifer Cicolani, spokeswoman for the bureau, told The Independent. But it does not explicitly say that making a bomb at home is illegal.
It is unclear how popular bomb-making is in the US, as there appear to be no such hobby groups on the internet. An internet search turned up several websites with instructions on how to make bombs, however. Recently, both al-Qaeda and the Islamic State have published bomb-making manuals.
Mr Schumer said he is planning to introduce a bill that would allow the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and other agencies to arrest people caught making homemade bombs.
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