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Senate Hearing Promotes Anti-American Watchlist

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Since September 11, 2001, it's been clear that terrorists who hate America will exploit our weaknesses in order to destroy us. On May 5, Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg exploited Americans' fear of terrorism to push their latest anti-gun proposal, and showed they're willing to destroy other parts of the Constitution to choke its Second Amendment.

The hearing, held by Sen. Lieberman's Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, gave Lautenberg and King the opportunity to promote their bills (S. 1317 and H.R. 2159) that would prohibit the possession of firearms by people on the FBI's "terrorist watchlist." Lautenberg's S. 2820 would maintain records of approved instant background check transactions for a minimum of 180 days. The watchlist bills further propose that a person seeking relief in court from these new restrictions would be prevented from examining and challenging "evidence" against him, and that the judge deciding whether the person had been watchlisted for good reason be limited to summaries and redacted versions of such "evidence."

A "fanatic" in his own right when it comes to gun control, Lautenberg claimed, "Nothing in our laws keeps fanatics on the terror watchlist from purchasing guns and explosives."

Lautenberg, of course, was lying and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., called him on it. Knowing that about 95 percent of people on the watchlist are neither American citizens nor legal residents of the United States, Graham pointed out that there are about 400,000 people on the watchlist. He then asked, "What percentage of them are American citizens?"

Lautenberg and his allies sat dumbfounded until Bloomberg's police commissioner, Ray Kelly, who dutifully took the punch so his boss wouldn't have to, sputtered that he was unable to come up with a figure. Since it was obvious that the anti-gunners didn't get the point, Graham clarified it for them: "The law prohibits the purchase of a gun unless you're an American citizen or a legal resident alien."

Lautenberg tried to justify his bill by claiming that people on the watchlist had been approved to buy guns. But his supporters had no response when Graham asked how many of these "terrorists" were dangerous enough to have been brought up on terrorism charges.

King falsely claimed that his bill was justified by last year's Fort Hood murders, "… where individuals [sic] suspected of terrorist activity legally obtained weapons that were used to kill innocent Americans." But the person accused of the Fort Hood crime was not "suspected of terrorist activity." Months before the accused killer bought his gun, the FBI had closed an investigation, concluding that despite exchanging suspicious e-mails with an anti-American Islamist overseas, he was not a terrorist threat.

Speaking against the proposed legislation during the hearing was Aaron Titus of the Liberty Coalition. "Senate Bill 1317 goes too far," he said. "The bill should be titled, ‘The Gun Owners Are Probably All Terrorists Act,' because it strips citizens of their constitutional right to bear arms without any meaningful due process. And Senate Bill 2820 should be called ‘The National Firearm Registry Act' because it creates a national firearms registry … a massive database of names and detailed personal information of each law-abiding citizen who purchases a gun."

Titus' point laid bare the intention of Lautenberg, King and Bloomberg. While S. 2820 would allow the FBI to retain NICS records on all NICS transactions, 99.99 percent of the people documented in those records would not be persons on the watchlist. "Every year," Titus said, "only 200 new watchlist records will be created. But the system will generate more than 14 million new records on law-abiding citizens. Once collected, there's no limit on what the information may be used for, and no legal requirement to ever delete it."

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