More than 800 gun purchases were approved after background checks in the last five years even though the buyers' names were on the government's terrorist watch list, investigators said Monday.
Being on the watch list is not among the nine factors, such as a felony conviction, that disqualify someone from buying a gun under federal law. More than 900 background checks between February 2004 and February 2009 turned up names on the watch list, and all but 98 were allowed to go through.
The watch list — maintained by the FBI and used by federal, state and local law enforcement agencies — is meant to identify known or suspected terrorists. However, the list has drawn criticism over the years for mistakes that have led to questioning and searches of innocent people.
I believe this is the same list we talked about last year. At that time there were reports all over the internet that the list contained a million names, obviously many who didn't belong there. Suddenly the government announced the list is much shorter than that, around 16,000 they said. So what does it mean? What does it mean for the 800 "suspected terrorists" who've purchased firearms over the last five years?
The top lobbyist for the National Rifle Association said the terrorist watch list has names of people who should not be on the list.
"Law-abiding Americans should not be treated like terrorists," the NRA's Chris Cox said. "To deny law-abiding people due process and their Second Amendment rights based on a secret list is not how we do things in America."
I'm certainly in agreement with that, although I don't know if it qualifies as a "secret" list. The federal government that keeps lists on it's citizens might be all right for China and Iran, but surely not in America. But what's a government to do? How are they supposed to anticipate another 9/11 attack if they don't keep lists? These are difficult questions.
About anyone being able to buy guns, certain places in America are havens for that sort of thing, aren't they? No one goes to New Jersey for that, but there are states where anyone, terrorist, felon, mentally ill person, anyone at all can easily buy guns. And let's not forget the so-called "straw purchasers" and the middle men looking only to turn a profit. That's the problem. That's where a lot of the gun flow happens.
We talked about New Jersey's new one-gun-a-month law the other day. Is it safe to assume that the crime guns in Camden and Newark are for the most part imported from out of state? Then would it be safe to assume that if those other states had similar restrictions to those of NJ, this type of gun flow would cease? I say yes, and I say that's part of the solution. I also say it would be a small price for the legitimate gun public to pay for a major improvement in the gun violence problem.
What's your opinion?