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Old June 22, 2009, 08:20 PM   #1
rampage841512
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Should people on the terrorist watch list be allowed to buy guns?

That's the question being asked on a CNN poll. I read the article and found myself voting "Yes." There are some pretty important civil rights and legal issues here that I think bear discussion on this forum.

From the little research I've done since reading the article this list is the 'no fly' list which says that a person poses a significant threat to aviation and should not be allowed to fly or that they should be allowed but only under added scrutiny. Also, it seems this list has a pretty bad track record, being full of errors that are not corrected and a bad record of generating false postives (when a person shares the same name as someone on the list).

Please read the article, and let me know what you think.

Personally, I have to take the stand that if there is no other factor that prevents a person from purchasing a firearm than appearing on this list, as it stands, should not be a bar to gun ownership. I fear the legislation discussed at the end of the article will do more harm to the law abiding than it will to any real terrorist threat.

Quote:
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- When people on the government's terrorist watch list have tried to buy guns or explosives in recent years, the government has let them the vast majority of the time.


Current law doesn't stop firearm or explosives sales to people whose names are on the terrorist watch list.

That's the finding of a new report by the Government Accountability Office, sent to lawmakers last month and released publicly Monday.

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."

Of the 963 background checks, 865 were allowed to proceed, and 98 were denied, the report said.

The GAO provided the report in response to a request from Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-New Jersey. The GAO said Lautenberg had requested an update to a 2005 report.

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."

However, an official with the National Rifle Association, the leading lobbyist group that espouses gun ownership rights, said problems with the terror watch list made a broad prohibition likely to violate the rights of law-abiding citizens.

"The integrity of the terror watch list is poor, as it mistakenly contains the names of many men and women, including some high-profile Americans, who have not violated the law," said a statement by Chris W. Cox, the NRA chief lobbyist. "In fact, a March 2009 report by the inspector general of the Department of Justice concluded that many people whose names were mistakenly placed on the list remain there even after their cases have been vetted and closed."

The GAO notes that being on a terrorist watch list does not mean that someone is involved in any terrorist activity.

Last month, the Justice Department reported that the FBI had kept thousands of names on its watch list based on outdated information and should have removed them.
http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/06/...uns/index.html
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Old June 22, 2009, 10:06 PM   #2
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Like it or not

The law is the law. And the list in NOT the law. No doubt, certain people, including legislators, would like to see that change. But until then, being "on the list" should not by itself be a disqualification.

Considering the govt past record in keeping lists, accurate, and up to date, I would not care to see the list become the law.
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Old June 23, 2009, 12:28 AM   #3
Shadi Khalil
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Once you hear who is actually on these "terrorist watch list" and "no fly list" you'll see them for what they really are...

Sure allot of people hate Cindy Sheehan but would they really feel threatened if she wanted a Glock or AR?
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Old June 23, 2009, 12:54 AM   #4
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The question might as well read.."should people that some people think might commit a crime be allowed to own a gun?"

Maybe even "should people who happen to have a similar name to known terrorists be allowed t own a gun?" since that is how many people have ended up on the list.
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Old June 23, 2009, 01:07 AM   #5
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Wonder if the ACLU will take the side of the gun owners in this one

WildwhataconundrumAlaska TM
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Old June 23, 2009, 01:23 AM   #6
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Unless there is a specific and proven reason that can be pointed to as reason for denial of a firearm purchase (felony conviction, in the US illegally, etc) you should be able to buy a gun.

The No Fly List is iffy at best. Even Ted Kennedy got put on it. I can only imagine the amount of people with similar names, the "wrong" ethnicity, strong opinions on controversial issues, people who like to exercise their 1A rights to assemble, etc are on it.
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Old June 23, 2009, 02:02 AM   #7
maestro pistolero
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Anyone notice that characterizing protesters as low level terrorists is happening at the at the same time that they are attempting to restrict gun sales to those on the (unconstitutional, devoid of due process) no-fly list?

So, the logic apparently goes like this:

You are a protester,
Therefore you are a (low-level) terrorist,
Therefore you will be placed on the no-fly list,
Therefore you are relieved of your 2nd amendment rights without due process.
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Old June 23, 2009, 04:05 AM   #8
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Quote:
Wonder if the ACLU will take the side of the gun owners in this one
I wouldn't bet on it--HOWEVER, the ACLU did take the side of gun owners in TX during a recent controversy in which several TX DAs publicly stated that they intended to ignore a new law which lightened the restriction on carrying handguns in vehicles.
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Old June 23, 2009, 05:46 AM   #9
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One of my friends had a daughter (5yo at the time) on the no fly list due to a having the same irish name as a terrorist.

He made a comment at the airport about "my daughter the terrorist" after they stopped them. Apparently they ddidn't think it was funny and gave him a hard time, lesson learned.

I certainly would not trust the list.
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Old June 23, 2009, 05:48 AM   #10
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I don't think the list should even exist.
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Old June 23, 2009, 06:29 AM   #11
rampage841512
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Thanks for the replies, guys. Your thoughts echo my own.
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Old June 23, 2009, 06:51 AM   #12
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Why stop with just denying them firearms? There are all kinds of inconvenient civil rights that terrorists might be taking advantage of - like the right to a jury trial, the right to due process, the right to tell the public their side of the story. Look at all those loopholes!

I can't believe that any American wouldn't support arbitrarily removing the rights of some people permanently just because the Government said that they could conceivably be a threat, even though we don't have anything we can actually arrest them for under the current law.

I mean, what is so wrong about a list where we don't know what it takes to get put on it, there is no way to be removed from it, and you can't even find out if you are on it and challenge it based on current court cases?

Man, you guys have gotten soft and terrorist loving around here
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Old June 23, 2009, 08:05 AM   #13
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What do you expect? This is the country that cheers on television shows that glorify the actions of dirty cops, who punish the bad guys who got off on legal technicalities by gunning them down, planting evidence, and illegal searches.

After all, why let a little thing like due process get in the way of justice. They only do it to the bad people, don'tcha know.

I seem to remember saying on this very board last July:

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Old June 23, 2009, 08:16 AM   #14
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I think the list was a good idea. I think that they should have looked into how broad the list had to be to have a chance of catching a terrorist and decided that was too broad a net.

My Uncle vacations in Myrtle Beach frequently. For a while he was taking the Hooters airline as it was $50 per person each way. A few years ago he was refused boarding to the Hooters Airline b/c someone named David Williamson was on the no fly list. A devout Radical Muslim flying Hooters Airline? Do you have any idea how many David Williamsons there are in the US? None of them could fly for several months unless they had their middle initial on their passport, even after a US Senator intervened.

I can't even imagine f the list was applied to 4473 checks with the ATFE already being backlogged with checks. My understanding is that right now a known criminal stands a good chance of passing the check as the delay will likely expire before anyone has a chance to look at it. The number of delays this would cause would more than likely effectively make the check pointless because of the backlog.
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Old June 23, 2009, 08:43 AM   #15
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+1 maestro pistolero

If there is no due process. They can not take away there rights.
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Old June 23, 2009, 09:13 AM   #16
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Many good points made thus far so I won't parrot. But I would like to add that if such a measure became law, I would expect a sharp increase in the number of "terrorists" on that list. Someone doesn't want you to own a gun? Get put on the list. Someone wants to take away your guns. Get put on the list...
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Old June 23, 2009, 09:48 AM   #17
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I found the article. Where's the poll?
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Old June 23, 2009, 09:56 AM   #18
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I was...briefly, on a watch list back around 2005. (Ironically I was working at the higher levels of the U.S. DOJ at the time, talk about one hand not knowing what the other was doing).

Why was I on a watch list?...to put it bluntly, appearance and my travel destination and nothing else.



One small case of mistaken identity and I was nearly detained in North Dakota for trying to fly back to Washington DC. (you know, 'cause I was near the Canadian border). I was fortunate that I could call some pretty heavy hitters in DC and get it all straightened out but the average Joe with no contacts would have been completely jacked up and on their way to gitmo!

I had no tolerance for "guilt by reason of suspicion" before that incident and I actively oppose it now.
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Old June 23, 2009, 10:02 AM   #19
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These Isolated Incidents!

"There are more Zombie-regulations in the works:"
YahooNews article
By EILEEN SULLIVAN, Associated Press Writer – Mon Jun 22, 5:23 pm ET
WASHINGTON – More than 800 gun purchases were approved after
background checks in the last five years even though the buyers'
names were on the government's terrorist watch list.
More than 900 background checks between February 2004 and
February 2009 turned up names on the watch list, and all but
98 were allowed to go through.
The watch list — maintained by the FBI and used by federal,
state and local law enforcement agencies — is meant to identify
known or suspected terrorists. However, the list has drawn
criticism over the years for mistakes that have led to questioning
and searches of innocent people.
"The current law simply defies common sense," Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D, NJ, said in a statement Monday. He has been calling for years to close the "terror gap" in the gun law and introduced legislation
Monday to address this concern. "Known and suspected terrorists are exploiting a major loophole in our law, threatening our families and our communities," he said.
The FBI plans to analyze where people on the watch list are trying
to purchase guns as well as other information, the GAO said.
There are about 400,000 people on the terror watch list, according
to the FBI. Over the past two years, the agency has looked at 830 people who believe they are on the watch list by mistake. For
privacy and national security reasons, the FBI does not acknowledge whether a person has been removed from the list.
The top lobbyist for the National Rifle Association said the
terrorist watch list has poor integrity.
"Law-abiding Americans should not be treated like terrorists,"
the NRA's Chris Cox said. "To deny law-abiding people due process
and their Second Amendment rights based on a secret list is not
how we do things in America."
In 2007, the Justice Department supported legislation that would address the gap, but Congress did not act on it. xxxEnd articlexxx
Well, at least the NRA is involved. I feel safer already. Every gun I own was bought at a gun show, and both my family and my neighborhood are safer for it. I'm not sure if I qualified via any loop-holes. It's a nice thing about Progressives and Fascists, in that they always tell us before-hand what they intend to do. But not enough of us listen and believe.
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Old June 23, 2009, 10:16 AM   #20
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My intitial reaction was that they (people on the terrorist watch list) should be denied the right to buy guns. I pondered the idea for about 2 seconds more and thought about how accurate (not) the government is at keeping records of any kind straight and decided any attempt to deny purchase due to a name being on the admitedly inaccurate list would be a very, very bad idea.

In addition the quote "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." is especially frightening given his known desire for gun control.

Can't see the ACLU getting involved in taking the side of gun owners on this one. They'll protest use of the list for just about anything else though.
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Old June 23, 2009, 10:24 AM   #21
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400,000 people on the no-fly list.

Think about that number.

400,000.

If you added up all the radicalized members of splinter Minuteman groups, Michigan Militia, KKK, La Raza, AZTLAN, Black Panthers, ALF, ELF, Sierra Club, Islamofascist groups and any other organization you could find in the US, you'd be hard pressed to put together a list of 20k people.

The no-fly is is 40 times the size of a list that would contain all the above "bad" people.

It has no judicial review.

It is one of the great travesties of American Justice and will be remembered 50 or 100 years from now in the same category as the Trail of Tears, Southern Occupation, and Japanese Detention Camps. Not the same degree of travesty (yet), but the same type of flawed judgement.

I earnestly wish for its demise.
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Old June 23, 2009, 10:36 AM   #22
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Quote:
There are all kinds of inconvenient civil rights that terrorists might be taking advantage of - like the right to a jury trial, the right to due process, the right to tell the public their side of the story. Look at all those loopholes!
I believe we just spent 8 years trying that exact theory.

"Terrorist watch list" my ass. It's been an open secret for years that people got put on the no-fly list for reasons having nothing to do with terrorism: protesting, political opinions, and just random noise having to do with name matches and other things.

A secret list with no oversight or appeals process violates pretty much every standard of due process. It was grossly illegal when Bush did it, and it's still illegal now. If you've got evidence someone is going to do something, arrest and try them.

Ironically, I've actually met and dealt with one of the Congressional reps who's proposing a bill on this subject. I really thought he had more sense.
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Old June 23, 2009, 10:49 AM   #23
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Quote:
Why was I on a watch list?...to put it bluntly, appearance and my travel destination and nothing else.
Not to derail this thread, but...

Holy Cow, Ze! You are a dead ringer for that guy. Glad you got things sorted out.

Carry on...
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Old June 23, 2009, 11:07 AM   #24
maestro pistolero
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400,000 people on a secret list. Sheesh. We need A Ron Paul with Hollywood good looks, Obama's silver tongue, and Bloomberg's money. ANYONE? HELLLOOOOO!
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Old June 23, 2009, 11:14 AM   #25
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Quote:
That's the question being asked on a CNN poll. I read the article and found myself voting "Yes." There are some pretty important civil rights and legal issues here that I think bear discussion on this forum.
That's because you realize that as an anonymous poster on an internet site dealing with firearms and that occasionally disagrees with the mainstream media and government, you meet the official definition of an "extremist."

The battle for gun control has now transitioned to the battle for outright control. They have are pursuing the tactic of expanding the definition of those who are prohibited from owning guns until the existence of guns themselves is meaningless.
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