People on the Terror Watch List aren’t allowed to fly on airplanes. But the federal government can’t prevent them from legally purchasing guns (which they have done more than 1,000 times in the past 6 years.
A bill before the Senate seeks to close that loophole. But it’s being strongly fought by — guess who — the National Rifle Association (headed by Wayne LaPierre, formerly of Roanoke).
Dana Milbank has a fascinating story about the bill in today’s Washington Post:
The Bush administration urged Congress to pass a law barring people on the terrorist watch list from buying explosives and guns. The gun lobby objected. Now the Obama administration is urging Congress to pass the same legislation, and the gun lobby continues to object.
. . . Lieberman’s hearing was fascinating because it forced the pro-gun crowd to take their philosophy to its logical extreme: Are they so absolute about the Second Amendment that they’d risk national security by fighting for the right of would-be terrorists to own guns? Alarmingly, they are.
The NRA, restating its opposition to the bill a few months ago, said it is all part of a conspiracy by “politicians who hate the Second Amendment” and who “think that more gun owners can be placed on the list over time.” At Wednesday’s hearing, a representative of the conservative Liberty Coalition made a similar argument: “The bill should be titled the Gun Owners Are Probably All Terrorists Act.”
Of course, the gun lobby also is backing state legislative attempts to ban the feds from regulating firearms, ammo and accessories produced in a state that stay in that state. Such bills failed in Virginia and Oklahoma this year. It has been enacted in Montana and attempted in a handful of other states.
With moves like this, the NRA makes it even more obvious who their clients are. It’s not their 4 million-odd hunter/outdoorsmen members. It is firearms manufacturers — who stand to lose sales if people on the Terror Watch List aren’t permitted to buy firearms.
Yeah, I know: there’s no specific constitutional right to fly on an airplane. On the other hand, we’ve already heard from plenty of right-wingers on this blog that terrorists don’t deserve Miranda protection or other constitutional rights.