Anti-gun New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenberg announced the “Denying Firearms and Explosives to Dangerous Terrorists Act of 2009,” a bill that would give unprecedented authority to the Attorney General to prohibit someone from exercising his or her Second Amendment rights based on nothing more than mere suspicion.
Lautenberg launched this attack on gun rights, using a report from the Government Accountability Office that laments it found 963 cases between February 2004 and February 2009 in which “a known or suspected terrorist attempted to buy a gun.”
Yet, as Alan Gottlieb, chairman of the grassroots-oriented Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, noted in a response to Lautenberg’s bill, 90 percent of those transactions were allowed to proceed after the gun buyer cleared the FBI’s National Instant Check. The remaining ten percent of the purchase attempts were unsuccessful because the would-be buyers had prior felony convictions, or were found to be in this country illegally. Were any of these people arrested or deported?
There is no indication from the GAO whether any of the successful gun buyers used their firearms in the commission of a crime.
This is the same GAO that issued a skewed report recently on gun trafficking to Mexico that was discussed here. That’s the report that anti-gunners have been deliberately misrepresenting in order to push their claim that 90 percent of the guns being used by Mexican drug cartels in a bloody war in northern Mexico are coming from gun shops and gun shows in this country.
The claims are so questionable that Florida Congressman Connie Mack noted, “I don’t know that the report itself is something that we should put a lot of value in.”
The National Rifle Association weighed in, noting, “Mexico has a huge problem with rampant corruption that clearly cannot be blamed on the U.S. At the same time, Mexico has extremely prohibitive gun laws, yet has far worse crime than the U.S.”
Lautenberg isn’t nearly as interested in protecting this country from terrorists as he is in disarming its citizens. He just wants to hand Eric Holder the authority to deny as many people as possible their rights under the Second Amendment.
There are problems aplenty with Lautenberg’s demagoguery. For example, in May of this year, the inspector general for the Department of Justice reportedly found that the FBI kept a list that included the names of 24,000 people based, as explained by the New York Times, on “outdated or sometimes irrelevant information.”
In the vast majority of cases reviewed so far, it has turned out that the petitioners were not actually on the list, with most having been misidentified at airports because their names resembled others on it.
Perhaps the greatest problem with such legislation is that nobody has ever explained just how someone gets his or her name on this terrorist watch list.
Likewise, it’s not clear how anyone gets his or her name off this list, though one apparently can file a “redress” request with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Over the past two years, according to USA Today, some 51,000 people have filed those requests. A review of those complaints, the newspaper reported in March, found that these people had been “misidentified at airports because their names resembled others” on the list.
If an airport check by DHS can make that kind of mistake, what guarantees are there that firearms retailers won’t? Who can say that the Attorney General will not even screw that up, or deliberately deny someone their Second Amendment rights only because their name resembles that of someone else? It takes time to sort out such a denial, and as the late Rev. Martin Luther King noted, “A right delayed is a right denied.”
Reprinted by permission of Examiner.com, Copyright by Dave Workman.