Tuesday, May 8, 2007

WoW! The NRA and I Finally Disagree!!!

Last week, the NRA sent a letter to the Bush administration asking it to withdraw its support for a Bill that would “DENY GUN SALES TO TERROR SUSPECTS!”

Their argument sounds like something out of the ACLU’s playbook, “As many of our friends in law enforcement have rightly pointed out, the word 'suspect' has no legal meaning, particularly when it comes to denying constitutional liberties,” wrote Chris Cox the NRA’s executive director.

In the wake of the Virginia Tech rampage, legislators are looking to close some of the more obvious loopholes in gun buying laws. Current law requires gun dealers to conduct a criminal background check and deny sales if a gun purchaser falls under a specified prohibition, including a felony conviction, domestic abuse conviction or illegal immigration. There is no legal basis to deny a sale if a purchaser is on a terror watch list.

Look, if you're on a terror watch list, you are almost certainly there for good reason. Perhaps you unknowingly contributed to a charity that has ties to various terror groups – that’s reason enough for me!

Once a person is cleared, and they’re off that terror watch list, they can buy all the guns they want.

How serious is the problem?

Well, according to a recent AP article, “A 2005 study by the Government Accountability Office found that 35 of 44 firearm purchase attempts over a five-month period made by known or suspected terrorists were approved by the federal law enforcement officials.”

Come on NRA!

Don’t marginalize yourselves standing up for the “rights” of suspected terrorists!



Barry said...

Wow. Well, much as I hate to do it, I think I have to throw in with the NRA. Yes, I know this is one of those boundary issues, and yes, I know I tend to be a nut on the Second Amendment, but...

If you believe, as I do, that gun rights are among the most fundamental we have, and are explicitly guaranteed by the Constitution, then I hate to see *any* law-abiding citizen summarily denied his constitutional rights without due process, just because some cops somewhere decided to put him on a list.

Yeah, I know I'm not going to have a lot of company here, but can you imagine the screeching that would ensue if the AG decided he had to restrict people's right to peaceably assemble because they're on a "watch list?"

Speaking of which, where are the hypocritical weenies at the ACLU on this one?

JMK said...

Well, for me, I guess it comes down to the efficacy of those terror watch lists, Barry. What are the parameters that would get someone put on one?

There are certainly many terror supporters, even members of terror cells whose jobs are logistics, and who, other than their association with some group, may have clean records and commit no actual crimes.

For instance, of the six Albanian Muslims charged in the planned attack on Fort Dix, three were here illegally (and presumably would be barred from gun purchases because of that), while the other three wouldn't be - unless they'd been convicted of a felony, been involuntarily committed to a psych facility or been convicted of spousal abuse.

It IS certainly a "boundary issue," like many of the issues in the WoT - the Patriot Act has great potential for abuse, so do the Swift system reviews, phone record reviews and the NSA wiretaps.

To date, what has guided my own personal support for such things is that post-9/11, I've come to view terrorism (because of the potential for massive carnage) as far more serious than a "violent felony," even though the law may have no other way to categorize it yet.

THAT is a tenuous position and one that I will admit has an emotional component to it (having known about fifty guys killed that day)...for that reason, I must acknowledge that it is an area where I'm not solely guided by the logic of the situation.

I'd certainly give you this much right now - "If 'some cop/bureaucrat somewhere' can simply put someone on such a list, then I oppose that as well," but if there are real parameters, such as having attended terror training camps, given to charitable "fronts" that support terrorism, or have other known ties to terrorism, I'd be more prone to accept the restriction outright, based on the potential for mass casualties by erring on the side of caution.

I'll have to continually review that viewpoint, in the hopes that it's not too much based on emotion.

Barry said...

>What are the parameters that would get someone put on one?

That is the central issue, isn't it? Unfortunately none of the news stories I've read shed much light on that. That's one thing that pisses me off about the news media.

withoutfeathers said...

I have a problem with denying someone 2nd Amendment (or any other) right on "suspicion."

Also, wouldn't it be counterproductive to disallow a terror suspect from buying a particular type of weapon? I mean, wouldn't that sorta clue the guy in that he's a suspect?

JMK said...

Yes, the MSM disappoints yet again.

That's why it's impossible to believe these "oversights" and ommissions are mere faux pas, on their part.

But yes, I'd say (speaking for myself) that the parameters of those watch lists is key.

What are the particulars that get one put on such a list.

WF, I agree that "mere suspicion" is not grounds for any such denial, but if the parameters for getting put on such a list are (1) attending some terror training campt, (2) consorting (hanging around with known terrorists, or (3) giving to charities that are considered to be "terrorist fronts," things like that, I'd err on the side of caution, given the horrific possibilities of not doing so.

If mere suspicion, or some cop or bureaucrat not "liking the cut of your jib," gets you put on such a list, then I'd agree that not only is that NOT grounds to deny someone their Second Amendment Rights, but it's really not grounds to put a person on such a list!

I agree with Barry in that trhe public should know those parameters.

I'd like to find them....if I do, I'll look to post them.

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