If you're on the FBI's terror watch list, there are a lot of things you can't do: You can't work at an airport, you're not supposed to be able to fly on a plane, you can't get on a cruise ship to the Bahamas— but apparently you can go out and buy yourself a gun.
A new report from the independent General Accounting Office in Washington found that terrorists, or those suspected of being involved in terrorism, are buying guns just as easily as everybody else. The director of the FBI came out today and confirmed that.
In just nine months last year, 47 suspected terrorists legally purchased firearms and according to Director Robert Mueller, there's nothing the FBI can do about it. Under the nation's gun laws, unless you are a terrorist who also happens to be a convicted felon, a domestic violence offender, an illegal immigrant, or mentally deficient, the FBI can't stop you from purchasing a personal firearm. Are we saying that our love for guns outweighs our fear of potential terrorists?
To make things worse, after they've purchased their weapons, the federal government legally had to destroy the background checks within 24 hours. Congress passed that law last year so that the feds wouldn't be able to use gun-buying records for law enforcement purposes.
This is insane.
I know all about the Second Amendment. I wrote a law review article about it and I know there are serious problems with the terror watch list. There have been numerous cases of mistaken identity. The Department of Homeland Security even admitted in October it's doing a pretty shabby job of coordinating the list. But if the list is going to mean anything, it should at least prevent people whose names are on it from buying weapons. If there's a mix-up because the watch list is faulty, that can be cleared up with some additional investigation. The airlines do it every day.
Congress should act now to make sure terrorists can't use this nation's lax laws to create private arsenals to use against our own citizens.