Guns and the Terrorist Watch List

Updated
 
Guns and the Terrorist Watch List
Guns and the Terrorist Watch List
Associated Press

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) hosted a press conference earlier this week to complain about the White House following the law with regards to Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, but during the event, a reporter raised a good question: why not stop people on the Terrorist Watch List from buying guns?

“I think, anyone who’s on the Terrorist Watch List should not lose their Second Amendment right without the ability to challenge that determination,” Graham replied.

It’s a legal oddity that doesn’t get talked about much: if you’re an American on the federal Terrorist Watch List, you can’t buy an airplane ticket, and you’re likely to have quite a bit of trouble at the border, but you can still buy an assault rifle. Graham sees no need to change this.

In fairness, I should note that the senator wasn’t explicitly endorsing letting terrorists buy firearms, so much as he was raising doubts about the accuracy of the watch list, but the practical effect is the same – those on the list can’t get buy a seat on a plane, but they can buy an arsenal. As Salon explained, “Currently, the federal government can only prevent a firearm sale for 11 reasons – suspected ties to terrorism, or even suspicion that a gun would be used in an attack, are not one of them.”

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), an NRA member with a “A” rating, would like to change the law.

A Senate sponsor of a defeated compromise on expanding gun sale background checks says he’ll consider changing the measure to add people on the government’s terror list to those forbidden from owning firearms. […]

Manchin told reporters Tuesday that following last week’s bombing in Boston, he might add language forbidding terrorists from getting guns.

If recent history, and Graham’s comments on Monday, are any indication, this measure will struggle to overcome a Republican filibuster, too.

Joe Manchin and Lindsey Graham

Guns and the Terrorist Watch List

Updated