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Terror Watch List is a Horrible Issue for Us

I’m not entirely certain what kind of games the Republicans are playing here, but it’s looking like there’s going to be a vote on a House equivalent of the Cornyn bill, which would put a hold on people who are on the watch list for up to 72 hours (the current period allowed by the Brady Act). There’s virtually no chance this is going to end up passing since the Dems are pretty much universal in rejecting this proposal, so it’s dead in the Senate even if the House passes it. I think both sides are playing games trying to make a campaign issue.

As I’ve said before, the problem we have is that this does not fall along traditional party lines. The Republican Party has a healthy co-hort of “law and order” types who fall along the authoritarian side of the political spectrum. This part of the GOP coalition has never had much respect for civil liberties.

I don’t believe the NRA should be supporting this type of bill, since it looks to me like there can’t be any agreement, which means nothing passes. Why not let the Cornyn plan die in that case? What are we going to get in return for having a vote on this? What is the strategy here? Is it just disaster mitigation? Can we not hold the GOP together on this, or is there a real risk of losing GOP votes to a worse bill that might pick up Dem support?

The NRA believes that terrorists should not be allowed to purchase or possess firearms, period. Anyone on a terror watchlist who tries to buy a gun should be thoroughly investigated by the FBI and the sale delayed while the investigation is ongoing.

I get that it’s bad optics to support “guns for terrorists,” and that half of the country, more than half of the GOP, and probably an uncomfortable portion of the NRA membership care not a whit about the due process rights and civil liberties of people on the terror watch list. The ACLU opposes using these secret watch lists removing rights from people, as they should, but that’s because your typical ACLU type might be a raging liberal, but they aren’t authoritarians. There’s plenty of authoritarianism on both sides of the aisle, and that’s why I worry about this issue. It’s great for channeling the worst civil liberties instincts of both parties. The Republicans don’t care about civil liberties if it stops terrorists (or at least offers good theater for the public that it does) and Democrats don’t view there are any civil liberties issues when it comes to firearms. In their view it’s not a right: you may only possess arms as a privilege granted by the state.

16 Responses to “Terror Watch List is a Horrible Issue for Us”

  1. bigskydoc says:

    I think the NRA, and likely some Republicans, are banking on the no fly list ultimately being found unconstitutional. Should this bill unexpectedly pass, there is a good chance that it will be eviscerated when the no fly list is killed.

    I’m more worried that Republicans aren’t holding Dems feet to the fire over their refusal to pass compromise gun control legislation the last go around. Repubs should be harping on that point every chance they get.

    • Alpheus says:

      As Justice Roberts has demonstrated, however, the problem with this strategy is that sometimes the Court holds as Constitutional that which should be declared unConstitutional, and sometimes holds as unConstitutional that which shouldbe upheld as Constitutional.

      While there’s debate to be had one way or the other on some of these issues, it’s sometimes better to just hold your ground, and declare your position with your congressional vote, rather than pass it and hope that nine people in robes will do the right thing!

  2. Lance Lot Link says:

    Add that no one on the list may hold, or run for, an elected office.

    • mike says:

      This! Rep. John Lewis (who led the sit-in on the House floor) was on the no-fly list for over 4 years. I’d love to see the Democrats (and weasel Republicans) argue that “terrorists” who can’t get on a plane shouldn’t be able to buy a gun, but should be able to go to Congress and vote.

  3. Chas says:

    The Obama administration supported “guns for terrorists” when they closed the investigation on Terrorist Omar Mateen because he played the race/religion card. They mean to use a “guns for terrorists” ban against ordinary Americans, who can’t claim that they’re being discriminated against because they’re Muslim. They’re not out to close the loophole Mateen used, they’re bent on leaving it wide open, while disarming as many “right-wingers” as possible, who they have already explained are the “real” problem. With enough of us put onto the list, they’ll have the “proof” they’re looking for that ordinary Americans are the problem that they said we were.

  4. JC_VA says:

    Can’t we poison this with National Reciprocity and NFA Reform and watch the Dems choke on it?

    • TS says:

      It’s already poisoned with due process, so the dems will choke on it, just as they did in the senate. What I want to see the the GOP ride the dens hard from voting DOWN gun control, and push the media hard to run with it.

      “Ms. Pelosi, I get that you hate due process, but why do you think passing nothing is better than this bill? Because that’s what you got. Nothing.”

  5. Homo Iracundus says:

    I don’t know, I’m not sure there’s any republicans who wouldn’t accept the argument “you know Hillary’s going to put US on there, right?”

  6. Bram says:

    I have mixed feelings on this one. Right now, if you land on the no-fly list, there is nothing you can do to get yourself clear of it or even discover why you are on it.

    The Coburn bill is a back door to force Federal Agencies to justify their secret list or fix it. I can see this being used in reverse.

    On the no-fly list (and not a terrorist)? Go buy a gun – which will force a confrontation with the keepers of the secret list.

  7. Dave says:

    The NRA-ILA so called leadership have outlived their effectiveness and need to be fired. Supporting gun control doesn’t help NRA members or gun owners.

    The core issue of not arming your enemy is a sound principle, but so far every plan to implement not arming the enemy has included not arming Americans.

    The root of the problem is the secret lists maintained by the government. They’re bitterly clinging to their secret lists and socialism. I don’t want to see terrorists or enemy combatants get our guns either, but using secret “enemies” lists has been tried many times before and they always end up ensnaring people who shouldn’t be.

    It doesn’t need to be secret. If they’re too dangerous to fly, they’re too dangerous to be free, it’s that simple.

  8. Clayton E. Cramer says:

    Force them to accept due process or lose their irrational law. You know what they will do: vote it down. Sounds like good politics.

  9. Patrick Henry, the 2nd says:

    I think its the optics.
    “We don’t want terrorists to have guns either, but we want to protect citizens and due process. We are willing to compromise”.
    “NO”.
    “Okay, see everybody? We tried to stop terrorists from getting guns. We tried to compromise. We tried to protect due process. They don’t want any of that!”

  10. Porter says:

    If you don’t want terrorists to have guns , ABOLISH the BATF and JAIL those who ran Fast & Furious. Call Both congress and NRA , No New Gun Laws – No Compromise or repeal of DUE PROCESS.
    Capitol – 202-225-3121 ask for State Rep.
    N.R.A – 703-267-1141 , Gun owners Don’t want any more FAKE compromise !!

  11. Coburn or Cornyn? The amendment recently voted on in the Senate was from John Cornyn (R-TX) and not Dr. Coburn who has retired due to cancer.

  12. Mack says:

    This is perfect fodder to refute the Democrats on gun control and the terrorist watch list. It won’t pass because Democrats will vote down Republican bills on gun control in the House and Senate. The ACLU opposes all the gun control bills linked to the terrorist or no fly lists. This will allow Republicans to run adds and send out press releases that say; we voted to ban people on the watch list from getting guns but the Democrats voted against it. We were willing to compromise but they just wanted bills that took away the civil right of due process, which is why the ACLU opposed the Democrat’s own bills. It’s also a very simple point to make on social media like facebook and such and effectively and efficiently cuts the legs out from under the Democrat’s talking points and memes. Actually it makes sense politically, which is weird since Republicans are typically inept when it comes to such things.

    • Porter says:

      I agree , but we have seen several ‘ head-fakes ‘ by the Republicans. ANY bad bill that is presented can slip through at the final hour. Do YOU TRUST – GOP ?

      Keep Calling 202-225-3121 / No B S Compromise ..!!

      Hands OFF – Due Process , NRA 703-267-1141

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