How many of us want terrorists to have guns? Even the most-ardent Second Amendment supporter winces at the idea of jihadists in America buying copious amounts of firepower. So, one should assume that this is an area of common ground that Republicans and Democrats could get behind, right?
Unfortunately, the modern Democrat Party is pathologically incapable of playing it straight and whenever they discuss “commonsense” gun control laws, you better believe that there is a catch.
This latest push is no exception.
The Democrats are playing politics once again with the issue of Second Amendment rights. The latest push comes from House and Senate Democrats who are calling for legislation that would prohibit people who are on the terrorist watchlist from purchasing firearms.
It sounds like a good idea in theory. But the latest “think of the children” rhetoric spewing from the left carefully designed to offer only the preferred highlights as anyone who understands the legislation would be appalled by the actual provisions within.
The Democrats are dusting-off legislation that has lingered since 2007 with the hopes of painting opposing Republicans and the NRA as extremists.
The central problem with the bill, however, is that it strips Americans of their right to due process. The terrorist watchlist is an arbitrary blacklist that requires little to no oversight. Those who are on it can be on there for genuine terrorist activity or they could be on there as a means of silencing dissenting voices.
As the name suggests, the “watchlist” is not limited to people guilty of “terrorism”1 or who are suspected of other acts serious enough to warrant their arrest. It broadly includes people “known or reasonably suspected to be or have been engaged in conduct constituting, in preparation for, in aid of, or related to terrorism,”2 including those only “being preliminarily investigated to determine whether they have links to terrorism” and those “for whom the FBI does not have an open terrorism investigation.”3
A person accused of serious wrongdoing has the right to know what he has been accused of, to offer evidence in his defense, and to be judged by a jury. A constitutionally protected right cannot be taken away on the basis of a secretive or unsubstantiated accusation. A judge should be allowed to consider evidence which may support the innocence of the accused.
S. 34 and H.R. 1506 are aimed primarily at law-abiding American gun owners. Ninety-five percent of watchlisted persons are already prohibited from acquiring firearms in the U.S., because they are not U.S. citizens or legal resident aliens. (See below.)
NICS already checks the relevant portion of the watchlist, and denies firearms to watchlisted persons who are prohibited from possessing firearms. Tellingly, S. 34’s and H.R. 1506’s sponsors could not name a single gun crime committed by a watchlisted person who purchased a firearm after passing a NICS check. (See below.)
As D.C.’s and Chicago’s handgun bans have proven, prohibiting the possession of firearms doesn’t stop criminals from illegally acquiring them.
There would be an enormous potential for abuse, if the FBI were given arbitrary power over a constitutionally-protected right. This would be true even if the FBI had an unblemished record where civil rights are concerned.
The bill by the fanatically anti-Second Amendment Senator Dianne Feinstein would have the attorney general compile a list of names to add to the terrorist watchlist. This list would be comprised of people who may or may not be engaged in any illegal activity, but would still be disallowed from exercising their constitutional rights without any due process of law.
Still, leading Democrats are looking to downplay that important fact and are calling it the “terrorist loophole,” an amalgam of two super-scary-sounding words with hollow political connotations “terrorist” and “loophole,” a nod to the fictitious “gunshow loophole” that the left has relied-upon for decades to scare the ignorant masses.
“By leaving this terrorist loophole open, Republicans are leaving every community in America vulnerable to attacks by terrorists armed with assault rifles and explosives purchased legally, in broad daylight,” Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said Friday.
Naturally, the NRA is pushing-back against the desperate and pathetic attempts by Democrats to ignore the obvious failings of this bill and pretend to be champions of national security.
NRA spokeswoman Jennifer Baker blasted the Democrats, saying,
“It is appalling that anti-gun politicians are exploiting the Paris terrorist attacks to push their gun-control agenda and distract from President Obama’s failed foreign policy.”
In truth, the Democrats are likely hoping for stiff NRA and Republican resistance so that they can formulate a manipulative narrative for the MSNBC-watching crowd. “Republicans want to arm terrorists” will be the narrative and one can bet that there will be no mention of the fact that the NRA and the Republicans would be fighting to maintain essential civil liberties guaranteed in both the 2nd and 6th Amendments.
Further, if Democrats were truly interested in enhancing the security of our nation, a great first step towards that goal would be to not crusade to import 10,000 refugees from ISIS’ homeland.