So let me get this straight…

People on the terrorist watch list can’t fly on airplanes, but they can still buy guns and explosives?!?

From February 2004 to February 2009, 963 background checks using the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System “resulted in valid matches with terrorist watch list records; of these matches, approximately 90 percent were allowed to proceed because the checks revealed no prohibiting information,” the GAO report says. About 10 percent were denied.

“Under current law, there is no basis to automatically prohibit a person from possessing firearms or explosives because they appear on the terrorist watch list,” wrote the GAO’s director of homeland security and justice issues, Eileen R. Larence.

“Rather, there must be a disqualifying factor (i.e., prohibiting information) pursuant to federal or state law, such as a felony conviction or illegal immigration status.”

Does this seem stupid to anyone other than me? Granted a lot of folks are on the TWL that shouldn’t be, but what’s the point of not letting them fly if you’re going to let them buy guns and explosives?

33 thoughts on “So let me get this straight…

  1. I think this just goes to show us how stupid the Terrorist Watch List really is.  It’s an attempt to solve a complex problem with a heaping helping of Bureaucracy, which from my experience is a Bureaucrats version of the KISS principle.  A good Bureaucrat doesn’t see the world the way the rest of us do, they think that by adding complex layers of BS, you actually simplify things.  In some way this is true, as the level of involvement for said Bureaucrat goes way down when layer upon layer of paperwork is added to system beneath said Bureaucrat.  So that said, I guess this does make sense after all, to a certain kind of person.

  2. A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

    So you can’t stop them.  Any law which stops someone bearing arms is unconstitutional.  I am waiting for the day a US prisoner demands the right to bear arms.

  3. I think that it’s more about the stupidity and inclusiveness of the terrorist watch list, which really owes less to bureaucrats than it does the stupidity of law enforcement. The bureaucrats are actually just highlighting that stupidity by following the rules that the idiots in Washington passed at the pleading of the idiots in law enforcement.

    On the other hand, I think lumping the ability to buy a handgun or shotgun with the suggested ability to buy explosives is slopping reporting. In point of fact I’m pretty certain it’s a lot easier to buy a handgun than get a hold of demolition materials, just as it’s easier to buy a pistol than to buy what passes for assault rifles. And while once you buy a pistol you’re pretty much free and clear from someone watching over your shoulder, I think that the FBI or ATF keeps records on you pretty much forever once you’ve legally bought some dynamite. In other words, I kind of want to see the smoking gun that proves people on this list have actually bought explosives and under what circumstances and details on their permits before I’m gonna run around in a circle panicking about this.

    Besides, buying explosives and guns on the radar in general is pretty dumb if you’re a terrorist. You can get plenty of bang for you buck with a trip to Wal-Mart as far as the explosives go, and if you’re careful about which states you shop in or which corners you frequent you can pick up guns that have never been in the system or that are lost on the books.

  4. So let me get this straight…

    Someone who has commented extensively on overbearing government programs and ridiculous laws (does the patriot act ring a bell?) doesn’t have a problem with interfering with someone’s rights for no other reason than that they’ve shown up on the terrorist watch list?  The names on the watch list are being kept secret as a national security issue and the people who have found out they’re on it don’t know how they got there or how to get their names removed.  Some of these poor bastards are there because they have a similar name to someone September Eleventhish.  I had a guy in my ambulance a few days ago named Osama!  Should he be on the watch list?

    Since when does being on the watch list make a good substitute for due process?

    I own a bunch of guns, and every time I’ve bought one, in addition to the FBI’s NICS check, I have to fill out the ATF’s form 4473.  I have to mark a bunch of check boxes that state that no, I don’t have any felony convictions nor am I under indictment for same, I’m not a habitual drug user nor am I mentally incompetent,  I haven’t renounced my citizenship and I haven’t been dishonorably discharged.  Oh, and if I lie on that form, that is a felony in and of itself.

    As for Last Hussar’s comment, convicted felons have forfeited their constitutional rights.  No 2A violation there.

  5. Infidel I am confused as to who you are speaking? I don’t think Mook necessarily said that the TWL was a good thing, and I didn’t. Hussar certainly didn’t say anything positive about it, and the fact that Les didn’t outright say it is a terrible thing hardly counts as a roaring endorsement, or does it? (cue ominous music?)

  6. Ditto. If anything my post was directed at declaring that the problem is the Terrorist Watch List, not the allowance for buying guns.

    I am opposed to the Patriot Act, but I was opposed to the Patriot Act when major portions of it were being discussed during Janet Reno’s term of office during the Clinton Administration too.

    To restate more clearly: The problem is US law enforcement. The commercialization of the US prison system, the Wars on Drugs and Terror, the insistence of some jurisdictions in the country to cling to elected judges, and the unelected political clout of the Justice Department. I’d prefer a million bureaucracies that simply dragged on our sense of liberty to the concerted push of law enforcement in the last thirty years to systematically remove those liberties because of law enforcement’s lobbying efforts.

  7. I have no problems with people owning guns, but I do have a problem with the TWL. And it’s not even that I have a problem with the idea of a Terrorist Watch List as much as I have a problem with the way the current one is implemented.

    Not only, as you say, are innocent people on the list with no way of getting themselves removed (or even verifying that they’re on it short of being denied passage on a plane), but the fact that it doesn’t stop potential terrorists from buying guns and/or explosives is pretty stupid. A properly maintained TWL with transparency and a means of due process for getting yourself off of it if you’re on it for no good reason wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing. What we have now, though, is just stupid.

  8. How can a convicted prisoner be forced to forgo constitutional rights?  To do so would deny them their right to bear arms, which shall not be allowed (it says so).

    What I find amazing is less the right to buy guns, but the lack of control.  I realise ‘CSI’ is hardly the greatest source of knowledge, but The fact that it appears that you can sell a gun on quite easily is some what frightening.  Also I feel any gun should have its firing characteristics (marks on bullet etc) logged- which would also be a good idea here.

    I have no problem with US citizens owning guns.  I’d like to see a commitment that stops you all having the ammunition though.

  9. You have the right to due process when arrested, but I believe a lot of your constitutional rights get suspended once you get a felony conviction, at least for the duration of your sentence.  I’m pretty sure convicted felons serving sentence don’t get to vote either, but I could be wrong, I got my law degree from a mail-order ad in a comic book when I was a kid. 

    However, I totally agree with you that it’s not so much an issue of legal purchase as of control, and that the ability to purchase illegal guns is the primary problem.  I’m pretty sure the legal gun industry plays a significant if not overt role in the supply of illegal guns, but good luck getting an NRA member to admit to that.  Apparently illegal guns are built from scrap by the criminals or stolen from factories (I guess the latter could happen, but I doubt it’s the primary source of illegal firearms in this country).

  10. Illegal guns come from wherever conservatives declare their latest boojums from to scare their natives – one week it’s black kids selling crack, the next it’s Latin American immigrants, several years back it was probably Commies and Hippies.

    I imagine the vast majority of illegal firearms in the US are illegal in name only, people who have guns locked in basements and desks without licenses that need them, unwilling to pay the tax on something that sits around collecting dust as a deadly paperweight most of the time.

  11. Okay, where to begin.

    Bog Brother, I was responding to Les, that’s why I parroted the thread title back to him.  Sorry if I was being vague.

    Les, as for myself, I do have a problem with the TWL not only as it is implemented, but the overall idea.  If the feds think someone is suspicious, by all means investigate them, but once they’re cleared of wrongdoing that person should be allowed to go about their business.
      As for the TWL having anything whatsoever to do with firearms purchases, I think it’s a load of crap.  As I’ve mentioned, I’ve already been checked over by the FBI and ATF every time I buy.

    Last Hussar, a convicted felon is no longer allowed to own firearms, or vote for that matter as Bog Brother mentioned.  Do you want their rights restored, now that they’ve demonstrated that they can’t be trusted with them?
      As far as the ballistic fingerprinting business goes, Canada tried it and it turned out to be a huge waste of time, netting no (or virtually no) convictions.  Besides, if I wanted to commit a crime with a gun that I knew had its ballistic fingerprint on file, I’d just buy a new barrel.  Problem solved.
      You are right about being able to resell a firearm – some states laws require private transactions to go through the same checks that a new purchase would, but most don’t.  I’m a little uneasy about that myself.  However, buying lots of firearms and selling them off, especially to felons who can’t legally buy them themselves, is itself a big no-no.  Federal prison time no-no.
      Oh, and as for not wanting us bloody colonials to be allowed to have ammo … well, I could say ‘from my cold dead hands’ or some such, but instead I’ll just point out that Britain has extremely stringent weapons laws (to the point of restricting knives, for Darwin’s sake) and has a violent crime rate that is only going upwards.  Take away a decent person’s ability to fight back against a violent attacker and bad things are much more likely to happen to them.

    Finally, Bog Brother and MisterMook talk about illegal guns.  Uhmmmm … there really aren’t that many kinds of illegal guns out there, and most of those are machine guns – capable of full-automatic fire.  These are not being manufactured and then ‘lost’, wink wink.  By and large, they’re being stolen from the FBI and various police departments.  They need to lock their vehicles more often.  In fact, the FBI alone lost more weapons in about the same time period (and some of these are likely to be machine guns) than the handful of gun purchases that were stopped from going through.

    Anyways, I think that’s about enough for now.
    Resident gun nut signing off smile

  12. I was referring to and thinking more about illegally owned, undocumented, unlicensed guns with my comment actually.

    Strangely enough, I’ve been thinking about the issue of our bans on fully automatic weapons for some time and I’ve concluded that the notion is stupid. On the other hand, I’d much prefer a limitation on the sale of handguns and small form factor guns in general. I’d much prefer a country where people lugged an assault rifle on their shoulder if they were so inclined to go rob a liquor store than one where they can shove the pistol in the large pockets of their jacket. At least the guy with the assault rifle announces himself way before he enters the building.

  13. But it’s not what I want. The 2nd amendment says you can’t take those rights away.

    Per 100,000 pop
    Murder (with fire arms)
    UK 14 (1)
    US 42 (27)

    Rape
    UK 142
    US 301

    Assaults
    UK 7459
    US 7569

    Robbery
    UK 1574
    US 1385

    Burglary
    UK 13832
    US 7099

    Prisoners
    UK 132
    US 715

  14. If you take the time to read the Federalist Papers, you’ll discover that the right for citizens to bear arms is one of the checks and balances that the creators of the Constitution used to argue for its ratification. In Number 46, James Madison states that, “Notwithstanding the military establishments in the several kingdoms of Europe, which are carried as far as the public resources will bear, the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms. And it is not certain that with this aid alone they would not be able to shake off their yokes. But were the people to possess the additional advantages of local governments chosen by themselves, who could collect the national will and direct the national force, and of officers appointed out of the militia by these governments and attached both to them and to the militia, it may be affirmed with the greatest assurance that the throne of every tyranny in Europe would be speedily overturned in spite of the legions which surrounded it.”
    THAT’s what the tyrants fear.
    Of course, it’s only worked for a couple of hundred years, so maybe it won’t last.
    And, recheck those burglary stats.

  15. But making the government afraid of armed rebellion is a reason to allow them assault rifles, not .22 pistols.

  16. Now you’re getting the picture.  tongue wink cheese
    And, like MisterMook said,

    I’d much prefer a country where people lugged an assault rifle on their shoulder if they were so inclined to go rob a liquor store than one where they can shove the pistol in the large pockets of their jacket.

  17. Last Hussar, as I mentioned, convicted felons do not have the same rights as everyone else.  No right is absolute, and someone who commits violent crimes, especially with a firearm, should never be allowed to own one again, even after they get out of prison.  A bunch of courts have ruled this way, including the supreme court.

    As for your statistics, what are they supposed to prove?  The way it looks to me is that (barring firearms murders, which just means some more assaults resulted in death) we have pretty much the same violent crime rate, and you have a much worse property crime rate over there.  As for the prison population, we have lots of people serving draconian sentences for drug offenses.  Anyway, what was it Disraeli said about statistics?

    Leguru, well put.  You’re right that it won’t last, governments usually don’t give up powers once they’ve been granted them.

    MisterMook, I think you’re missing the point.  The government doesn’t have any business ‘allowing’ me to own a .22, the Bill of Rights is there to restrict the government from taking rights away from the people, thus guaranteeing rights we already have.  As for limiting handguns, I loathe that line of reasoning – basically, you’re saying nobody should be allowed to own a handgun because there are some evildoers who might do evil with them.  Why do you want me punished for someone else’s crime?

  18. Why do you want me punished for someone else’s crime?

    I want to prevent you from committing a crime with a pistol, the same way I want to prevent you from committing a crime by shitting in your neighbor’s pool as a an expression of your unrestricted “right” to free speech. I don’t want to remove your right to free speech, but, like the government, I care about things like public disorder and crime.

    I’d let people buy tanks if I could. You are unlikely to knock over liquor stores with a tank, and your tank isn’t likely to go off accidentally and kill your kids. And yet, a tank is an awesome device for overthrowing governments, is it not? Ergo, if checks and balances is the proper line of thought, and we’re still to address concerns over public safety, letting people own machineguns and tanks is a better thing to do than letting them try to pretend they’re somehow making a difference in terms of civil unrest with their .38 Special.

    Besides, once you start letting people own tanks, you’ve got three, maybe six years of nutjobs making themselves known and thanks to the fact that they’d be in tanks we wouldn’t even have to fill prison cells with them. I’m not personally an expert, but believe it or not my father is – there’s no good way to arrest someone in a tank. You’ve either got to let those suckers just run out of gas or you plug a sabot round in one and let the overpressure and plasma bloom kill everyone inside.

    Who knows? If I had my way you could get your own tank and try to fight the government for your right to own that .22 again! Wouldn’t that be an exciting experiment in civics?

  19. Ugh.  You want to take away a pistol to prevent me from committing a crime with it, then hand me the keys to a tank, which I can run over lots of people with. Where’s the sense in that.  Besides, I can already run over people with my CAR.  Speaking of which, if you get to take away my pistol, by the same logic I get to take away anything from you that you can commit crimes with.  No sharp or blunt instruments for you.  Cars, sporting goods, the list goes on.

    Anyway, I think going back and forth like this is going to get pointless in a hurry.  I doubt you’ll change your mind anytime soon.

  20. What about scarfs? You need to register yellow scarfs. The Thugee cult in India used those to murder an estimated 2,000,000 people. The best of them, Behram, was personally responsible for killing 931 people (with that scarf). Scarfs don’t kill people, people kill people.  cheese

  21. I’m not quite grasping Infidel’s argument. He wants guns so he can kill US soldiers and overthrow the government, I’m suggesting better tools for that and only denying him tools more suited to shooting his wife in her sleep and he’s getting fussy. It’s almost like the argument he presented is a false one, and he doesn’t actually intend to use his weaponry for civic protest and rebellion. He’d rather have the pistol as an illustration of his…intent to rely solely on terrorism to overthrow the government? What sort of “militia” is that supposed to be in the end, sort of like Hamas is an army? Since he’s decided he’s inadequate to presenting his case for himself, can anyone else try to sell me on this?

    I mean, I can run over people with my car too, and I can kill someone with a longbow probably, if I had a longbow. But pistols are better at killing civilians and for robbing people with than real weapons, if the whole idea is to shoot at and kill soldiers in military equipment, to have a proper armed uprising no less, then why not tanks and machineguns?

    Maybe he’s worried about dumb people overthrowing the government if properly armed? We could sell plutonium, and then only the smart people could get serious about fulfilling this notion of presenting an well armed militia to overthrow the government maybe?

  22. Well done, MisterMook.  I tried to put forth a reasonable argument and you call me a terrorist and a murderer.  You’ve quite thoroughly illustrated why you won’t change your mind: your mind is CRAZY.

  23. the Bill of Rights is there to restrict the government from taking rights away from the people, thus guaranteeing rights we already have.

    The big reason Prop H8 was so wrong.  wink

  24. THE FOUNDING FATHERS WERE QUITE CLEAR AND TRANSPARENT ON ISSUES OF CITIZEN FREE-COMMERCE, OWNING FIREARMS TO RAISE A MINIUTEMAN MILITIA ; THE GOVERNMENT MUST ALWAYS RESPECT AND FEAR THE POWER OF THE CITIZEN. WE HAVE ELECTED MAINLY UNRESPONSIVE REPRESENTATIVES WHO WIELD ENORMOUS POWERS..THEY INTRUDE BY LAW AND ORDINANCE INTO WHO CAN SELL WHAT, AT WHAT PRICE, AND TO WHOM..THAT IS AWESOME WEIGHT THAT CAN BE ABUSED. YES, WE SEE COLUMBINE, AND JAMES BRADY(yaddayaddayadda….)BUT BEG YOUR INDULGENCE, MY FELLOW JULY 4TH WEENIE-MUNCHING PATRIOTS..THIS COUNTRY MUST KEEP ITS FIREARMS AND AMMO SO AS TO INSURE IT’S PROPERTY, RIGHTS AND LIBERTIES. (NOT A DEMOCRATS VS. REPUBLICAN ISSUE!)ADAMS, MUNROE, AND ESPECIALLY JEFFERSON SO REMEMBERED THE OPPRESSIVE HAND OF ENGLAND, THAT THE PARANOID WARNINGS OF “STANDING AT THE READY”(MEANING ARMED,YOU FOOLS!)WERE WELL-FOUNDED. IT DOES APPLY TODAY, AND IF WE SPLIT HAIRS OVER .223 OR       7.62X39 WOLF AMMO OR ASSAULT RIFLE..SMALL POTATOES..TO QUOTE HYMAN ROTH. WE KEEP THE SHOTGUN BECAUSE WE KNOW BETTER. WHEN PUSH-COMES-TO-SHOVE, YOU’D BETTER HAVE MORE THAN A——IN YOUR HANDS WHEN YOU COME OUT OF THE COMMODE. NOT YAHOO,JUST PREPARED AND CAREFUL!BE WELL,EAT LOW SODIUM FOODS FOR HEALTH; KEEP YOUR GUNS OILED AND YOUR AMMO DRY!SALUTE, MY FELLOW AMERICAN PATRIOTS ON YOUR WELL-DESERVED FREEDOM DAY!GOD-BLESS LIBERTY!

  25. HEY! great watch list proceeded 9-11! WHAT-THE BUILDINGS FELL DOWN?! COME ON PEOPLE, NATIONALLY; LOCALLY..YOU ALL DISRESPECT SECURITY..HAVE FOR YEARS! YOU DON’T PAY GUARDS TO BE OBSERVANT, AND HELL, YOU DON’T EVEN PAY GUARDS ENOUGH TO WIPE THEIR ASS WITH CHEAP CRAPPER-PAPER( lLEAVE THE DAMNED REMARK, IT MAKES THE POINT!) WHETHER F.B.I. GOOFED, C.I.A. GOOFED, OR ARGEN.F’n.BRIGHT GOOFED IS LIKE CHASING THE GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PAST..WHAT DO WE LEARN FROM THIS…?WELL, PROFILING LOOKS GOOD ON TV, AND RESTRICTIONS CAN PILE UP ON THE PUBLIC TO THE DEGREE IT IS OPPRESSIVE..BUT DO WE REALLY SCREEN OUT THE TRUE TERRORIST OR PREVENT (O.M.G.(CLUTCH YOUR HEART AND BURP!))FALSE-FLAG OPERATIONS FROM INTERNAL SABATOUGE?( SPELLED AS THE THREE STOOGES SAID IT,SAB-A- TOOOGIE!)hmmmm..BEG TO DIFFER! WHEN LAWS GO RESTRICTIVELY BALLISTIC OR VAGUE-ENSNARING..OUR PERSONAL LIBERTIES SUFFER. CONSIDER THIS AS YOU LOP ON THE MUSTARD, KETCHUP, AND RELISH ON YOUR LIBERTY-WEINER THIS JULY 4TH! GOD-BLESS, AND PASS THE CORN, PLEASE!

  26. BY THE WAY, RUSH..YOUR MAID WAS ASKING IF YOU WANT THE O-PILLS OR JUST A PALLET OF RUSSIAN AMMUNITION? SHE FINDS BOTH AVAILABLE AT DENNY’S PARKING LOT NEXT TO THE SAFETY-CODE-SANITIZED FIREWORKS DISPLAY..TEXT HER BACK AFTER SHE EATS!

  27. At least six men suspected or convicted of crimes that threaten national security retained their federal aviation licenses, despite antiterrorism laws written after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, that required license revocation. Among them was a Libyan sentenced to 27 years in prison by a Scottish court for the 1988 bombing of Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie.

    NYT, last week.

  28. a Libyan sentenced to 27 years in prison by a Scottish court for the 1988 bombing of Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie.

    But, Xtians FORGIVE. Maybe that man learned his lesson and has seen the light.  tongue wink cheese

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