Define “pretty reasonable.” Fairly reasonable? Partially reasonable? It’s no small point. “The bills in Congress dealing with this issue are all pretty reasonable,” Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence President Paul Helmke opines. “S.1317, sponsored by Senator Frank Lautenberg, and H.R.2159, sponsored by Representative Peter King, both give the U.S. Attorney General the ability to block specific individuals on the Terrorist Watchlist from securing firearms from a federally licensed gun dealer, while H.R.2401, sponsored by Representative Carolyn McCarthy, prevents anyone on the No-Fly List from purchasing guns from a federally licensed gun dealer.” Problems? A few. But then again, not too many to mention.
1. The bills give the Attorney General unchecked power (i.e. no judicial oversight) to ban people from gun purchases on a list that doesn’t have published standards for inclusion, or a standard process for appeal.
2. The government has admitted that over a million people are on the FBI Terrorist Watch List in error. A law should be effective and transparent in both practice and application.
3. What’s the point? Is anyone seriously suggesting that preventing terrorists from purchasing guns legally will thwart their evil plans?
There’s more we should do to keep dangerous guns out of the hands of dangerous people, but this one should be a no-brainer. I urge readers to call their Senators and Congressmen, and ask them to co-sponsor those bills.
Alternatively, think about it first.
Oh, as Helmke points out, “The government is now making the so-called “No-Fly List” more comprehensive, adding an additional three thousand names to the list in response to the attempted Christmas airplane bombing.” With more to come. Feel safer yet?