NRA to Congress: On Terrorist Watch List, OK to Buy Guns

June 20, 2009

(ChattahBox)—A little known loophole in the enforcement provisions of the government’s terrorist watch list, allows people on the list to buy guns and even explosives, according to a new report prepared by the Government Accountability Office. And unless Congress can fight off the powerful gun lobby and second Amendment groups, headed by the NRA, the loophole will remain, placing our nation’s security at risk.

The statistics uncovered by the G.A.O. study are shocking. The G.A.O. found a steady increase in the number of gun purchase approvals for people on the terrorist watch list, over the past five years and the trend is alarming.

From February 2004 through February 2009, 963 people on the terrorist watch list made applications to buy guns and 865 of those purchases were approved. Those figures amount to 90 percent approval rate of gun purchases.

The way the law is currently written, unless law enforcement officials can find some other reason to deny a gun purchase, such as a felony record, the gun buy must be approved. Making the terrorist watch list is not reason enough by itself, to deny that person the right to purchase firearms.

What is the point of maintaining such a list of potentially dangerous persons, and allowing them to purchase firearms? Under the law, people on the terrorist watch list can be stopped from getting on a plane or obtaining a visa, but they cannot be stopped from buying a deadly firearm.

Democratic Senator from New Jersey, Senator Frank R. Lautenberg is seeking to close the loophole in the law, by introducing a new bill that would give the attorney general the power to block gun sales to people on the terrorist watch list. Sen. Lautenberg views the gun purchases by terror suspects as a serious security issue.

An almost identical bill was introduced by Sen. Lautenberg last year, but died due to outcries from the powerful gun lobby.

Gun rights advocates and the NRA believe people on the terrorist watch list should be allowed the right to bear arms like anyone else. Despite the ludicrousness of such a position, the NRA and second Amendment groups continue to defeat any reasonable limitations of gun ownership and their voices are paid heed by Republicans and conservative Democrats.

Gun rights advocates would rather put a gun in the hands of a suspected terrorist, than see limitations of any kind, imposed on their Second Amendment rights.

Opponents of Sen. Lautenberg’s legislation point to the mushrooming terrorist watch list, which has grown to more than one million names since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. There is also the question of outdated information and mistaken identities on the list.

Still, the list itself can be updated to remove any false entries and monitored for accuracy. If the government is going to maintain a terrorist watch list, allowing people on the list to arm themselves makes no sense. One person on the list was even permitted to buy more than 50 pounds of explosives!

Andrew Arulanandam, a spokesman for the National Rifle Association, views the issue as a simple one. “…[L]aw-abiding people who are on the list by error should not be arbitrarily denied their civil rights,” said Arulanandam.

The NRA derides Sen. Lautenberg’s efforts to stop people on the terrorist watch list from arming themselves, “Senator Lautenberg has always been on the wrong side of the Second Amendment. His approach is not in the interests of public safety,” added Arulanandam.

If there is a choice between the public safety of our country and our children, weighed against the concerns of the NRA regarding their gun rights, public safety should win.

The G.A.O. report is scheduled to be released sometime next week.



9 Responses to “NRA to Congress: On Terrorist Watch List, OK to Buy Guns”

  1. NRA to Congress: On Terrorist Watch List, OK to Buy Guns Adding Info on June 20th, 2009 5:30 pm

    […] And unless Congress can fight off the powerful gun lobby and second Amendment groups, … Read Full Post: NRA to Congress: On Terrorist Watch List, OK to Buy Guns Adding Related Info:Government Report Says U.S. Guns Fuel Mexican Drug Violence – Flathead […]

  2. RomeoTango on June 20th, 2009 10:22 pm

    Now the watchlist is like being convicted of a crime, with out a jury?
    How about watching the persons on the watchlist, convict them of a crime and put them in jail!!

  3. Jeff Knox on June 21st, 2009 1:24 am

    OK, let me give you a hypothetical:
    Barack Obama isn’t President, George W. Bush is.
    Eric Holder isn’t Attorney General, John Ashcroft is.
    DHS isn’t putting out documents suggesting that anyone who doesn’t drive a Prius with an Obama sticker on it is a “right-wing extremist” with ties to neo-Nazi’s and white supremacists, they’re putting out warnings about radical leftists who support abortion, believe in global warming, and think nukes are bad.
    Now lets assume that you would actually be willing to resist being marched out to the edge of a big ditch and turning your backs on the line of guys with machineguns…
    Do you really want John Ashcroft to have the authority to decide who gets to buy a gun based on his unverifiable, secret criteria for who gets put on a terrorist watch list?
    This is like Bonnie Erbe’s recent suggestion to ban “hate speech.” Who gets to define what’s hateful? Is calling Bush a liar hate speech?
    Rights are not something to trifle with lightly and whether you like it or not gun ownership is a right. If the guy is too dangerous to buy a gun, why the Hell is he out walking around?

  4. Ben Miner on June 21st, 2009 11:37 am

    The “watchlist” is so full of holes that it absolutely is not sufficient grounds for denying Constitutional rights to otherwise qualified people. How is it due process to deny a right to a person without letting them know why that right is being denied or how they can appeal it? I feel like I’m at a meeting of the flat-earth society here.

  5. Carl in Chicago on June 21st, 2009 2:39 pm

    Look, Sue. This is not a “loophole” in enforcement provisions. In the United States, we don’t go around denying people various fundamental individual rights because they are suspected of bad behavior or crimes.

    We deny those right to them when they are convicted in a court of law.

    What you are suggesting is very, very dangerous. You are suggesting that the federal government can and should deny rights to just anyone they want, as long as they can articulate grounds for suspicion. Don’t you suppose that could quickly morph into denying them their rights arbitrarily and by fiat?

    This is simply not allowable in these United States.

    What you are advocating is that we hope and trust that the government will benevolently protect us, and exchange for that likely dubious hope, we give up fundamental liberties. Perhaps in Nazi Germany or the former Soviet Union, but here … no thanks.

  6. Jarhead on June 22nd, 2009 2:11 am

    Innocent until proven guilty….ever hear those words?

  7. jesse on June 22nd, 2009 2:54 pm

    There are plenty of examples of people being hassled because they, or someone with a similar name as them, were incorrectly listed in the “terrorist watch list”.

    Even Senator Kennedy was stopped at the airport and told he couldn’t board his flight because his name was on the list.

    The terrorist watch list is an extrajudicial infringement on our personal liberties under the guise of “protecting” us.

  8. N. on June 24th, 2009 12:54 am

    If they do not receive their weapons from us, they will attain them elsewhere. We can not control everything – and by tying is only going to create more chaos.

  9. K on July 17th, 2009 2:15 pm

    This so-called watchlist is authoritarian BS. Plenty of laws are out there now for arresting and convicting people who have committed crimes. Denying rights without due process sounds like Nazi Germany in 1939. Posing new anti-gun legislation under the guise of “terrorist” control and using this to play on people’s fears is reprehensible.

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