Let's get tough on potential terrorists! Unless, of course, that means limiting gun ownership in any way.
If you're on the FBI's list of suspected terrorists, you can be be prevented from flying in and out of the United States. You can also be prevented from receiving health benefits provided to 9/11 first responders. Know what you're not prevented from doing, though? Owning a handgun.
Last year in America, 247 people on the FBI's "terrorist watch list"—which includes more than 450,000 names—purchased guns. It was totally legal for them to do that, and they could probably buy more this year if they wanted to. It's something Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) calls the nation's gun law "terror gap," and it's something he's working to change.
The problem? At least one problem is the NRA, which doesn't want the government to decide who can and can't get a weapon. Also, according to a counterterrorism official who spoke to the AP, banning people on the terrorist watch list from owning a gun would require telling them they're being watched. Do that and a smart criminal is going to change his behavior drastically, thereby mitigating any investigation into his movements.
We've often questioned the wisdom of almost anyone being able to buy a gun at will in this country. This seems like just another case of "basic American freedom" superseding common sense.
photo via Flickr user C.G.P Grey