Arguments against using the watch list to block firearms sales

LawNewzAs for keeping people whose names are on the FBI’s terror watch list and the no-fly list from buying a firearm, sensible as it may sound it would work a grave disservice to those whose names are there in error. These lists are compiled in secret and include people who have no specific evidence against them and whose names merely sound like, or are spelled like, someone else’s. The late Senator Edward Kennedy was surprised to find his name on the no-fly list. That list is classified so it is uncertain how many names are on it but estimates vary from 21,000 to 47,000. For the past five years the American Civil Liberties Union has challenged the law’s operation. Last year the ACLU complained that in twelve months the government’s secret list of suspected terrorists banned from flying to or within the United States had more than doubted. They estimated that 35% of the nominations to the terrorist lists were outdated while the government no-fly list included tens of thousands of names placed on the lists without any adequate factual basis. Nor has the government any way to correct these errors and permit people to clear their names. The ACLU has been suing to change the list’s redress process to provide meaningful due process. Their challenge is on behalf of fifteen American citizens and lawful residents who found themselves on the list unable to fly. These include two Marine Corps veterans, one of whom is disabled, a US Army veteran, and a US Air Force veteran. Now these individuals and others like them would also be stripped of their basic right to be armed for their self-defense.

Ironically many of the people who demanded American intelligence agencies be stripped of the ability to track bank transactions and monitor patterns of telephone calls to and from suspected terrorist groups, tactics they see as threats to privacy and speech rights, insist on depriving individual Americans of their right to be armed on the mere suspicion they pose a danger. If we are to prevent further attacks it is imperative that the political conversation shift, and shift promptly to better ways to track terrorists and combat the terror threat from ISIS.

Only one point of disagree. We were tracking the Orlando terrorist pretty well. He was on law enforcement radar multiple times. He got investigated multiple times. He got put on the watch list multiple times. The problem is, no one ever actually did anything about it. And as a result, rather than being charged with a crime and put on the NICS forbidden list (which wouldn't have stopped him, but might have made it harder for him), he was simply cleared by the investigations and taken off the list

It's not better tracking we need. It's a willingness to prosecute the smaller stuff, even if the suspected terrorist hasn't received a personal kill mission from ISIS leadership,.

Watch lists and gun bans are worthless at preventing terrorism, but they can help in identifying individuals who deserve focused attention from local law enforcement for any minor acts of violence or threatening behavior they commit. We can't throw them in jail for things they haven't done yet, but often there are things they have done that could put them there.

This entry was published Wed Jun 29 10:31:22 CDT 2016 by TriggerFinger and last updated 2016-06-29 10:31:22.0. [Tweet]

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