Mike Bloomberg is shameless about using terrible mass murders to prevent law-abiding people from owning guns. The New York mayor is also very clever about using tactics to confuse the public into thinking his ideas are “common sense proposals,” but in fact, abridge Second Amendment rights.
His latest scheme is to use the news that suspected Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev was on the FBI’s terrorist watch list in order to get a new federal law preventing anyone on the mysterious list from buying a firearm. Officials at the FBI’s Terrorist Screening Center said there were 520,000 people in the database, and 20,000 of them are on the “no-fly list.” However, the ACLU reports there are over one million on the list.
The Bloomberg-funded organization Mayors Against Illegal Guns (MAIG) is now focusing on getting federal legislation to close the so-called terror gap. MAIG sent out a letter to reporters Wednesday announcing a new website and petition created after authorities said older Tsarnev brother was put on the watch list after Russia alerted the U.S. to keep tabs on him.
Along with “universal background checks,” the “terror gap” is intended to make people think it is a common-sense, public- safety issue. The facts, however, show that it is a Trojan Horse filled with soldiers attacking law-abiding Americans’ constitutional rights
“There is no ‘gap’ as MAIG claims,” NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam emailed me. “The problem is the quality of information within the watch list. The logical solution is to improve the integrity of information within this database. But, rather than focus on substance, Bloomberg is more interested in exploiting and deluding to further his political and social schemes.”
Mr. Arulanandam added that the FBI’s National Instant Background Checks System, which is the database of people banned from buying firearms, “suffers from the same problem.” The background check system is woefully broken because states are not putting all into it all the people who are banned from owning guns.
The gun grabbers disregard the innocent American citizens can accidentally end up on the terror list or “no-fly list” or are just in the broad category of “known or reasonably suspected” to be engaged in terrorist activities. In 2009, a Justice Department analysis of the list found that 35 percent of them were associated with FBI cases that did not contain any terrorism designations.
Also, 95 percent of the people on the list wouldn’t be able to buy a legal gun in the U.S. Fewer than 5 percent of the people in the database are U.S. citizens or legal residents. Under federal law, illegal aliens are not allowed to buy guns.
The General Accounting Office reported to Congress in May 2010 that from 2004, there were 1,228 times that someone on the terror list attempted to purchase a firearm. Of those, 109 were denied under laws barring felons and mentally ill from owning a gun.
There are two other major flaws in Mr. Bloomberg’s plan. The biggest hurdle is that someone bent on killing a lot of Americans will just steal guns. It is already illegal to buy a gun for the purpose of committing a crime. Law enforcement hasn’t revealed yet how the older Tsarnaev brother got the one handgun found on him. The younger brother was unarmed when he was captured. Police believe the brothers murdered the MIT campus police officer Sean Collier for his gun, but were prevented from taking it by a security device on his holster.
The other problem with Mr. Bloomberg’s plan is that the terror watch list is deliberately secretive so bad guys don’t know the feds are onto them. The FBI has indicated in the past that if possible terrorists go to buy a gun and are denied, they will then know that they are being monitored.
Mr. Bloomberg has been effectively changing the gun-control debate by directing attention to things that the public will accept as a way to make inroads in gun bans. The Brady Campaign did this same things 20 years ago when it focused its efforts on what it called “assault weapons.” The purpose was to find a gun that looked scary and the public would confuse with fully automatic machine guns. Rifles make up about 1 percent of all homicides by firearm, but going after them was a way to slowly chip away at rights of gun owners.
That’s what is being done now with the Senate bill to expand background checks that Mr. Bloomberg spent $12 million to try to pass.
A little nip around the edges of the Second Amendment will help him and Mr. Obama take a larger bite later in the form of the gun bans and national registry that they really want.
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