Justin Amash

Justin Amash: Let's Close Loophole That Lets U.S. Sell Guns to Syrian Rebels

Libertarian Congressman responds to President Obama's executive order on guns.


Gage Skidmore

While numerous skeptics of the idea that stronger gun control would meaningfully curb mass shootings or reduce murders have assailed President Obama's proposed executive action on guns as foolhardy, Rep. Justin Amash formulated a different criticism of the plan. He tweeted:

Perhaps an overlooked loophole in the gun debate is the one that permits the federal government to sell weapons to Syrian rebels without an up-to-date declaration of war against the opposing forces of ISIS and Bashar al-Assad.

As for violence in the U.S., Amash wrote that the government should focus on "conditions that lead to violence: mental health issues, lack of economic opportunity, unfair criminal justice system," rather than gun control.

Read Brian Doherty's February 2016 cover story on gun control and statistics here.

NEXT: Watch Matt Welch Talk Guns, Trump, Clinton, Cruz and 'Hate Speech' on Tonight's Kennedy

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  1. B-but we only sell to MODERATE extremists!! You know, the ones that hate Assad slightly more than they hate America!!

    1. How are we supposed to test our weapons properly if we don’t provide modern weapons to our future enemies first?

      1. The politicians can test the weapons on themselves first.

        1. The politicians who want to “control” guns tend to be fuzzy about which part of it goes bang. So testing it on themselves might mean accidentally shooting bystanders.

    2. Both of them.

    3. Can we then sell guns to only Moderate Americans without an id just like the Syrians who we have no idea who the hell they really are.

  2. Funding rebels is an act of war against Syria. Remember when Democrats were all about ending “illegal wars” and Reagan sending arms to rebels in Nicaragua was a big deal? Yeah neither do I.

    1. The United States long ago ceased to be a nation of laws. I don’t know why you don’t just relax and enjoy the show.

    2. Don’t worry. As soon as a Republican enters the White House, all the perpetual wars will become illegal again. And then when a Democrat gets back in we will have always been at war with Eastasia.

    3. War is only bad under BOOOOOOOSSHHHHHH ~!

    4. It’s like a tree falling in the forest when no one’s there.

      If the US goes to war, and a republican isn’t the president, does anyone notice?

  3. Obama did background checks on all those rebels, right? And he only gave them weapons with a legitimate hunting purpose like the Joe Biden Special Double Barrel 12-Gauge Shotgun?, right?

  4. I wonder, if you were to propose a bill that gave the President authority to use any and all military assets, anywhere in the world, at any time, for any purpose, at his sole discretion:

    would it pass by a 2/3 majority? 80% More?

    1. It’s called the War Powers Resolution and it’s already been (ab)used several times. Of course to square that act with the Constitution, the SC had to perform contortions similar to those seen in the Cirque de Soliel act “Avocat”.

  5. Let’s close the (economically) illiterate voter loophole.

    1. Great idea! We can ban libertarians and their free-market fantasies.

      /Typical prog.

    2. I’d settle for closing the economically illiterate politician loophole. We can start with Mr. $2 ATM fees, follow it up with Ms. Free College for Everybody, and end it with Mr. Dollars Spent on the Military are Never Misspent.

      The only ones left standing would be Gary Johnson and maybe Rand Paul.

    3. So end universal suffrage?

    4. Americans shouldn’t be paying $2 for something on the dollar menu.

  6. It will be a temporary power. You know, like the Romans did during a crisis.

    *wink wink nudge nudge*

    1. This was in reply to RC.

  7. But he cares so, so much! Didn’t you see him cry the other day?

      1. President Snivellus Obama!

  8. “Perhaps an overlooked loophole in the gun debate is the one that permits the federal government to sell weapons to Syrian rebels without an up-to-date declaration of war against the opposing forces of ISIS and Bashar al-Assad.”

    Could we specify what law has that “loophole” in it, exactly?

    When did arms exports by the State ever require a declaration of war against the other side, exactly?

    1. When the people receiving the arms are trying to overthrow that state?

    2. I’m pretty sure that the author is just using the term “loophole” in a snarky way since domestic gun-grabbers use it so often to refer to something that the law does not explicitly prohibit.

    3. The funny thing is, under ye olde definition of “war” (armed conflict between sovereigns), I don’t think fighting ISIS would necessarily count as one as they aren’t a sovereign state, but fighting the Syrian government would.

      We can sell guns to (recognized) governments to use against their enemies, and against internal rebels, because in those cases the government we sell to is a sovereign and we are not a party to their war. If we sell to rebels, though, the rebels become our proxies and we are at war.

      1. If we sell to rebels, though, the rebels become our proxies and we are at war.

        1985 called… it wants its notions back.

      2. I don’t think fighting ISIS would necessarily count as one as they aren’t a sovereign state,

        It seems to meet Weber’s definition of state, which (according to Wikipedia) is ” compulsory political organization with a centralized government that maintains a monopoly of the legitimate use of force within a certain territory.” (I’m pretty sure that the word “legitimate” in that definition means “legitimate in the eyes of those claiming state power,” otherwise arguing that a state (such as, say, apartheid South Africa, Afghanistan under the Taliban, Taiwan, Kosovo) lacks legitimacy would be tantamount to arguing that it isn’t a state at all.

  9. Justin Amash has obviously forgotten the core Progressive View on these issues.

    Killing one or two is a tragedy, killing millions is a statistic.

    1. You think this is just the Progressives? Because it isn’t. It is all of the elected officials who use war to help themselves.

  10. Mmmmmmmmmm, president Amash………

    1. This country has done exactly nothing to deserve that.

    2. Say it again. Say it slower, you slut.

  11. Let’s bring those guns back home for Americans.

    Syrian Rebels, I propose a deal. In exchange for the guns, I give you John McCain, Lindsey Graham, John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, and Barack Obama. You don’t need to let me know about their whereabouts or well being after the exchange.

    What you say? Not enough? OK, ALL of Congress except for Amash, Paul, Massie, and Cruz, and all the aforementioned. Deal?

    1. With that kind of firepower, they could destroy their government in no time!

  12. By libertarian do we mean another GOP prohibitionist birth forcer for Jesus?

    1. Something he said four Tuesdays ago kind of intersected with something libertarianish.

  13. The government shouldn’t be selling anything. Private weapons manufacturers should be free to sell to whoever they want the world over.

    1. If not for the government, who else is going to sell slavery to the state? There would be a huge untapped market!

  14. Have you guys seen this? A US tow missile used to destroy a US humvee. At least we are equal opportunity merchants of death by supplying both sides. We win twice!


  15. I do believe that is a burn.

  16. President Obama provides guns to Al Qaeda and ISIS because he considers them trustworthy allies in fighting oppressive government. But he doesn’t trust lawful American citizens with guns.

  17. I love this guy. I hope he winds up running for Governor in Michigan as a launching pad to the Presidency.

    1. ^^^^This.

      What I hate about Justin Amash, however, is that he dares me to hope; he strings me along on the promise that there are actually some people in government service who get it. He’ll probably come temptingly close several times to a nomination, just to string me along into my old age, at which point, one of the two teams will either kill him or get photos of him in some compromising position and I will simply end up on a ventilator, a broken man.

      Thanks, Amash.

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