Terrorism

House Democrat Tries, Fails, to Use PATRIOT Act to Pass New Federal Gun Control Law

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In the wake of a Government Accountability Office report that 247 people on the FBI's terror watch list were permitted to purchase guns last year, Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Chicago) proposed an amendment to the PATRIOT Act that would prevent anyone on a terror list from buying a firearm. Republicans on the House Judiciary Committe voted down Quigley's amendment yesterday, arguing "that restricting sales to people on the watch list would violate the Second Amendment rights of those placed on the list by mistake." After you get your jaw off the floor, read Quigley's justification for his amendment: 

"Surely, we cannot look our constituents in the eye and tell them in good faith that we have decided to enact public policy that restrains some of their civil liberties for the greater good but that we refused to ask the same of suspected terrorists. I know we are smarter than that."

And then the testimony from Paul Helmke of the Brady Campaign:

"Osama bin Laden is dead, but the war on terror is far from over," Paul Helmke, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, said in a statement. "How can the Congress pretend to be serious about protecting the nation from terrorism, while voting to allow known terrorists to buy guns?" 

Here's the problem with calling everyone on the FBI's watch list a "terrorist": Many of them aren't

In May 2009, a report from the Inspector General for the Department of Justice found many records "for individuals who had originally been appropriately watchlisted but should have been removed from the watchlist after the case had been closed." On average, nearly two months passed between the time a person was cleared and when his or her name was removed from the watch list. "In one instance," the report reads, "we identified a former subject who remained watchlisted for nearly 5 years after the case had been closed." The report also found that some people were added to the watch list for specious reasons. 

Six months after the IG's report came out, the Washington Post reported that the FBI added roughly 1,600 entries to its watch list and ordered the removal of 600 names every single day. At one point, the ACLU hypothesized that there were more than a million names on the FBI's list. 

In an odd turn of events, the GOP seems more aware of these types of problems than they ever have, which explains why House leadership is having trouble whipping up the votes necessary for extending the PATRIOT Act fully entact. Democrats, meanwhile, want to use the bill to pass Trojan gun control laws. 

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  1. He was off to such a good start:

    Surely, we cannot look our constituents in the eye and tell them in good faith that we have decided to enact public policy that restrains some of their civil liberties for the greater good . . . .

    No, in fact you cannot.

    1. Here, have ten internets. *Hands RC ten internets.*

      Fucking statists.

    2. In a sane world, Mr. Quigley would be expelled from Congress for his “justification” to curb the people’s liberties.

      1. In a sane world, he’d have to spend two weeks with the other Mr. Quigley.

  2. Yes, because the federal government had the authority to enact the PATRIOT Act in the first place, has the authority to prolong its existence in law, and does not deserve to burn in eternal hellfire for its 100-year-long rape of the Republic. [/sarcasm, duh]

    So of course a Chicago Democrat’s going to try this. I’m not even surprised. I’m not even angry. It’s a politician from CHICAGO.

    1. ahhh…he’s kenyan dude remember. the best predictor is his anti-colonial, whatever, whatever

      1. he’s talkin chicago kenya

  3. I’m amazed that TEAM BLUE even bothers with the gun control shit any more.

    You lost, morons. Give it up.

    1. NEVER!!!!!!!!

      FOR TEH CHILLUNS!!!

  4. Wow, so the Dems are being “tough on terror” by advocating for gun control on this stupid list, and the GOP is suddenly concerned about civil liberties, well, except, not really, just in this incredibly narrow case.

  5. I might not be opposed to preventing people on the terrorist watch list from buying guns, if in fact, they are terrorists.

    If the list wasn’t such knee jerk bullshit, and was worthy of its title, Quigley might be on to something. But he’s not.

    1. yep nobody, nada, zip, no one on the list is or was a terrorist (slowly pounds head on wall)

      1. Better that a thousand innocent lose their liberties than one terrorist acquire a pistol, right?

        1. Better 10,000 inner city youths die than admit that there is a reasonable line to draw on gun rights?

          1. A man after my own mind. I alluz said we should take the darkies’ guns away.

          2. 10,000? Oh well…we’ll miss you!

          3. What’s your reasonable, Tony?

            1. There’s no reasonable here….what is important is that his Sunstein like “painfully caring” and “desperately commited” bona fides are on display for all to see!

            2. Depends on if we’re talking about my utopia or current reality. Let’s take the reality in which guns are supposedly allowed for the sake of hunting and self-defense. So any weapon with more firepower than is necessary for these purposes seems prudent to ban. I’m all for local differences in policy–what may be prudent for a rural county is not for an inner city.

              The point is there is always a line, even for you guys, since there is really no limit to the destructiveness of available arms.

              1. Tony in 2012: Come for the policy…ignore the reality!

                Really I would have thought you would have worked these issue out at Boys State.

              2. Because people from the city NEVER go out to the country to hunt or shoot recreationally. And who would this arbiter of “too much power for the application be”? Surely not a statist bureaucrat who isn’t accountable to voters. Right?

                The Bill of Righs is not an a la carte menu.

              3. Let’s take the reality in which guns are supposedly allowed for the sake of hunting and self-defense.

                Well, I’m glad you at least clarified in which imaginary reality you are basing you scenario. In THIS reality the Second prohibits the government from interfering with the peoples’ rights to keep and bear arms. The primary purpose of protecting that right is so that the people can participate in armed conflict against foreign invaders or a tyrannical government should it ever be necessary. A secondary purpose is for self defense against criminals. A tertiary benefit is that those arms may also be used for hunting. Read the Federalist Papers and the plentiful writings of the framers from the time that the Bill of Rights was being constructed. They were very clear on the intent of the Second.

                Since the arms, which the people may not be prohibited from keeping and bearing, are intended for military conflict, then it is prudent that those weapons must have adequate firepower to compete against, and, ideally, to overpower the arms of the opposing military force.

              4. So any weapon with more firepower than is necessary for these purposes seems prudent to ban.

                In other words, weapons not used by the police or the Secret Service.

          4. Yes Tony, because Chigcago, DC, and New York have the strictest gun control laws in the country and thus the murder rate among inner city youths in those cities are the lowest in the world!

          5. “”Better 10,000 inner city youths die than admit that there is a reasonable line to draw on gun rights?””

            All they have to do is stop shooting each other and that problem will go away.

            1. If they didn’t have guns, they wouldn’t shoot each other.

              1. No, they would stab each other, or beat each other with bats. But you probably don’t want to ban knives or bats. Meanwhile, a lot of people I know own guns. They haven’t shot anyone.

              2. Or perhaps steal guns from cops and shot each other.

              3. If they didn’t have guns, they wouldn’t shoot each other.

                And you do you propose to get the guns away from them and prevent them from having any more?

              4. If they didn’t have guns, they wouldn’t shoot each other.

                Yeah, and if people didn’t have cars, there would be no drunk drivers.

                If drivers didn’t have alcohol, there would be no drunk drivers.

                If there were no swimming pools, no kids would drown in them.

                If people didn’t have ladders, they wouldn’t fall off of them.

                Lots of “ifs” we can play with. I prefer to live in Realville, Actuality.

              5. If you give black people guns, they’re going to shoot each other, right Tony?

              6. When the call came to cut down the tall trees in Rwanda, a lack of guns did not matter one bit to the murdered.

          6. Better 10000 at the hands of criminals than millions in camps? Sure, why not?

        2. Right. Because that pistol-packing terrorist could easily cause a thousand innocents to lose their lives.

          1. I’ve lost the ability to tell when you people are serious anymore, but if staying alive(!) means handing you my freedom, I’ll take the alternative.

          2. “” Because that pistol-packing terrorist could easily cause a thousand innocents to lose their lives””

            Hell they don’t need a gun for that. All they need is some box cutters and a couple of planes.

            1. Hell, that might be why the feds are pushing high speed trains.

      2. Please, pound your head faster and harder. It can only make you smarter.

      3. Has anybody on the list been proven to be a terrorist? If they were, then why the fuck have they not been arrested and prosecuted?

        1. Many have been proven to be terrorists, arrested, and prosecuted. We just can’t tell the public about it. National security, you understand.

        2. The very fact they’re out there is good for business.

          Very good!

      4. “”yep nobody, nada, zip, no one on the list is or was a terrorist (slowly pounds head on wall)””

        Wow, you love to set a low bar. When they stop putting children on the list, get back to me.

        1. Or Senators a la Kennedy and the no-fly list.

          1. He did kill more people than most of the other people on the list.

  6. Hobgoblins! It’s continually baffling, how immune to the idea governments representatives seem to be- that they cause problems. The disconnect is great with this one.

  7. This is FANTASTIC news, because now I am going to watch patiently as the GOP applies this logic to the 4th amendment violating procedures that the “mistaken” names on that watchlist are still being subjected to all the time. The 4th amendment is still as important as the 2nd, right? Right…?

    1. Give me some of the shit you’re smoking. Whatever it is, it’s got to be great if that’s what it’s leading you to even THEORIZE about.

  8. How many amendments to the Constitution is he violating here? Definitely the Second. And the Fifth. Maybe the First, though that’s an extreme stretch.

  9. Democrats, meanwhile, want to use the bill to pass Trojan gun control laws.

    Never let a (Congress enacted) crisis go to waste.

    1. You should alway rap your gun in a trojan.

      1. It helps keep the sand out.

  10. Here is an idea! Let’s put all of my political opponents on the Terrorism Watch List! That way we can take away their 2nd Amendment rights, disarm them all and then I can rule for life!

    1. Easy there, Fidel. We’ve got to bitch about American rock music hitting our shores first.

    2. Shhh! You’re giving away the game plan! We’ve been holding off on exploding this list until after this passes.

      1. Hey how come you got the short school bus hair cut?

        You go to Blagos’ barber or what?

  11. Now this is “gun control”.

  12. The report also found that some people were added to the watch list for specious reasons.

    Makes me wonder which Watch List is the won they’re actually using. I mean, the DHS/TSA has a ‘watch list’, which as far as I know is probably derived from the ‘main’ FBI list, but i’m just guessing… (dewived?)

    I was on the watch list for a while, as you may know. Cause of *this guy*

    I didn’t really mind being mistaken for a brilliant, hi-tech millionaire civil liberties activist, except for the hassles at the airports when I had to explain to the check-in chicks how the DHS clearance process worked and to call X number and give them my passport # . Sometimes I could actually *speed* my processing through airports by playing the Watch List card right. If you do it right, they’ll put you on a freaking golf cart and skip you through the check-in and security lines and take you to the VIP screening, baby. A few times I just got ‘prioritized’, which almost never meant any special security treatment, just allowed to breeze through the lines. I felt *special* being mistaken for someone of some kind of importance, and I think it translated into some kind of grudging respect from the airport security bureaucracy. They’d be like, “On the list, huh? How about that. My cousin told me she was on the list but I think she just makes stuff up to feel special. You need help with that?” Fucking mistaken-terrorist royalty.

    Of course, it wasn’t always like that. Before I figured out how to deal with the process I missed some flights and got into a few unproductive discussions. Once had to sleep-over in a terminal in Atlanta. One memorable time i was interrogated by senior-citizen airport security in Palm Springs (*they were initially hostile and suspicious of my *irish*-sounding name… then they were so excited that this was their first-ever Watch List Suspect Takedown, they spent like 2 hours re-reading the regulations and process… I think one went to the bathroom 3 times while telling me about ‘a few decent irishfolk’ he once knew… i almost missed my flight).

    Deciding the merits of notoriety had worn away, I finally went through the TRIPS process… here =

    http://www.dhs.gov/files/progr…..19316.shtm

    After you fill out a bunch of forms and xerox copies of every ID you have, they send you a letter saying they “neither affirm nor deny you may or may not have been on any ‘list’, and that you may or may not have any future problems, but if you do, they won’t know whether it’s because you are or aren’t on the list, so don’t bother asking, it’s possible you’re on someone else’s list now, and they aren’t responsible for whether you were or weren’t ever on any ‘list’. Thank you for shopping at The Government! Have a nice day.”

    I kept a copy of the letter. Its so awesome. I got it messy and I mailed them and asked for another copy. That came fast! At least they seem to be good at paperwork.

    Maybe a year later I tried playing the Watch List VIP and it came up blank. I went, “Awww. Really?… Oh, I mean, great, right….” At least I can use E-Tickets now.

  13. I think the funniest take away from my sitch is that the OTHER Gilmore was made a ‘terrorist’ by suing the TSA over the very question of *ID requirements*. I mean, there’s something very Paul Auster, ‘City of Glass’ going on here. Or The Trial. Or Brazil. Definitely very literary shit. The whole questioning identity sort of thing, the catch-22 kind of arbitrary bureaucracy taking on its own life… with lots of getting drunk in airports. Mistaken identity is a pretty Shakespearean-ish device too. I think there’s definitely a low-budget off broadway play waiting to happen here. or maybe Jim Jarmusch would be interested.

    1. Thanks for sharing, GILMORE. I always wondered how they handled things for people who were mistakenly on the list.

      The only experience I could ever compare it to was being detained by the police a couple times for warrants, because my asshole career criminal brother once used my name as an alias. The first time wasn’t too bad, the deputy just let me sit on a bench while we waited for my brother’s probation officer to show up and say I wasn’t him. The worst part of that stop was the fact that it happened while I was on a date.

      The second time though was in Miami and the cop was a dick. I showed him my drivers licence, military ID, and student ID; and pointed out that my tattoos were completely different than the ones listed on the warrants. He still cuffed me and put me in the back of his cruiser for an hour until a sergeant showed up and released me after asking if I knew where my brother was.

  14. If they didn’t have guns, they wouldn’t shoot each other.

    So if there was just a law against owning guns in Chicago or New York or DC those inner city kids wouldn’t be shooting each other.

    Wait, there’s already a law against owning guns in Chicago or New York or DC.

    Also, it’s interesting that you think that people who have absolutely no scruples about committing murder would stop and say, “If only I had a gun. Oh, no, there’s a law against that, I won’t kill that motherfucker after all.”

  15. Was anyone else reminded by this of the list-making scene in Julius Caesar?

    “With a spot, I damn him.”

    1. Actually I was humming the one from The Mikado.

  16. The Politico article notes that the Republican cadetship is having trouble getting votes to extend the expiring PATRIOT Act provisions (the sunset requirement being Dick Armey’s last gift, in the hope that a future Congress would be more sensible).

    It will still pass, because enough Democrats will vote for it as Obama instructs.

    For some reason, Politico considers this an embarassment to the GOP, not the Dems and Obama.

  17. Chicago wants gun control pretty badly. I think the feds should disarm all their police and city officials so they can fully experience the peace and security of a totally gun-free city.

    1. No shit. What’s the point of having a gun-free paradise if only certain segments are allowed to brandish and use them?

  18. And the first district they should enact this policy is that phaggot Quigley’s.

  19. Wait a minute. Republicans had no problem forcing all of the people seeking compensation for 9-11 first responders from being denied said compensation if their name was on the terrorist watch list (adding insult to injury to those harmed on 9-11). I oppose the stupid gun control law, but don’t act like republicans are in the right here, because they’re not. they’re just pandering to their NRA pimps, not doing what’s right because it’s right.

    1. So just because TEAM RED’s being tribalist douchebags about it, is that reason to ignore that, from a standpoint of principle, what Quigley did was garbage?

      What kind of equivocating bullshit are you pushing?

  20. The report also found that some people were added to the watch list for specious reasons.

    Say it ain’t so!

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