Watch lists, guns and government

The secret government “Terrorist Watch List,” reportedly already swelled to more than 1.1 million names, will have an addendum, if gun control advocates in Congress have their way. This new addendum — also to be cloaked in secrecy — would empower the U.S. Attorney General to deny a person the ability to exercise their Second Amendment rights to purchase a firearm.

While it is not surprising that some members of Congress are again using fear of terrorism to implement a gun-control agenda, the openly unconstitutional legislative language proponents are employing is troubling.

Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) is leading the effort in the Senate, while another well-known gun control advocate — Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) — is directing the House initiative. They have introduced identical bills — the “Denying Firearms and Explosives to Dangerous Terrorists Act of 2009.” This proposal would give the attorney general the power to unilaterally and in secret develop a watch list of persons believed to be unworthy of possessing a firearm or any explosive.

This new “dangerous terrorist” watch list would include names based not on hard evidence of criminal activity, but on nothing more than the subjective conclusion by the attorney general that a person is “appropriately suspected” (whatever that means) of engaging in some manner of assisting or preparing for acts of domestic or international terrorism. The American people would never be privy to what criteria might be employed by the attorney general to determine whether someone is an “appropriate suspect,” and they would have no way of knowing why they might be denied the ability to purchase a firearm.

If a person were to be refused “permission” to purchase a firearm or explosive, and if they subsequently filed a lawsuit in federal court to find out why, the government still could keep such information secret. In other words, the attorney general could deny a U.S. citizen the ability to own a firearm, and never have to give the reason.

For legislators like Lautenberg and King, who apparently have absolute faith in unelected government officials to make the right decisions for the right reasons at the right times (and never be required to explain those decisions), one has only to consider the checkered history of post-9/11 “terrorist” watch lists to see the folly of such perspective. Stories abound of persons denied the ability to board a commercial aircraft, or greatly delayed in being allowed on board, for no reason other than their name erroneously appeared on some “watch list.” Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.), and Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), have been among this not-so-elite group.

A report earlier this year by the FBI’s inspector general chronicled extensive internal problems with the terrorist watch list maintained by that agency. The IG found numerous examples of inaccuracies, incomplete entries, out-of-date information and inclusion of information “unrelated to terrorism.” While the inconvenience of not being able to board an airliner for a business trip or a vacation can be a real headache, being refused the ability to purchase a firearm to protect one’s life clearly raises the stakes.

The government already has remedies already at its disposal to keep firearms out of the hands of known or suspected terrorists. Under existing federal law, there are numerous categories of persons prohibited from purchasing or possessing firearms; including persons in violation of immigration laws, convicted felons, illicit drug users and others. And if a person truly is a known or suspected terrorist, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives — as the federal law enforcement agency primarily responsible for enforcing the nation’s gun laws — certainly should be made aware of that information. We don’t need a secret, anti-Second Amendment watch list to implement effective law enforcement in America.

124 comments Add your comment

electrician

June 29th, 2009
7:49 am

sounds like the old ‘politics of fear’ thing to me, only now we are scared of ourselves,it’s a well reported fact that gun sales have been on the rise since Obama took over, same as they have done anytime new, more restrictive legislation has been proposed. what to do then about the thousands of guns legally purchased during this recent spike in sales? Doe’s the ‘watch list’ start when and if this legislation is passed or is it retroactive? the potential for abuse here is staggering, not to mention the open ended ambiguity…BEWARE.

buckley

June 29th, 2009
8:11 am

I won’t be buying anymore firearms.I have enough.

Andrew Thompson

June 29th, 2009
8:25 am

This is just one more way the government is “watching over us”, trying to keep us under day by day control. Americans now have little time to defend and protect what is left of our rights before they become nothing but a memory of better times.

The whole system of family law, child support and intrusion into parental rights has become the most powerful tool in their hands. Let’s fight back while there’s time left!

http://thompsonlaw-in.com
http://familylawandfathers.com

bob

June 29th, 2009
8:31 am

As long as gov does not try to listen to a terrorist in Irag, talk to a terrorist in Yemen, everything else is just fine.

TW

June 29th, 2009
8:33 am

The staus quo, which Mr. Barr apparently favors, has allowed nine out of ten on the present list to puchase guns.

Besides, why not let the dems have a shot at driving the ‘fear of terrorism’ train? After all, while the GOP had the lead they used it to invade a country that had nothing to do with terrorism, as well as line the pockets of their buds at Blackwater, Halliburton, etc.

What do Mr. Barr and the GOP have against the average American citizen?

Michael

June 29th, 2009
8:56 am

Until we come to grips with the real criminals of 9/11 this country will continue to live in the Twilight Zone, with watch-lists, ID cards, USA PATRIOT Acts, and a ballooning of our Police State. Terrorist watch lists are merely another step towards checkpoints, papers, and totalitarianism. Bob, I haven’t heard you calling for a true investigation into the events of 9/11. Where is your voice on this?

“We have met the enemy, and he is us.”

lanerlaw

June 29th, 2009
9:04 am

Another reason to cringe next week when all the people around me sind songs proclaiming they live in the land of the free….all the while they support any politician that wants to take away their freedom, except their freedom to watch whatever tv show or movie they want or freedom to have piercings or tattoos and freedom to drink beer on the weekend. Otherwise they could care less.

Jimbo

June 29th, 2009
9:05 am

Look, if you don’t want them to have guns and explosives TW, then charge them with a felony and convict them. If they aren’t felons (and don’t meet one of the other numerous restrictions) then leave them alone. We’re supposed to believe in the idea that we’re all innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. Worse that list is prone to false positives. As for the dems running the fear train over the GOP, is that where we’re at? Do two wrongs, or six wrongs, or a thousand wrongs really make a right? What are you? 12?

jconservative

June 29th, 2009
9:15 am

The Bush administration raped the Fourth Amendment for eight years. Reason – to protect us from terrorists. Why would anyone be surprised that the current congress would try to rape the Second Amendment in an attempt to protect us from terrorists. “Those who willingly give up their liberties in the name of security deserve neither.”

Will Jones - Atlanta

June 29th, 2009
9:16 am

Well, not really “us.”

The enemy of America is just what Our Founder, Thomas Jefferson, said it is: “an engine for enslaving mankind,” “the real Anti-Christ.”

Rome’s “Fifth Column” is the enemy “within,” and until we confront the proven fact that Bush and Cheney committed 9/11, bring them to justice and expropriate and extirpate their sectarian, treasonous faction, Mafia bagmen like Lautenberg and King will continue to do Rome’s work: attempting to “extinguish our Light from the West,” “which ignited a volcano under the thrones of Europe:” king and pope.

Read the Founders’ prophetic wisdom. The Library of America edition of “Jefferson’s Writings” is excellent but the “Jefferson Cyclopedia” is available for free on-line.

Also free on-line is the sedulous proof of Bush’s and Cheney’s 9/11 treason, “The New Pearl Harbor,” patriotically donated after millions of copies were sold for $15 each, by its publisher, and author, a scholar of proven integrity, Emeritus Professor David Ray Griffin, PhD.

http://www.angelfire.com/biz/hankramey/The%20New%20Pearl%20Harbor.pdf

Politicians and pundits who fail to confront the proven truth of treason, or anything else, are unworthy of the American People’s trust.

JF McNamara

June 29th, 2009
9:16 am

This law probably goes too far. I don’t have a problem with tracking, but everyone should be able to buy a gun as deemed by the 2nd ammendment. If you aren’t a felon, then the government should have no say in this.

electrician

June 29th, 2009
9:16 am

TW..the dems knew where the train was going, and they all bought a ticket, its like a bucket of red and blue marbles mixed together,you cant pour out just one color.

Matt

June 29th, 2009
9:17 am

TW, it’s nothing against the average citizen, in fact its the opposite. Taking away rights based on some secret government list that they won’t tell you who’s on, why, or even discuss how to get off the list is downright fascist. Remember that “A man that would trade a little liberty for security deserves neither”. I’m perfectly fine with keeping guns out of criminal hands but to do so under a veil of secrecy or in a manner that violates the rights of law abiding citizens that has no due process recourse it absolutely un-American.

jconservative

June 29th, 2009
9:23 am

Where in the Constitution does it say that a felon cannot own a weapon?

Jessica

June 29th, 2009
9:32 am

TW, I don’t see how defending constitutional rights is against the interests of the average American citizen. If our government can so easily take away this particular right because someone *might* be dangerous, what’s to stop it from stripping away other rights?
You might want to review your world history to see what happes to average citizens when their leaders don’t respect their rights. We can’t allow our federal government to ignore the rule of law or act secretly against Americans.
This really has nothing to do with partisan interests or corporate greed. Don’t be so willing to throw away your freedom just because you are still angry at a bunch of people who aren’t even in power anymore.

wbk

June 29th, 2009
9:44 am

I believe we should lose the right to free press, speech, and the right to assembly but keep our second ammendment rights.

jabster

June 29th, 2009
10:07 am

The one thing you have to remember is that government means never having to say you’re sorry.

wbk

June 29th, 2009
10:08 am

Will Jones – Atlanta :
Have another glass of koolaid!!

JT Hayes

June 29th, 2009
10:09 am

to JF McNamara:
If a convicted felon has served their time and been deemed safe enough to be released back into the population, I feel they should be safe enough to be allowed to posses firearms for self defense. If not, why are they not locked up?? Please keep in mind that many felonies are “mala per se” actions that harm nobody but have been declared by the government to be crimes. Are the families of reformed check forgers any less deserving of protection than mine?

[...] Bob Barr cuts through the rhetoric about Lautenberg’s civil rights destroying bill that would ….  I’m glad he’s using his MSM soap box to get the truth out there.  I suspect even Americans who aren’t gun people would be more than a little disturbed about the idea of the government limiting constitutional rights based on secret lists. [...]

sane jane

June 29th, 2009
10:11 am

jconservative hit the nail on the head. If you only object to tyranny “when the other guy does it”, you’re simply another partisan sheeple.

Obama may be storming the castle, but it was the Bush Administration that first kicked the door in.

dgroy

June 29th, 2009
10:21 am

“We don’t need a secret, anti-Second Amendment watch list to implement effective law enforcement in America.” No we don’t Bob Barr, A Great American. As the saying goes, “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people. I truly believe there aren’t enough smart people working in our government that they can come up with a plan to reduce violence caused by guns. I have three guns in my possession that will never be taken away from me alive. I love my country and I will defend it against those out there that are hell bent on taking all our rights away. Given the sad state of our government bureauracracy, those rights that we all hold so dearly, will be stripped away in the next two decades.

Copyleft

June 29th, 2009
10:27 am

I notice that the recent Supreme Court ruling on privacy issues went unmentioned here on Barr’s blog. Which leads me to the question…

Does Barr’s blog focus entirely on guns because that’s all that Mr. BARR cares about… or just because he knows it’s all his AUDIENCE cares about?

Hell is Other People

June 29th, 2009
10:36 am

I suspect the protests in Iran would look much different if the citizenry had guns.

electrician

June 29th, 2009
10:45 am

copyleft at 10;27..,does the fact that barr didn’t address the privacy issue you mention in any way invalidate this discussion? your tactic is an expansion of the “you don’t say what I like to hear all the time so you are not credible’ school of thought that has stalled meaningful discussion of important topics for far too long.

Copyleft

June 29th, 2009
10:48 am

Electrician: You mean, like how the talk-radio drones always analyze what President Obama DIDN’T say in his speeches, rather than what he DID? I agree.

The point I was making is that Mr. Barr seems to post ONLY about gun issues, while claiming to be a broad-spectrum libertarian. I was simply curious if that’s his own pet obsession, or a reflection of what his audience really wants.

Boomer

June 29th, 2009
10:49 am

I’d like my cousin Chris placed on this list.

Boomer

June 29th, 2009
10:51 am

R.I.P. Billy Mays.

JT Hayes

June 29th, 2009
10:58 am

Sorry, my bad.
My comment should have read
“Please keep in mind that many felonies are not “mala per se” actions such as rape, murder and arson of an occupied building, but rather “mala prohibida” actions that harm nobody, yet have been declared by the government to be crimes.
A better example would have been is the family of a person who relied on IRS advice to file income taxes and was convicted of felony tax evaslon/fraud. Is that family any less deserving of protection than mine? If not, there should be no prohibition against firearm possession.

woodie

June 29th, 2009
11:05 am

These kinds of Big Brother acts are disturbing indeed. I find it hard to believe there are 1.1 million terrorists in the U.S. We need to pare this list to something more realistic. Then we can discuss denying constitutional right to bare arms or denying passage on airplanes.

the evil rich

June 29th, 2009
11:08 am

I don’t know about you, but I am FOR any list that gives grief to Teddy “I dove and dove” Kennedy and John “what have I done in the past 40 years” Lewis.

Stu Strickler

June 29th, 2009
11:11 am

So they are going to put me on another list! I believe in God, guns, and am a prolife Veteran of 30 years service. No Attorney General is going to stop me from owning or carry firearms! Some people like Lautenburg think that passing more idiot laws will solve the problem. That would be the wrong answer Senator!

electrician

June 29th, 2009
11:15 am

copy left at 10;48….you wont get any disagreement from me on the talk radio business. I stopped listening to them a long time ago. as far as barr’s obsession with gun issues, 3 out of the last 20 of his postings address guns,whether or not that is excessive is definable only by ones own perception,as far as the audience, these folks can argue anything.

A McBeth

June 29th, 2009
11:44 am

Copyleft, the issue of the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (not just firearms either) is central to the libertarian’s concept of individual freedom, and a central premise of the Founders of this country. It is what protects our other rights, and those opposed to it indicate they are interested first in controlling others lives and takin their freedoms. Repressive GOVERNMENTS have killed more of their own citizens after implementing ‘gun control’ than have died in all the wars and other crimes combined. Look up ‘Democide’ on google.

Dave

June 29th, 2009
12:00 pm

The real issue should be about purging this terrorist watch list to fix it. We all know there are not 1 million terrorists known by the government agencies chances are it is no more than a few thousand at the max. They need to get it down to this amount so that the TSA can concentrate on really finding unknown terrorists not on this list. It is just plain stupid to look at the same people over and over and over again never taking people off the list only adding to it. Having a similar names is not a realistic way to find terrorists because we all people will just use aliases with false IDs anyway rather than their real name.

Terry

June 29th, 2009
12:05 pm

The day I am “Disallowed” the right to purchase a firearm,with no explanation, no criminal record, no offenses of any kind with the LE agencies, because of this list…..

Is the day, they will fullilled the old adage.

“If your thought to be a thief, accused of being a thief, you MAY as well be a thief’, comes to mind.

Face it folks, we are being put thru the SAME stages that caused Fascism to become the system of the day, in Hitler’s Germany.

Guilty until proven innocent……………..

Patick Henry

June 29th, 2009
12:51 pm

“”Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) is leading the effort in the Senate, while another well-known gun control advocate — Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) — is directing the House initiative.”"

Me thinks former President Bush had it right when commenting upon the general matter.. “the Terrorists hate us for our Freedoms”

Yours in Observing Secret Lists as Rational Basis for Denial of Natural Rights equates to an Affront to Due Process by Tyrants (under the Color of Law),

Patrick Henry

Chris Broe

June 29th, 2009
12:51 pm

Support the troops or the terrorists win, Bob. If you don’t like this country, then go to china. We have to fight them there so we don’t have to fight them here. Remember the Maine. Buy Bonds. Loose lips sinks ships. Saddam Hussein met in Casablance at Rick’s Cafe with Osama Bin Laden to give him Victor Laslo’s exit visas so he could send the 911 guys into this country. Mission Accomplished!

Go soak your head.

Funny moment: no matter what the issue, someone always brings up Der Fuerher. Always.

Richard Feldman

June 29th, 2009
1:02 pm

Seems to me that if some potential terrorist was correctly and appropriately on the “watch list” the last thing you’d want to do to that person attempting to buy a stash of guns is deny them at the gun shop from completing the transfer after the NICS background check. What a great investigative lead! Isn’t that the moment Homeland Security should be following them because something may really be afoot? Denying the transfer just pushes the dim-witted terrorist to some back ally where no law enforcement agency will be aware or ready to track a terrorist operation. Sen Lautenberg ought to confer with real investigators before shooting from the lip. Pity, Bob Barr still isn’t in Congress where his thoughtful evaluation of the big picture would force his collegues to evaluate their emotional response to the realities of the real world concommitant with the civil liberties American citizens have fought so hard to protect.

The REAL GodHatesTrash, Superstar

June 29th, 2009
1:17 pm

Unfortunately, most gunnuts are sick people, easily led. Fortunately, most of them are physical cowards, hiding behind their guns for even the most innocuous, day to day interactions with other people.

Fondling their weapons is usually enough to keep them happy.

Jefferson

June 29th, 2009
1:29 pm

Getting a gun is not a hard thing to do, stocking up on ammo, slightly tougher. If you are fear death, buy life insurance.

JF McNamara

June 29th, 2009
1:34 pm

Looks like I offended the felons.

The existing law says that felons can’t own handguns which is why I included that. I don’t have a problem with the existing law, but I do have a problem with further extension.

I know a couple of felons out of jail only because they served their time not due to rehabilitation, and they are just as bad as ever. The first thing they did was got high. If its a non-violent felony, then maybe you add that provision, but allowing a violent offender to buy a gun is not smart given the repeat offender rate.

cr747

June 29th, 2009
2:22 pm

Sounds to me like The REAL GodhatestrashSuperstar is the biggest coward, for sure not a star, maybe a shooting star who’s lost his marbles and his slingshot. The people need to listen to Bob Barr, he’s been there and knows. What we need to do is VOTE out all the one’s that are against our second amendment rights out of office when their state election comes around, and put some people in there that care about us instead of them selves, such as Hillary Clinton, Rahm Emanuel, Eric Holder, and Cass Sunstein, and of course Obama, and this list could go on and on, especially all of those from California I think Obama better enjoy these 4 years, because there won’t be another 4 for him or the GUN hating democrats. I am a registered democrat, but I sure didn’t vote for Obama. You that did LIVE with it.

tool

June 29th, 2009
2:24 pm

“Banning guns is an idea who’s time has come.” Joe Biden

In conjunction with President Obama’s commitment to increased use of computers and electronic data to make government more efficient, I think this and a couple more ideas who’s time has come should be implimented in order for us to be more secure.

A national ID card along with back ground checks for all purchases and transactions would allow our law enforcemnt agencies to rapidly identify and neutralize possible terrorist threats. Think about it? If a back ground check was run on every person when they made a purchase or filed a document or paid any fee, then they would be immediately scanned to see if they were on a watch list for terrorism or outstanding warrants or even persons of interest could be identified and if need be appredended by security services and turned over to the police. A national ID would allow our justice department to identify and determine if you are on the list by mistake or are a real threat to society. Real threats would be dealt with in an immediate fassion and mistakes would be resolved with a strongly worded appology. Honest citizens would have nothing to hide and therefore perfectly willing to have back ground checks routinley performed. This would mean our government would be opterating efficiently on multiple levels and with a national health care system, back ground checks could be performed when ever you seek medical treatment. The national ID would list your medical history as well as any criminal activity for future reference and rapid processing by government agencies.

electrician

June 29th, 2009
2:28 pm

god hates trash at 1;17….your childish blathering seems out of place among yhese post from THINKING people on both sides of this issue. give it a rest ,you are out of your league.

Terry

June 29th, 2009
3:15 pm

Barr is at it again, the man is known for scaring the simple minded with his anti Democratic propaganda. The only people who should be scared of gun control are the ones who are criminals and mentally unstable, otherwise you have nothing to worry about except the power of the NRA. Any lobby that has so much power over our country’s leadership should be feared. The Patriot act stripped us of more freedom and liberty than anything since the 1860’s

Slotl

June 29th, 2009
3:28 pm

Sell all the guns you want, to anyone who wants one.

Charge $1,000 per bullet!!

Now THAT is REAL Gun Control.

phatdog

June 29th, 2009
3:44 pm

all of these useless laws are nothing more than feelgood measures. i have a felon from over ten years ago , served my complete sentence & am sure i paid my debt to society in full. ive been on the same job for 8 yrs & have “old friends” that are still doing the same things i was sent to prison for, but guess what, they can buy a gun. it was about “justice for money” which some have & some don’t. just as most think if you don’t have a felony you can be trusted, i can see through all of this as another gun law thats not even intended to work but to appeal to the emotions

Rich

June 29th, 2009
4:07 pm

This list is just like the Commie list by McCarth in the 1950’s. Its just like the old Soviet Union. We better take this country back before its too late!