“Concerns about the increasing frequency of recent terror attacks in Europe, Australia and North America caused the White House to convene a summit meeting last week on how best to counter violent extremism. But none of the current efforts to prevent homegrown terrorism in the United States will be sufficient without addressing the ease with which would-be terrorists in the United States can obtain firearms and explosives.” That’s the conclusion mooted by New York Times guest editorialist Mary Lewis Grow [above], co-founder of Protect Minnesota, “a nonprofit organization that works to prevent gun violence.” Grow wants to prohibit Americans on the Terrorist Watchlist from exercising their natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms. Fair enough? Uh . . .
Before I take her “reasoning” to pieces note that Grow’s Op Ed is not a lone voice in the wilderness. It was timed to coincide with The Denying Firearms and Explosives to Dangerous Terrorists Act, re-introduced this week by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.).(yes, a Republican). Like the Act, Grow’s editorial is based on fear-mongering, misdirection and an unstated desire to disarm all Americans. So . . .
Can we invent a term for gun control advocates who refuse to use Google to check their facts? Hoplogooglephobia? Here’s the thing: Grow wants readers to believe that the FBI’s “terror watch list” (as she calls it, without once mentioning the government agencies running the list) is a reliable indication of evil intent. All she need do to disabuse herself of that notion is Google “FBI terrorist watchlist.”
Seventh hit: Watch Lists | American Civil Liberties Union:
Our country’s watchlist system is grossly bloated and unfair with over a million names — including many unlikely suspects— and not effective as a security measure . . .
We can’t have terrorist watch lists that affect people’s rights without due process — the right of innocent people to challenge their inclusion through an adversarial proceeding and get off the lists. But no such system has been created . . .
The consequences of being mistakenly added to a terror watch list can be more severe than simply missing a plane. Law enforcement routinely run names against the watchlists for matters as mundane as traffic stops, and innocent individuals may be harassed even if they don’t attempt to fly.
How do you know if you’re on the list? You don’t. Until you do (e.g., when you attempt to board a plane). How do you get off the list? You contact the DHS. How’s that work? Not so well. Googling “How do I get off the terrorist watch list” yields this gem [via huffingtonpost.com]:
[You contact the] Department of Homeland Security’s Traveler Redress Inquiry Program, which begins a review “that is not subject to oversight by any court or entity outside the counterterrorism community.
And if you were to get your name removed from the watch list, the intelligence agencies aren’t even obligated to inform you of your updated status. Helpful.
In short, the Terrorist Watchlist sucks. Denying Americans their civil rights because of their inclusion on the List – as Grow would have the government do – is, well, unAmerican. Here’s how Grow deals with these issues, in the midst of arguing that anyone on the FBI Terrorist Watchlist should be prohibited from purchasing a firearm:
Distrust of the list itself and confusion about who is on it have been obstacles. Well-publicized errors in the no-fly list — which is not the same as the international terror watch list — have provided justification to deride all watch lists as based on poor intelligence and discriminatory profiling.
In fact, only a very small percentage of the roughly one million people on the international terror watch list are American citizens. Among the objective criteria that cause someone to be listed are active membership in an organization devoted to jihad, a record of transfers of money to a terrorist organization, and the incitement of acts of terrorism. Civil libertarian concerns should be allayed by the fact that there is an appeals process for those who say they have been misidentified.
Hang on. Where’s the citation for Grow’s claim that the List is mostly comprised of foreign nationals? Also note: the TSA’s “no-fly” list is a subset of the Terrorist Watchlist. Those “well-publicized errors” affecting travelers are part and parcel of the overall List. The bill in question would use the Terrorist Watchlist – not a “terror watch list” – to ban those [secretly] listed from purchasing firearms. Clear? Here’s the official government graphic.
Talk about conflating facts. OK, let’s do that . . .
Grow clams the Terrorist Watchlist is based on “objective criteria.” Paragraph 1.3 of the report Grow cites states “It is important to remember, however, that watchlisting is not an exact science. There are inherent limitations in any primarily name-based system an analytic judgements may differ regarding subjective criteria [emphasis added] have been met.”
In other words, Grow is making up “facts” to support a gun ban on people who are on the FBI’s Terrorist Watchlist. Or lying. And the New York Times’ fact checkers are all on strike (I assume).
It’s also interesting to note that Part III of the report specifically cautions participating agencies – which are legion – against trampling on Americans’ “Constitutionally protected activities.” It only lists freedom of speech and equal protection. Second Amendment-protected gun rights? You must be joking.
The risks posed by a more diffuse and autonomous terrorist diaspora, including self-radicalized domestic jihadists, underscore the need to deny access to arms to those on the terror watch list. In the wake of the Paris attacks in January, the attorney general, Eric H. Holder Jr., said that “worrying about the lone wolf or a very small group of people who decide to get arms on their own and do what we saw in France” was what kept him up at night.
As long as the United States fails to widen the category of prohibited purchasers of firearms and explosives to include those on the terror watch list, we are neglecting to take the most basic protective measures. And worse, we are making it easy for would-be domestic jihadists to obtain the means to do us harm.
Now I know what you’re thinking: preventing people on the Terrorist Watchlist from legally purchasing a firearm or explosives would do nothing whatsoever to stop them from purchasing these items illegally. You’re right. And . . . that’s it, really. What else needs to be said?
This: Grow’s beloved Denying Firearms and Explosives to Dangerous Terrorists Act would give the Attorney General absolute power to revoke Americans’ gun rights. Text as follows:
The Attorney General may deny the transfer of a firearm pursuant to section 922(t)(1)(B)(ii) if the Attorney General determines that the transferee is known (or appropriately suspected) to be or have been engaged in conduct constituting, in preparation for, in aid of, or related to terrorism, or providing material support thereof, and the Attorney General has a reasonable belief that the prospective transferee may use a firearm in connection with terrorism.
“Appropriately suspected”? As if that’s not scary enough – and it bloody well is – here’s the part of the Act stating that the suspect has no right to see the full evidence against him or her:
To make this showing, the United States may submit, and the court may rely on, summaries or redacted versions of documents containing information the disclosure of which the Attorney General has determined would likely compromise national security. On request of the petitioner or the court’s own motion, the court may review the full, undisclosed documents ex parte and in camera. The court shall determine whether the summaries or redacted versions, as the case may be, are fair and accurate representations of the underlying documents. The court shall not consider the full, undisclosed documents in deciding whether theAttorney General’s determination satisfies the requirements of section 922A or 922B.
Grow’s “argument” for this unconstitutional Act is nothing but a ploy by a gun control advocate to capitalize on the fear of terrorism to further the effort to disarm Americans. How long before a member of the “particularly worrisome” Oath Keepers would be placed on the terrorist Watchlist and face a gun ban? What about NRA members? In Grow’s and Feinstein’s dreams. Make that plans. You have been warned.