Mission statement:

Armed and Safe is a gun rights advocacy blog, with the mission of debunking the "logic" of the enemies of the Constitutionally guaranteed, fundamental human right of the individual to keep and bear arms.

I can be reached at 45superman@gmail.com.You can follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/45superman.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Now it's the 'terror gap loophole' that we need to close down

Through Cryptic Subterranean (via War on Guns), we learn of Senator Lautenberg's (D-NJ) latest salvo: S. 1237, "A bill to increase public safety by permitting the Attorney General to deny the transfer of firearms or the issuance of firearms and explosives licenses to known or suspected dangerous terrorists." Yep, you read that correctly. The Constitutionally guaranteed fundamental human right of the individual to keep and bear arms would now be subject to denial--not when found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law, nor even indicted by a grand jury, or even charged by a prosecutor with a single crime--but when you are "suspected" of being a terrorist.

The bill, having been introduced only last Thursday, is still too new for its text to be available online, but Lautenberg has put out a gloat page press release about it.

"It took years, but the Administration finally realized that letting terrorists buy guns is dangerous. This 'terror gap' in our gun laws has been open too long and I am going to shut it down," said Sen. Lautenberg.
"Terror gap," eh (later on, he expands on that concept, and refers to the "terror gap loophole")? So that's how bands of terrorists are getting dozens of AR-15s and massacring mall goers by the hundreds, and buying .50 caliber rifles and shooting down jumbo jets--wait--you mean that stuff hasn't happened yet? Well, I'm sure they've been planning to get around to that any day now.

Here are the few available specifics about the bill (from Lautenberg's press release).
Sen. Lautenberg's measure - the "Denying Firearms and Explosives to Dangerous Terrorists Act of 2007" - specifically:

• Provides the Attorney General with discretionary authority to deny the transfer of a firearm or the issuance of a firearm or explosives license or permit when a background check reveals that the purchaser is a known or suspected terrorist and the Attorney General reasonably believes that the person may use a firearm or explosives in connection with terrorism;

• Includes due process safeguards that afford an affected person an opportunity to challenge a denial by the Attorney General; and

• Protects the sensitive information upon which terrorist watch list listings are based.
So--the Attorney General would have discretionary authority to deny a fundamental human right. That certainly is a lot of power--vastly more than I would trust Anthony Gonzales with, let alone an AG appointed by President Hillary. By the way, I like the way that the point about "due process safeguards" for appeal is followed by the point about protecting "the sensitive information." Does this mean that the "suspected terrorist" will not be permitted to see the grounds on which the suspicions about him are based? That would make an appeal rather tricky, I imagine.

Care to speculate about how easy it is to get on the "suspected terrorist" list? As Cryptic Subterranean points out (from the link at the beginning of this post):
Perhaps in years to come anyone who doesn't agree with the laws coming out of Washington could be branded a suspected terrorist and thus denied the right to purchase firearms. Not so long ago a Democrat lawmaker was trying to brand groups like the Minutemen as domestic terrorists.
I can certainly envision a President Hillary decreeing that Gun Owners of America, and Jews for the Preservation of Firearm Ownership are "terrorist groups."

This bill, if it passes, might be the "long ball" against private firearm ownership that Lautenberg has been looking for his entire career. Let's strike him out, instead.