It looks like Senate Democrats are going to try to attach a new gun law onto the Republican bill trying to do more oversight on Syrian refugee entry into the U.S. Washington Examiner reports Democrats may try to slip that in the refugee bill next week.
The Senate could take up the House-passed refugee bill as early as the week of Nov. 30. At that point, Democrats will likely try to attach the gun control provision as an amendment, although it will be up to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to decide whether he’ll allow it.
Democrats tipped their hand they were going to try to do this on Friday when Senators Dianne Feinstein and Harry Reid spoke in favor of the bill to reporters. Via Washington Examiner.
“As we speak, a terrorist on the FBI’s terror watch list can walk into a gun show in your hometown and buy as many AK-47s and explosives as they need to commit the kind of mass, heinous slaughter of innocents we witnessed in Paris and which we know terrorists want to perpetrate here in America,” Reid said Friday.
“I think this is a no-brainer,” said the sponsor of the bill, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. “If you’re too dangerous to board a plane, you’re too dangerous to buy a gun.”
Cue eye roll from me, and almost every other conservative and libertarian out there. But that isn’t stopping Republican New York Congressman Peter King from trumpeting the bill. He and Feinstein originally proposed this back in February and King tells New York Daily News that it’s all about safety. He also takes a shot at the NRA for being against the bill.
Anything which they feel restricts the use or the ability to retain a gun they’re opposed to. It’s sort of a knee-jerk reaction. The National Rifle Association is strongly opposed to it and the fact is we have only a handful of Republican co-sponsors.”
This ignores the fact of how stupid terrorist watch lists are because they don’t do the job the government claims they’re supposed to. The Intercept (which isn’t exactly a conservative or libertarian publication) got hold of the National Counterterrorism Center guidelines for putting people on watch lists last year. Some of these guidelines includes social media and what “walk-ins” say, even if government employees are told not to use hunches.
So, yes, you might be on a terrorist watch list if you tweet, Facebook, or use other social media sites to post an article someone doesn’t like. The rules are so vague that even those who might be criticizing or pointing something out for others to see could end up on the list. But the Democrats and their allies in the media are all in favor of passing a law keeping people on watch lists from getting guns. George Stephanopoulos asked Donald Trump and Ben Carson how they felt about the issue on yesterday’s “This Week.” Via NewsBusters (emphasis mine).
STEPHANOPOULOS: But under current law, people on the watch list are allowed to buy guns.
TRUMP: George, if we have an enemy of state, I don’t want to give him anything. I want to have him in jail. That’s what I want. I want to have him in jail. But if those people in Paris had guns, it would have been a shootout, and very few people would have been hurt by comparison to the number that were hurt. I tell you who would have been hurt, the bad guys that had the guns.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But yes or no? Should someone on the terrorist watch list be allowed to buy a gun?
TRUMP: If somebody is on a watch list and an enemy of state that we know it’s an enemy of state, I would keep them away absolutely.
DR. BEN CARSON, GOP PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, as you, I’m sure, know, there are a lot of people on that watch list, and they have no idea why they’re on that list, they’ve been trying to get their names off of it and no one will give them information. You know, I am a big supporter of the Second Amendment, and I don’t want it to deprive people unnecessarily of that.
There needs to be better due process, and that’s one thing that I’m very interested in, finding a way to make government more responsive to the people. It’s really unfair that people can’t get a real hearing, and they get put on a list, and nobody can tell them why they’re there, and they go through for years and years, and they have to be tormented. It just doesn’t make any sense.
Jim Geraghty at National Review has more on the problems with the watch lists.
Indeed, it’s terrible for law-abiding Americans with no ties to terrorism to end up on some sort of government-run list of people under suspicion. Of course, that’s precisely what has already happened; I wonder if Iftikha knows Ted Kennedy and the Weekly Standard’s Stephen Hayes ended up on terrorism watch lists. This is one of the reasons many Republicans don’t want to ban gun sales to people on the “terror watch lists,” because there’s little public disclosure about just how someone ends up on the “terror watch list” or “no-fly list,” and once you’re on it, it’s exceptionally hard to get off. There is no independent or judicial review; once on it, you are guilty until proven innocent.
The ball’s in Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s court on whether the amendment will be considered or not. He shouldn’t allow it, but the Senate should reject it as quickly as possible if it is allowed. Democrats can try to play the national security game all they want, but this bill isn’t going to make anyone more safe and is just going to hurt more than help. Not that that’s ever stopped the government from passing laws in the interest of “public relations.”