The Truth About Gun Sales to Terrorists

Should suspected terrorists be barred from buying guns?

Months before he loaded his SUV with propane tanks and fireworks and drove to Times Square, police say, Faisal Shahzad went to a firearms store and bought a rifle. It was found in his other car at Kennedy Airport, where his name showed up on the no-fly list in time to keep him from escaping.

Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), is one of many people wondering why a suspected terrorist can be barred from flying but not from purchasing a gun. It "defies common sense," he says, that "the rights of terrorists are placed above the safety of everyday Americans."

Well, not exactly. Anyone convicted of terrorism has no right to buy a gun, since felons are barred under federal law. And Lautenberg neglects to mention that in denying constitutional rights to people merely suspected of dangerous connections, he would deny rights to lots of peaceable "everyday Americans."

His bill, the subject of a recent Senate hearing, gives the attorney general the power to block gun sales to anyone the government suspects of being a terrorist. Never mind the obstacle known as the Second Amendment, which according to the Supreme Court protects an individual right to own guns for personal use.

Someone arrested, tried, and found guilty of a crime loses that particular freedom. But Lautenberg's bill would strip the right from many people without forcing the government to show they've done anything wrong.

It's not entirely clear what it takes to be tagged in the government's terrorist watch list, which includes more than a million names and has been plagued with errors. "How you get on is a mystery, and how you get off is extremely difficult," says Mike German, a former FBI agent now with the American Civil Liberties Union.

A 2009 evaluation by the Justice Department's inspector general found that many nominations "were processed with little or no information explaining why the subject may have a nexus to terrorism." The FBI also "did not consistently update or remove watch list records when appropriate."

If you get put on the list by mistake, you may find yourself permanently exiled to the Twilight Zone. The program under which innocent Americans may challenge their designation "does not always provide meaningful solutions," according to the inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security.

Supporters of the bill lament that, according to a report by the Government Accountability Office, people on the watch list have tried to buy firearms more than 1,200 times, with 91 percent of the sales going through.

That could mean al-Qaida has a good-sized secret domestic arsenal by now. Or it could mean that a lot of people thought to be a mortal threat were about as bloodthirsty as Jill Biden.

The more interesting question is whether any of the purchases led to terrorist violence. If supporters of the bill had examples to flog, you can be sure they would. In any event, the FBI keeps track of anyone on the list who buys a gun and sometimes steps up surveillance in response.

The proposed law wouldn't have impeded Shahzad because he didn't make the list until after he bought the rifle. Nidal Hasan, the alleged Fort Hood shooter, failed to get a nomination.

Most of the people on the terrorist roll, as it happens, can't buy guns legally anyway, because most of them are not Americans. Under federal law, firearms may be purchased only by U.S. citizens or legal resident aliens.

Barring gun sales on the basis of mere suspicion might be permissible except for that pesky Second Amendment. The Constitution doesn't specifically enshrine the right to ride in a commercial airliner or even the right to travel. The right to own a gun, by contrast, is right there in black and white.

Not only that, but someone blocked from boarding a plane can always travel by train, bus, boat, or car, says UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh, which is one reason courts have upheld restrictions on flying. "But this completely prohibits you from even possessing a gun," he notes, once you've gotten notice that you are forbidden to buy one.

All this would happen without the normal requirements of due process, which makes it unconstitutional as well as unwise. Note to the federal government: You are entitled to deny firearms to anyone engaged in efforts to commit acts of terrorism—just as soon as you can prove it.

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  • Untermensch||

    If Suki makes a post that appears earlier than this one, then I know that Suki is indeed a superior being with superior powers...

  • Suki||

    I am posting this before you and not playing your game. See timestamp.

  • Alan Vanneman||

    Not only that, but someone blocked from boarding a plane can always travel by train, bus, boat, or car, says UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh, which is one reason courts have upheld restrictions on flying. "But this completely prohibits you from even possessing a gun," he notes, once you've gotten notice that you are forbidden to buy one.

    Boomerangs, blow-guns, kung-fu throwing discs? Try thinking outside the box, Steve.

  • ed||

    Wait till they encounter the first successful voodoo attack.

  • ||

    ""Wait till they encounter the first successful voodoo attack.""

    They don't even need to encounter one, they just need to hear rumor that it exists.

  • Quentin Tarantino||

    Yanno, buddy...what's your name? Vanneman? How about cocksucker? How about plagiarizing piece of shit? It's not good enough for you to lift other literary ideas? Now you're swiping shit from my screenplays? Forget wanting a word with you, your balls should be on my bedpost pal, if you got any!

  • jtuf||

    I oppose Lautenberg's bill, because it violates due process. Unfortunately, there is already a precedence for denying a people the right to bear arms whithout ever proving that they commited a crime. Many states ban people suspected of having a mental illness from getting a gun licence.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    Many states ban people suspected of having a mental illness from getting a gun licence.
    reply to this


    For mere suspicion, as opposed to adjudication?

    Of course, I should add that the Korematsu decision allows the U.S. government to imprison American citizens without trial for having the wrong ethnic background.

  • Zeb||

    I believe that there is a federal regulation keeping people with certain mental illnesses from getting guns.

  • ||

    Yep, accurate descriptions of the mental illness are:

    Holding political office in California, New York, Chicago

    Worshipping Government as God

    Membership in the VPC (oh sorry, they have no members, just money)

    Membership in the Brady Bunch
    (all these above speak for themselves)

    Progressive beliefs freakazoid who believes the police are the only ones capable of protecting you, when the US Supreme Court has ruled ten times that isn't true.

    Revisionist Constitutionalist

    Projectionist believer who believes it is their inherent right to project their unsubstantiated fears upon others.

    Fetishism believer who knows that inanimate objects have supernatural powers to load, target, aim and pull the trigger by itself allowing....

    Schizophrenic believer that being in near proximity to an inanimate object guarantees automatic violence as the words, voices or telepathic control from the inanimate object control every single person in its proximity.

  • FredSaid||

    "suspected" of having a mental illness? As in, the gun store clerk gets a bad vibe?

    Name the states, please.

    I believe California law bans gun purchases by those who have been committed to a mental institution, but the process of commitment involves a lot more than mere suspicion.

    We don't even know what the process IS for putting you on the terrorist watch list.

  • lefttard||

    Senator Lautenberg,
    Can also add fertilizer and propane tanks to this list? And SUVs purchased from craigslist? All are a menace to society.

  • Rich||

    How long until Lautenberg and his ilk go after people suspected of being suspected terrorists?

  • MRK||

    Really the core problem is people use Thumbs in order to commit crimes, be it explosives, guns, or plane hijacking. I propose we cut off the thumbs of everyone on the no-fly list. Once this has been accomplished, we can cut off the thumbs of every other person in the US. Once the opposable Thumb has been outlawed, we will finally be safe.

  • Dr. Zaius||

    I concur.

  • ||

    You're going WAY overboard MRK. We simply have to regulate thumbs. Perhaps forcing people on the watch list to take a thumb training class, and get their licence to carry a concealed thumb. Should they ever misuse their privilege we take away their licence and with it their thumbs.

    We will, of course, ban all assault thumbs. I think everyone here agrees that assault thumbs have no place on the hands of everyday Americans. Those types of thumbs were created for nothing but the slaughter of innocent men & women and have no practical use outside of combat.

  • MRK||

    you can have my thumbs when you pry them from my cold, dead... fingers?

  • ||

    Wrist? Ulna?

  • ||

    Distilled down to the base motivation of Lautenberg's bill is the ability of the Government Rulers to deny citizens their natural rights. If you would have asked during the last Administration; Code Pink or ACORN members would be on the watch list. During this one; TEA Partiers and GOOH members would be on the list.

    What Lautenberg and other members of Congress exhibit is a desire to rule the tax payers (slaves?) and a stunning lack of knowledge of the US Constitution. Not to mention the 3 - 4 inches of Federal Firearms Regulations and 3 - 4 inches (x50) of State Firearms Regulations. None of which have stopped any criminal activity whatsoever. And yet, those sworn to uphold the Constitution and protect Citizen's Rights continue to find new and devious ways to deny and prohibit them.

    The poster mentioning propane and fertilizer was completely correct. Unfortunatley for us Law Abiding Citizen Voters who chose to exercise our RIGHT to Keep and Bear Arms, guns don't feed the flowers or grill the hot dogs. But, given enough time, you will need a license to posess limited quantities of chemically produced plant food and petroleum gas to cook food.

    I wonder what the good,Progressive sheeple will say then?

  • ||

    ""I wonder what the good,Progressive sheeple will say then?""

    I'm more curious what the Gov of NJ has to say.

  • ||

    “Benjamin Franklin once stated that democracy is two wolves and one lamb voting on what to have for dinner, while liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting that vote. Slowly but surely, the lambs are being disarmed while the wolves continue to sharpen their teeth.”

  • FredSaid||

    "Slowly but surely, the lambs are being disarmed..."

    Seriously? There are more guns in private hands in the U.S. today than there ever have been. Gun and ammo sales are at record levels. A majority of Americans -- and a larger percentage than at any time in the last 50 years -- are opposed to gun control. The only significant gun measure to be signed by President Obama allowed guns to be carried in National Parks for the first time. At the state level, the trend is decidedly toward fewer restrictions on sales and carry, not more.

    "Disarmed"? Seriously?

  • Jeffersonian||

    Lautenberg's bill is also stupid on surveillance grounds. If Mohammed al-Qubum is a sleeper agent being covertly watched by the FBI, what better way to tip him off as to his status than denying him the right to purchase a firearm? Hell, if I were an undercover jihadi, I'd go to a gun shop every couple of months and buy a cheap shotgun just to get a background check run...if it comes up as denied, I'd know my cover was blown and I'd need to go to ground.

  • ||

    You're smarter than a Congressman.

  • Ernie the Bear||

    If you set the bar any lower, we'll be playing Limbo.

  • ||

    Not only that, but someone blocked from boarding a plane can always travel by train, bus, boat, or car, says UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh

    * sigh * Mainlanders.

    I'm guessing he's never tried driving a train, bus, or car from Hawaii to somewhere else.

    A boat, maybe -- but I'm guessing if the gummint stops you from boarding a plane, they might also make it difficult to board a boat.

  • wingnutx||

    My parents drove a bitchin' camaro up from the Bahamas.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    There used to be an internment camp
    near Lone Pine, California. It was called Manzanar.

    If people on the no-fly list are so
    dangerous that they can not be trusted with firearms, why not rebuild and reopen Manzanar and intern people there?

  • ||

    Manzanar is a cool place, I live not far from there.

  • Luke||

    "Anyone who can't be trusted with a gun can't be trusted without a custodian." -David Codrea

    http://www.examiner.com/x-1417.....-have-guns

  • LarryA||

    This just in, from a Lautenberg press release:
    WASHINGTON, D.C. – As the state of Georgia is about to enact a law that will allow people to carry a loaded gun into the state’s airports — including Hartsfield-Jackson International — the world’s largest, U.S. Senator Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) today introduced the Firearm-Free Airports Act to strengthen airport security and protect the safety of passengers and airline employees by banning individuals from carrying firearms into commercial airports nationwide.
    ...
    Lautenberg’s measure, the Firearm-Free Airports Act, would make it illegal to carry a gun into non-federally regulated areas of an airport, including the airport lobby, baggage claim area and ticket counter.

    What part of “non-federally regulated areas” does he not understand?

  • unPC||

    Let's put this in context. According to Homeland Security Chief Janet Napolitano, you belong on the terrorist watch list if you are a US veteran, if you opposed amnesty for illegal aliens, or if you oppose abortion. http://www.examiner.com/x-2466.....ist-threat

    In other words, pretty much any one who voted against Obama can be disarmed as a "terrorist."

  • ||

    "Before all else, be armed" ~ Niccolo Machaivelli

  • Jack Handy||

    You mention that the right to fly is not spelled out in the constitiution. Granted, it is a private company that is providing the transportation, and has the right to refuse service to anyone it sees fit. On the constitution, however, we have fallen into what the anti-federalists feared at the time. Seeing the Bill of Rights as our only rights.

    The Bill of Rights is actually redundant in our Constitution. The origional intent was so that if it was not specifically spelled out that the federal government could perform an act of regulation then that power would then pass to the states.

  • ||

    INPEACH OBAMA In democratic societies like the United States, the voting process is a means by which citizens hold their government accountable, conflicts are channeled into resolutions, and power transfers peacefully. Our system of representative government works only when honest ballots are not diluted by fraudulent ballots. When elections become corrupted, democracy becomes threatened.
    The FBI has a limited role in ensuring fair and free elections in the United States. Election crimes become federal cases when:
    The ballot includes one or more federal candidates;
    The crime involves an election official abusing his duties;
    The crime pertains to fraudulent voter registration;
    Voters are not U.S. citizens.
    First Name: kenyan born at the white house
    Last Name: TRUTH
    Address: AMERICA
    Address: INPEACH OBAMA
    City: USA
    State: usa THE END OF AMERICA
    NPR archive describes Obama as 'Kenyan-born'
    Michelle say Barack born in Kenya
    Obama's grandmother say he was born in Kenya
    Subject: OBAMA SAID approval ratings are still very high in the country of my birth.
    Message: INPEACH OBAMA TO THE WEAK-KNEED REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRAT
    obama people have no idea of the extent to which they have to be gulled in order to be led." "The size of the lie is a definite factor in causing it to be believed, for the vast masses of the nation are in the depths of their hearts more easily deceived than they are consciously and intentionally bad. The primitive simplicity of their minds renders them a more easy prey to a big lie than a small one, for they themselves often tell little lies but would be ashamed to tell a big one." "All propaganda must be so popular and on such an intellectual level, that even the most stupid of those towards whom it is directed will understand it. Therefore, the intellectual level of the propaganda must be lower the larger the number of people who are to be influenced by it." "Through clever and constant application of propaganda, people can be made to see paradise as hell, and also the other way around, to consider the most wretched sort of life as paradise. "pelosi don't see much future for the Americans ... it's a decayed country. And they have their racial problem, and the problem of social &^% ...obama feelings against Americanism are feelings of hatred and deep repugnance ... everything about the behaviour of American society reveals that it's half &^%, and the other half &^& How can one expect a State like that to hold TOGTHER.They include the angry left wing bloggers who spread vicious lies and half-truths about their political adversaries... Those lies are then repeated by the duplicitous left wing media outlets who “discuss” the nonsense on air as if it has merit… The media's justification is apparently “because it's out there”, truth be damned. State: *usa Obama chuckles at America*
    If YOU PASS THE NORTH KOREAN BORDER ILLEGALLY YOU GET 12 YRS HARD LABOR, YOU PASS THE AFGHAN BORDER ILLEGALLY YOU GET SHOT. Under the Mexican law, illegal immigration is a felony, punishable by up to two years in prison,Mexicans who help illegal immigrants are considered criminalsThere is no immigration allowed in China, India, Bangladesh, Russia, Japan, Cuba, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Syria, Turkey and MOST other countries YOU PASS THE AMERICAN BORDER ILLEGALLY YOU GET A JOB, DRIVER'S LICENSE, ALLOWANCE FOR A PLACE TO LIVE, HEALTH CARE, EDUCATION, BILLIONS OF DOLLARS SPENT SO YOU CAN READ A DOCUMENT. WE CARRY PASSPORTS IN OTHER COUNTRIES OR FACE JAIL TIME. REPOST THIS IF YOU AGREE!! ((STOP COMMUNIST OBAMA)) THE COMMANDER

  • ||

    Wouldn't Obama need to change his name to "James" to be In Peached? It would need to be a mighty "Giant" peach.

    Or do you mean IMpeach? Might want to work on that English, bub.

  • jacob||

    The real question is why have a no-fly list in the first place?

  • Timmy Roid||

    "ABUSE"?
    "IF YOU PASS THE NORTH KOREAN BORDER ILLEGALLY YOU GET 12 YRS HARD LABOR, YOU PASS THE AFGHAN BORDER ILLEGALLY YOU GET SHOT. Under the Mexican law, illegal immigration is a felony, punishable by up to two years in prison,Mexicans who help illegal immigrants are considered criminalsThere is no immigration allowed in China, India, Bangladesh, Russia, Japan, Cuba, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Syria, Turkey.."


    So the problem is that the USA isn't enough like North Korea or Afghanistan? or great places like Syria or Cuba? Never mind lovely freedom loving places like Saudi Arabia Iran and China?

    In my opinion anything that makes our country less like the aforemntioned shitholes, the better!

  • ||

    Should 'terrorists' be barred from buying guns?

    Then only 'terrorists' wan't have guns. Then, following on from the Emperor's declaration about killing 'terrorists', anyone not carrying a gun can be deemed a 'terrorist' and killed without due process. Hmmm, very interesting.

  • spacemonkey||

    ya lets ban gun sales to terrorists so that they don't use bombs. hmm whats wrong with that statement?

  • ||

    President Obama Tells Mexican President "We are Not Defined by Our Borders"INPEACH OBAMA In democratic societies like the United States, the voting process is a means by which citizens hold their government accountable, conflicts are channeled into resolutions, and power transfers peacefully. Our system of representative government works only when honest ballots are not diluted by fraudulent ballots. When elections become corrupted, democracy becomes threatened.
    The FBI has a limited role in ensuring fair and free elections in the United States. Election crimes become federal cases when:
    The ballot includes one or more federal candidates;
    The crime involves an election official abusing his duties;
    The crime pertains to fraudulent voter registration;
    Voters are not U.S. citizens.
    First Name: kenyan born at the white house
    Last Name: TRUTH
    Address: AMERICA
    Address: INPEACH OBAMA
    City: USA
    State: usa THE END OF AMERICA
    NPR archive describes Obama as 'Kenyan-born'
    Michelle say Barack born in Kenya
    Obama's grandmother say he was born in Kenya
    Subject: OBAMA SAID approval ratings are still very high in the country of my birth.
    Message: INPEACH OBAMA TO THE WEAK-KNEED REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRAT
    obama people have no idea of the extent to which they have to be gulled in order to be led." "The size of the lie is a definite factor in causing it to be believed, for the vast masses of the nation are in the depths of their hearts more easily deceived than they are consciously and intentionally bad. The primitive simplicity of their minds renders them a more easy prey to a big lie than a small one, for they themselves often tell little lies but would be ashamed to tell a big one." "All propaganda must be so popular and on such an intellectual level, that even the most stupid of those towards whom it is directed will understand it. Therefore, the intellectual level of the propaganda must be lower the larger the number of people who are to be influenced by it." "Through clever and constant application of propaganda, people can be made to see paradise as hell, and also the other way around, to consider the most wretched sort of life as paradise. "pelosi don't see much future for the Americans ... it's a decayed country. And they have their racial problem, and the problem of social &^% ...obama feelings against Americanism are feelings of hatred and deep repugnance ... everything about the behaviour of American society reveals that it's half &^%, and the other half &^& How can one expect a State like that to hold TOGTHER.They include the angry left wing bloggers who spread vicious lies and half-truths about their political adversaries... Those lies are then repeated by the duplicitous left wing media outlets who “discuss” the nonsense on air as if it has merit… The media's justification is apparently “because it's out there”, truth be damned. State: *usa Obama chuckles at America*
    If YOU PASS THE NORTH KOREAN BORDER ILLEGALLY YOU GET 12 YRS HARD LABOR, YOU PASS THE AFGHAN BORDER ILLEGALLY YOU GET SHOT. Under the Mexican law, illegal immigration is a felony, punishable by up to two years in prison,Mexicans who help illegal immigrants are considered criminalsThere is no immigration allowed in China, India, Bangladesh, Russia, Japan, Cuba, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Syria, Turkey and MOST other countries YOU PASS THE AMERICAN BORDER ILLEGALLY YOU GET A JOB, DRIVER'S LICENSE, ALLOWANCE FOR A PLACE TO LIVE, HEALTH CARE, EDUCATION, BILLIONS OF DOLLARS SPENT SO YOU CAN READ A DOCUMENT. WE CARRY PASSPORTS IN OTHER COUNTRIES OR FACE JAIL TIME. REPOST THIS IF YOU AGREE!! ((STOP COMMUNIST OBAMA)) THE COMMANDER

  • ||

    I should think that taking away someone's paid-for flight for suspicion of terrorism is just as unconstitutional as not letting them own a firearm. (Not only right-to-travel but also due process should apply here, regardless of the notion that stopping someone flying is meant as a precaution rather than punishment.)

    The bottom line question is, how long are the American people going to put up with the government disregarding the Constitution because they say an "emergency" exists? If the answer to that question is "permanently" then we're already a fascist police state and we should be looking for places of exile. Or preparing to fight a civil war to re-establish our Constitutional form of government.

  • ||

    The NRA is so worried that any concessions to the 2nd amendment right to "bear arms" will open the floodgates to other exceptions.
    So they've gotten into the uncomfortable position of having the defend terrorist Nidal Hasan's right to buy the gun that killed 13 people.

    They claim that suspected terrorists should have the same rights as normal citizens. After all, they haven't committed a crime....yet.

    They claim if you want to take away a suspected terrorists right to own a weapon you have to try them first. find them guilty of a crime. Then you can stop them from buying a weapon

    That's pretty ridiculous because police violate people's rights all the time with "probable cause" and they arrest people for "reasonable suspicion"

    Reasonable suspicion is a legal standard in United States law that a person has been, is, or is about to be engaged in criminal activity based on specific and articulable facts and inferences.

    Nidal qualifies. The FBI had been following his email messages to extremist groups months before the killings.

    They should have arrested him. But of course the NRA would hold that he was still entitled to second amendment rights to own a gun in prison because...using their twisted logic...he was only a "suspected terrorist"

  • Scarpe Nike||

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