Sunday, March 29, 2015

Fritz Walker: Change Rules So Suspected Terrorists Can't Buy Guns in U.S.

The Morning Call

The Terrorist Watchlist is not to be confused with the no-fly list. There have been some well-publicized issues with the no-fly list, which have been used to raise false concerns over this legislation. The Terrorist Watchlist tracks very dangerous persons, for whom denial of an attempt to purchase firearms or explosives should be a no-brainer.

Among the objective criteria for inclusion on the Terrorist Watchlist 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. Only a small percentage of persons on the list are U.S. citizens. Legitimate civil libertarian concerns should be allayed by the fact that there is an appeals process for those who claim they have been misidentified.

Concern over this gaping loophole in our safeguards against terrorism on American soil is no idle pipedream. The Government Accounting Office recently reported that between February 2004 and December 2014, individuals on the watch list attempted to purchase firearms or explosives on 2,233 occasions — and more than 90 percent of the time, they cleared a background check and received approval to buy.

Inspection of the NRA-ILA's objections shows them to mostly consist of unrealistic paranoia. The fact is almost any law could hypothetically be administered in a way that threatens civil liberties. That's no excuse for blocking important public safeguards.


  1. This new bill is likely to suffer the same fate.

    Your damned right it's likely, and it's a damned good thing, too.

    The Government Accounting Office recently reported that between February 2004 and December 2014, individuals on the watch list attempted to purchase firearms or explosives on 2,233 occasions — and more than 90 percent of the time, they cleared a background check and received approval to buy.

    I love, love, love it when these shrieking eunuchs bring that up, because you know what number they studiously avoid mentioning? That's right: the number of acts of terrorism (or, for that matter, any lesser act of crime or violence) committed with those firearms and explosives. If that number were anything other than zero, do you think that would be the case?

    If you do think that, can we talk about this really nice bridge I'm offering for sale?

  2. He admits there are problems with the "no-fly list" which is a small subset of the much broader "watch list" intended for more extreme cases, but it's a no-brainer to deny rights to everyone on the whole "watch list."

  3. Ah yes, the list that can remove your civil rights without due process without informing you that you're on the list, and if you do find out you're on the list, there is no obligation for them to tell you WHY you're on the list.
    Lets start out with the notoriously liberal leaning ACLU's position of the list,

    "Our country's watchlist system is grossly bloated and unfair with over a milllion names -- including many unlikely suspects -- and not effective as a security measure. "

    And of course, there are some well known errors in the list,

    "U.S. Senator Edward Kennedy (D, Mass.) After repeated delays at airport security, the senator had trouble getting removed from the airline watch list despite calls to Homeland Security and eventually a personal conversation with the Secretary of DHS."

    "Robert Johnson - 60 Minutes interviewed 12 men named Robert Johnson, all of whom reported being pulled aside and interrogated, sometimes for hours, nearly every time they go to the airport."

    Nelson Mandela, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize and a household name all over the world, nonetheless is listed on the U.S. watchlist and needs special permission to enter the United States.
    UPDATE: Mandela has been removed from the watchlist by an act of Congress. Unfortunately, that is not a solution that average people can rely upon.

    Yusuf Islam, a singer and pop star formerly known as Cat Stevens. Author of song "Peace Train." His flight from London was diverted and forced to land in Maine once the government realized he was aboard, and he was barred from entering United States.

    Now, admittedly, the data on the ALCU site is a bit dated, so lets look at something more current.

    "The Department Of Homeland Security is known for being somewhat overzealous with its terrorist watch list—Nelson Mandela was infamously on the list as late as 2008, for instance. Hundreds of thousands of people are routinely placed on the list, often for very minimal reasons.
    On Tuesday, the world got another glimpse into the baffling choices the federal government sometimes makes when conservative writer and Fox News pundit Stephen Hayes revealed that he had been placed on the list."

    Or this,

    "Abe Mashal, a 34-year-old Marine veteran, had flown frequently around the country to work with clients in his dog-training business. But when Mashal tried to pick up his boarding pass at Chicago's Midway International Airport in April 2010, he was surrounded by Transportation Security Administration agents and police and told that he was on the nation's no-fly list."

    "Then Mashal tried an online government "redress" process. FBI agents, he says, told him he could get off the list by becoming an informant in the Muslim community. Mashal contacted the ACLU and joined a dozen others in a suit against the government."

    "Far worse is when a law-abiding citizen is actually on the list and tries to get off. He runs into a wall of secrecy. The government won't confirm whether he is on the list or not, or provide any of the evidence.
    The only way to find out whether you remain on the list is to go to the airport and try again. Last year, Marshal did just that and was allowed to fly, just as mysteriously as he'd been barred.
    The government is mulling whether to appeal the federal judge's decision. The answer is easy, especially on this Fourth of July weekend. For U.S. citizens, the guilty-until-proven-innocent no-fly list process flies in the face of America's founding principles."

    And they want to apply this error laden list to determine who can or cant exercise their right to possess firearms. Sorry, not a good thing.

    1. "The Terrorist Watchlist is not to be confused with the no-fly list. " much of what you quoted is confusing the two.

    2. As TS said, the no fly list is a subset of the terrorist list which would mean it has the same issues of secrecy and error. The commenter mentions an appeal process, but how can you appeal something when they aren't required to tell you what put you on the list in the first place? And if you do appeal they can always say no and aren't obligated to say why.
      Loss of rights with no due process is not a good thing. And just imagine how this would work in conjunction with the NY SAFE Act. List gets sent to state, police show up at the door to collect your guns. All based on data that you don't get to see.

    3. And the reason why we hear about false “no-fly list” cases is because there is a way to find out you are on the list- by attempting to fly. If the gun control folks get there way to impose restrictions on the list of people who are currently only being “watched”, then we’d have a plethora of cases of people being falsely denied gun purchases.

  4. "Fritz Walker of South Whitehall Township is a member of the board of directors of CeaseFirePA."

    Ah, that explains the common sense angle, or rather the lack of it....