[Note: This is not the place for the Gun Control Argument, nor for the What Would You Carry? dick-measuring contest.]
I read on CNN under the scary headline “People on terrorist watch list allowed to buy guns” that
From February 2004 to February 2009, 963 background checks using the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System “resulted in valid matches with terrorist watch list records; of these matches, approximately 90 percent were allowed to proceed because the checks revealed no prohibiting information,” the GAO report says. About 10 percent were denied.
“Under current law, there is no basis to automatically prohibit a person from possessing firearms or explosives because they appear on the terrorist watch list,” wrote the GAO’s director of homeland security and justice issues, Eileen R. Larence.
“Rather, there must be a disqualifying factor (i.e., prohibiting information) pursuant to federal or state law, such as a felony conviction or illegal immigration status.”
That is to say, to be denied the right to buy a firearm you had to be crazy or a criminal. I’m good with that.
However, that isn’t good enough for Senator Frank Lautenberg, (D-New Jersey):
In a statement Monday, Lautenberg said, “this new report is proof positive that known and suspected terrorists are exploiting a major loophole in our law, threatening our families and our communities. This ‘terror gap’ has been open too long, and our national security demands that we shut it down.”
The statement said Lautenberg is introducing legislation that would give the U.S. attorney general “authority to stop the sale of guns or explosives to terrorists.”
Which is pure moonshine. It’s proof positive that the Terrorist Watch List is fatally flawed. 865 individuals (per the story) got their firearms and yet there have been no terrorist attacks with them.
First, we already know that nothing whatever is required to get onto that list: whim, error, and accident seem to be as important as any other source for a name to go on the list. There is no judicial oversight or review.
Second, there is no mechanism for an individual to be informed that he/she is on the list.
Third, there is no mechanism for an individual who discovers he/she is on the list to challenge it.
If there are known terrorists out there, why haven’t they been arrested and tried? If convicted, then the current mechanisms click in and everything’s fine. If someone is merely suspected … well, I suspect Lautenberg of being a terrorist. Let’s put his name on the secret list.