Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

APPEARS IN News

Why NRA Opposes Gun Control Supporters` "Terrorist Watchlist" Bills

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Some believe that S. 34 (Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J.) and H.R.1506 (Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y.) are intended to prevent “terrorists” from buying guns. Here’s what the bills really propose:

  • That a person who is not otherwise prohibited from buying a firearm, and who therefore would otherwise pass a National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) check, could still be prohibited from acquiring a firearm if he is on the FBI’s watchlist.
  • That once a person is told that he is on the watchlist, he would be subject to a 10-year prison sentence for a gun already possessed, even if he has been placed on the watchlist by mistake, or for a minor or unsubstantiated reason.
  • That a person who goes to court to challenge his placement on the watchlist would not be informed of the specific suspicions or allegations upon which his watchlisting is based.
  • That the person’s challenge to his watchlisting would be decided by a judge, not a jury.
  • That the judge would not be allowed to consider all of the available evidence.

Objections to the Bills

  • As the name suggests, the “watchlist” is not limited to people guilty of “terrorism”1 or who are suspected of other acts serious enough to warrant their arrest. It broadly includes people “known or reasonably suspected to be or have been engaged in conduct constituting, in preparation for, in aid of, or related to terrorism,”2 including those only “being preliminarily investigated to determine whether they have links to terrorism” and those “for whom the FBI does not have an open terrorism investigation.”3
  • A person accused of serious wrongdoing has the right to know what he has been accused of, to offer evidence in his defense, and to be judged by a jury. A constitutionally protected right cannot be taken away on the basis of a secretive or unsubstantiated accusation. A judge should be allowed to consider evidence which may support the innocence of the accused.
  • S. 34 and H.R. 1506 are aimed primarily at law-abiding American gun owners. Ninety-five percent of watchlisted persons are already prohibited from acquiring firearms in the U.S., because they are not U.S. citizens or legal resident aliens. (See below.)
  • NICS already checks the relevant portion of the watchlist, and denies firearms to watchlisted persons who are prohibited from possessing firearms. Tellingly, S. 34’s and H.R. 1506’s sponsors could not name a single gun crime committed by a watchlisted person who purchased a firearm after passing a NICS check. (See below.)
  • As D.C.’s and Chicago’s handgun bans have proven, prohibiting the possession of firearms doesn’t stop criminals from illegally acquiring them.
  • There would be an enormous potential for abuse, if the FBI were given arbitrary power over a constitutionally-protected right. This would be true even if the FBI had an unblemished record where civil rights are concerned.

The troubling DHS-FBI “rightwing extremism” report4
There’s a concern that the FBI might watchlist a person as a “suspected terrorist” on dubious grounds. In 2009, the Department of Homeland Security, in coordination with the FBI, said that “rightwing extremists” prone to “confrontations” with “government authorities” could include:

  • Americans who have fought in the Global War on Terrorism;
  • Americans who are concerned about issues such as abortion, immigration, the economy, our loss of jobs overseas, including the loss of America’s manufacturing base to China and India, the decline of our construction industry, and home foreclosures;
  • Americans who disagree with the policies of the Obama Administration and who encourage others to disagree with such policies, or who believe in federalism;
  • Americans who post their political opinions on the Internet;
  • Americans who oppose gun control and who, in anticipation of a new push for federal gun control, buy firearms and ammunition;
  • Americans who disagreed with the Brady Act and semi-automatic firearm ban, and the FBI’s and BATFE’s actions at Ruby Ridge, Idaho, and Waco, Texas, in the 1990s; and
  • Americans whose religious beliefs hold that there will occur a time of hardship accompanied by the rise of unscrupulous or evil political leaders.

95 percent of people on the watchlist are already prohibited from buying firearms
As of September 2008, there were about 420,000 persons on the watchlist.5 About 95 percent were already prohibited from buying firearms, because they were not U.S. citizens or legal resident aliens.6 The GAO has reported that only about 650 watchlisted persons sought 1,228 NICS checks between Feb. 2004 and Feb. 2010,7 and 11 percent of their checks were disapproved.8

Consider the source: S. 34 and H.R. 1506 are sponsored by gun control extremists

Lautenberg and King have voted to ban semi-automatic firearms and to drive gun shows out of business.9 Lautenberg’s S. 2820 during the previous Congress would have allowed the FBI to register gun owners by permanently retaining people’s approved NICS firearm transaction records. His current S. 35 would register gun owners by requiring those attending gun shows to sign ledgers handed over to the federal government. Demonstrating the depth of Lautenberg’s and King’s interest in stopping “terrorists” from buying guns, during Senate hearings on their bills last year they professed to be unaware that 95 percent of watchlisted persons already cannot buy guns legally, and unaware whether any crimes had been committed by the few watchlisted people who have purchased guns after a NICS check.10

1. Essentially, 18 USC 2331 defines “terrorism” as acts dangerous to human life, designed to coerce the civilian population or affect the policy of government.
2. FBI Terrorist Screening Center, “Frequently Asked Questions.”
3. Department of Justice, Office of the Inspector General, Audit Division, “The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Terrorist Watchlist Nomination Practices,” Executive Summary, May 2009.
4. DHS Office of Intelligence and Analysis Assessment, Extremism and Radicalization Branch, Homeland Environment Threat Division, coordinated with the FBI, “Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment,” April 7, 2009. After the report was strongly criticized, DHS pulled it from its website. However, it may be viewed here.
5. Note 3, p. ii, footnote 4, “The TSC estimated that, as of September 9, 2008, the total number of unique individuals on the watchlist was approximately 400,000.”
6. Source of the 95 percent figure: FBI Terrorist Screening Center, Watchlist Facts. Firearm prohibition law:18 USC 922(g). 18 USC 922(y)(2) provides exceptions for an alien with a nonimmigrant visa, for hunting and sports.
7. GAO, “Terrorist Watchlist Screening: The FBI Has Enhanced Its Use of Information from Firearm and Explosive Background Checks to Support Countereterrorism Efforts,” GAO-10-703T, May 5, 2010, p. 5.
8. NICS disapproves the purchase of a firearm by 10 categories of prohibited persons under 18 USC 922(g) and (n).
9. Lautenberg and King have NRA vote record ratings of F and D, respectively; 32 of their 35 co-sponsors are F-rated.
10. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, hearings on “Terrorists and Guns: The Nature of the Threat and Proposed Reforms,” May 5, 2010.
TRENDING NOW
Stealing Rights and Property in Steel City? Pittsburgh Reportedly Considering Sweeping Gun Control

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Stealing Rights and Property in Steel City? Pittsburgh Reportedly Considering Sweeping Gun Control

The NRA has received copies of what are reported to be draft ordinances being considered by the Pittsburgh City Council to enact sweeping gun control measures within the city.

California Department of Justice Releases First Set of Proposed Ammunition Sales Regulations

Friday, December 14, 2018

California Department of Justice Releases First Set of Proposed Ammunition Sales Regulations

Today, the California Department of Justice released the first in a series of regulatory proposals regarding the mandatory background check process when purchasing ammunition, which is scheduled to take effect on July 1, 2019.

News Flash: Michael Bloomberg Not a Fan of the First Amendment, Either

News  

Friday, December 14, 2018

News Flash: Michael Bloomberg Not a Fan of the First Amendment, Either

Michael Bloomberg, former NYC mayor and billionaire patron of the Nanny State, may be gearing up for the presidential race in 2020. He gave the idea of running as an independent candidate “serious consideration” in ...

Pittsburgh Mayor Declares Intent to Ban Guns in Violation of State Law

News  

Friday, December 14, 2018

Pittsburgh Mayor Declares Intent to Ban Guns in Violation of State Law

Yesterday, we reported that it was likely that sweeping gun control measures would be proposed in Pittsburgh. Today, Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto held a press conference to propose a trio of anti-gun city ordinances that, if enacted, would constitute ...

Guns and Taxes

News  

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Guns and Taxes

David Hogg wants a federal tax on firearms and ammunition. He has repeatedly broached the idea, including multiple times on Twitter, and only sometimes suggests a use for the tax revenue. Hogg’s tweets on a ...

Misleading Headlines and the Murder Rate

News  

Friday, December 14, 2018

Misleading Headlines and the Murder Rate

We hear a lot about “fake news.” We regularly see data miscoded and statistics misused. What we have seen several times over the last several months does not really fit any of those categories.

Washington: Anti-Gun Group Announces 2019 Agenda

Friday, December 7, 2018

Washington: Anti-Gun Group Announces 2019 Agenda

On December 5th, the Alliance for Gun Responsibility, a group backed by out-of-state elites, announced it will pursue its most extreme anti-gun legislative agenda to date during the upcoming 2019 Washington Legislative Session.

More Proof That Being a “Celebrity” Does Not Make You Smart

News  

Thursday, December 6, 2018

More Proof That Being a “Celebrity” Does Not Make You Smart

In a November 30 tweet, Tom Arnold, famous for being married to Roseanne Barr and making a few really bad movies, has proven that he knows nothing about guns, gun owners or firearm misuse.

“This Hollow Display of Security” – Canada’s Liberal Government Presses for Even More Gun Control

News  

Friday, December 14, 2018

“This Hollow Display of Security” – Canada’s Liberal Government Presses for Even More Gun Control

Speaking in Montreal this month on the anniversary of the 1989 Ecole Polytechnique tragedy, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau confirmed his government’s plans to further restrict legal access to handguns and “assault weapons” and refused to rule ...

Checks and Balances? Massachusetts Executive Branch Flouts Court Orders on Firearms Licenses

News  

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Checks and Balances? Massachusetts Executive Branch Flouts Court Orders on Firearms Licenses

The U.S.’s republican form of governance is predicated on co-equal branches of government that check and balance each other in order to preserve individual liberty. The system does not work when one branch simply ignores ...

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -

More Like This From Around The NRA

NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.