Sunday, September 23, 2007

Laughtenberg Terrorist Gun Bill

I'd almost give this a hearing, except that Bloomberg is bellowing for it. That makes it more than a little suspect in my mind.
The bill, S. 1237 / H.R. 2074, was introduced by Sen. Lautenberg and Rep. Peter King (R-NY) and, for the first time, allows the Department of Justice to prohibit known and suspected terrorists from buying a gun. Currently, terror suspects are not prohibited from purchasing firearms. This bill gives the Justice Department the authority to block such purchases.

“It defies common sense that nothing in our gun laws prevents terror suspects from buying a firearm. This 'terror gap' in our gun laws has been open too long and my bill will close that gap,” said Sen. Lautenberg (D-NJ).

“One of the most glaring mistakes in preventing 9/11 was the government’s failure to share information and connect the dots,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “As you remember, 2 of the 19 hijackers were on a terrorist watch list, yet they were allowed to board an airplane. Today, suspected terrorists cannot fly – but they can still buy guns. We just can’t afford to wait for another attack to take these kinds of basic, common-sense precautions.”

Well, it might be a good idea if the country didn't have a thing called a constitution. Where did they get the idea that you can now punish people because you "suspect" that they are bad? Last I knew punishment could only come after a trial by ones peers.

And how is this common-sense? Last I heard the terror suspect list was a warning tool. It doesn't have any way of vetting the suspects. Hell, it's had children and politicians on it, yet they still are flying. Common sense would dictate that the list actually have vetted intelligence and some specificity to who exactly they are worried about rather than just a name.

No doubt that a terrorist can use guns to great effect, as was seen in Washington D.C. area Beltway snipers. But take a second and think this through. If they can't get them legally, what makes you think they won't have ways of using their network of sympathizers to assist them with a straw-purchase or just a plain old theft?
Currently, there are nine factors, such as status as a felon or evidence of serious mental health problems, under Federal law that disqualify an individual from buying a gun – but being a known or suspected terrorist is not one of those factors. The government is powerless to stop a gun sale to a terror suspect unless he also meets one of the nine disqualifying factors. The Lautenberg / King bill gives the Department of Justice the ability to use terror watch lists to prevent a terror suspect from purchasing a firearm from a licensed dealer. The bill also allows the Department of Justice to prevent known and suspected terrorists from working with explosives and from becoming a federal firearms license (FFL) holder. These DOJ determinations would be subject to judicial review and, under the bill, a suspect would have the opportunity to challenge the determination in federal court.
Challenge it in court? How will that work when you can't even challenge your name being on the terror suspect list now?

This is security theater at its worst. All we need now is some screeching harpy bellowing that it's for the children.

Go ahead and enact it. It is worthless and will remain so.

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