Yesterday, we posted on the dangerous push [mc_name name=’Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’R000146′ ] is making to close the “terrorist loophole” in our gun laws. It sounds terrible, right, that suspected terrorists would be allowed to by firearms.
That is, until you think about it.
The terrorist watch list that the Democrats are so anxious to use comprises well over a million names. In 2013, the Nation Terrorism Center celebrated the inclusion of the one-millionth person in the database. The fact that this was listed as the organizations top accomplishment — rather than, for instance, the number of arrests made from the list — tells you right away that this watch list is a typical government exercise in vacuuming data. National Review pulled together a lengthy review of the terrorism watch list. To cut to the chase, anyone can make their way onto the list by a Reasonable Suspicion standard. Reasonable Suspicion being, naturally, a suspicion that the listing agency thinks is reasonable. If you are a family member or associate of someone on the list, you, too can be entered on the watch list. You are not notified you are on the list. You have no way of contesting inclusion on the list.
And, because he is an idiot, [mc_name name=’Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’R000146′ ]’s deputy chief of staff, some douche named Adam Jentleson, lays out the end game behind this move:
.@charlescwcooke I believe people who DOJ judges to be intent on buying guns to commit terrorist acts shouldn’t be able to buy guns, yes.
— Adam Jentleson (@AJentleson) November 20, 2015
Anyone “DOJ judges to be intent on buying guns to commit terrorist acts shouldn’t be able to buy guns.” That should scare the living hell out of anyone with a brain. Let’s do a thought experiment and go to the listing requirement for organizations:
Suppose you are a member of a pro-life group (or even #BlackLivesMatter) and a member of your group gets involved in a physical altercation and is charged with assault. You have a violent act that could, under reasonable suspicion of the agency who reports you, be intended to intimidate people or influence government policy.
The FBI is in a partnership with a lot of left-wing advocacy groups that purport to identify “hate groups.” One, the Southern Poverty Law Center, has designated the Family Research Council such a group because it opposes homosexual marriage. How long before membership in that group becomes “reasonable suspicion” for entry onto the watch list?
This watch list has next to zero utility in preventing terrorism and unlimited potential to be used by an unscrupulous administration to harass and punish its enemies.
Is this the kind of power we want the DOJ to have?
Now Pete King.
Like the poor, Quislings will always be with us.
On its face, Pete King seems like an odd ally for [mc_name name=’Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’R000146′ ]. King, after all, protected IRA gunmen and terrorists who had sought refuge in the United States from being extradited to face justice.
Plausible deniability, in other words. But NorAid’s terror ties were hardly a secret. The Justice Department launched numerous probes of group leaders for smuggling weapons into Ulster (their boasts to the press might have been a tip-off), and in 1981, a federal judge ordered the group to list the IRA as its foreign principal, stating that there was “uncontroverted evidence” that NorAid was “providing money and services for other than relief purposes.”
Throughout all of this, King embraced a role not entirely unlike the one he plays today: a metaphorical bomb-thrower. He raised money for NorAid, spoke at its events, and tirelessly championed the anti-British cause. In 1985, he convened a press conference before the start of New York City’s St. Patrick’s Day parade (for which he was Grand Marshal), and offered a defiant defense of the IRA: “As we march up the avenue and share all the joy,” he declared, “let us never forget the men and women who are suffering and, most of all, the men and women who are fighting.” In an interview with the New York Times two years later, King put his role in historical context: “I’m the Ollie North of Ireland,” he declared.
British censors kept King off the airwaves (no small feat), and frequent newspaper profiles made note of his “militant” rhetoric, fierce support for the IRA, and prolific fundraising. So reviled was King across the pond that when New York’s archbishop dared to embrace King at the city’s St. Patrick’s Day parade, London’s Daily Maildedicated an entire editorial to the affair and called it the “handshake of shame.” Exchanging formalities with the then-comptroller of Nassau County, the paper explained, was tantamount to slapping terror on the back.
There’s little doubt, in other words, that King knowingly provided resources to the IRA. And through his close association with Sinn Fein’s Gerry Adams, the leader of the IRA’s political wing, he may have even provided coordinated advocacy: Congressman-elect King lobbied for Adams to be a guest at Bill Clinton’s inauguration.
But there are few bad ideas that King won’t embrace and this is one of them.
“It’s horrifying. It’s terrifying. This is a tragedy waiting to happen,” said Long Island U.S. [mc_name name=’Rep. Peter King (R-NY)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’K000210′ ] (R-N.Y.)
King exposed the loophole in federal gun laws that allow people on the FBI terrorist watch list to go legally into a gun store and buy handguns and assault weapons.
The watch list is not used when gun store owners do background checks, and in light of the Paris terror attacks this past Friday, King wants the law changed as soon as possible.
“This is an incredibly dangerous loophole,” King said. “We see all the potential threats and dangers that we have, and we’ve seen what’s happened in Paris. Don’t make it easier for them by allowing them to go into a gun shop and buy a gun.”
And King gets rave reviews from [mc_name name=’Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’P000197′ ]:
Reid’s remarks on Friday come after House Minority Leader [mc_name name=’Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’P000197′ ] (D-Calif.) touched on the same issue Thursday.
“Peter King, Republican Congressman, has a very important piece of legislation that would stop the sale of weapons to people who are on the terrorist-watch list. So averse are our colleagues to touching anything that has to do with guns. Hopefully, they will take up this bill because if we want to make the American people safer, that is one place we can start,” she told reporters.
Many years ago, Benjamin Franklin said, “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” If that were the case here, there could be an argument. But it isn’t. The terrorist watch list doesn’t make us safer. It is a useless bureaucratic exercise that subjects hundreds of thousands of persons with no connection to any militant or terrorist organization to increased government scrutiny. Using that list as a means to prevent people who are not charged with a crime from buying a firearm is nuts.
If these people on the list might be on the cusp of committing a violent act, conspiracy statutes are sufficient to arrest them before they buy a weapon.
What Reid is doing is trying to carve out an exception to the Second Amendment that would allow the Obama administration to label virtually anyone, or any number of people, it wished as being under “reasonable suspicion” and bar them from firearm ownership. It will do so while making no one a whit safer.
Peter King is going along with this because this is who he is and what he does.