Thursday, September 2, 2010

Oh Noes! People on No-Fly List Can BUY GUNS!

Terry Jeffrey has a pantie wetting piece over at in which he hysterically reports that The U.S Allowed Terrorists on the No-Fly List to Buy Guns! A quote should get your blood boiling:
As the GAO's Larence told the Homeland Security Committee, "being on the watch list does not automatically disqualify someone from possessing or receiving firearms or explosives. Rather, there must be a disqualifying factor such as a felony or immigration violation."

Surely, the foreign nationals on the terror watch list, not to mention those on the no-fly list, can be instantly denied any opportunity to buy a gun in the United States without violating either the letter or spirit of the Second Amendment.
For what it's worth, Jeffrey is railing against foreigners only, who are on the no-fly list being allowed by buy guns. He makes clear that United States citizens should not be included on the list of prohibited persons. But he seems to forget some facts in all this, that would seem to override his complaint.

First of all, as a matter of law, just because some bureaucrat has inserted a name on a Federally held data base does not mean that there is credible evidence that that named person has committed a crime.  People outside a fairly restricted circle have no idea how one's name gets added to the list, or how to clear oneself of the stigma that obtains from being on "the list."  People are supposed to have the right to confront and question their accuser.  If our government were still following the Constitution, the bureaucrat who flagged your name would have to be part of the record.  There would be a formal appeals process where you could hear the evidence against you, and dispute it. If there were evidence of a crime having been committed, presumably the FBI would charge you with that crime, which then must be proven in a court of law beyond a reasonable doubt. Absent that, if a person is here legally, he is entitled to self defense the same as a citizen is. Of course, were he not here legally, I hope he would be charged and deported, but in any case that would be a disqualifying crime.

Second, practically, terrorists do not usually purchase their firearms and explosives from legal dealers.  If they did, and if they were denied through legal means, they would just go on the black market and purchase what they need.  At least if they purchase it legally, we can later track it back to them.  Also, if they were denied based on the secret "list," they would have a way to know whether or not the government was on to them.  All they have to do is go into a gun dealer periodically and go through the motions of purchasing a firearm.  If they come back clean, they tell the dealer they have decided not to buy at this time.  If they come back denied, they know someone is watching them.

Finally, morally, gun control has never worked as advertised; indeed, it has worked in exactly the opposite way it has been sold to people.  It was sold to people as a way to stop crime.  Certainly, crime has many causes, but one thing we know is that the less risky committing a crime is, the more likely it will be done.  The more risky, the less likely.  Guns in the hands of the average citizen make committing a crime more risky for the criminal, and less risky for the law abiding.

Today you want to take away the rights of a few legal foreigners.  Having set that precedent though, next it will be United States citizens whose rights will be denied.  Then all the government has to do to deny anybody his or her rights recognized by the Second Amendment is to put their name on the no-fly list.  Nothing needs ever be legally proved, they don't even need to be charged with a crime.  They can never get their name off the list.  It's perfect from the perspective of an administration that believes in gun control. Rebecca Peters would be proud.

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