CPRC in the Daily Caller: Misinformation about Terror Watch List and the ability to buy guns

26 Nov , 2015  

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John Lott had this latest piece in the Daily Caller (originally titled: “Does George Stephanopoulos Even Know What Gun Laws We Have Now?”):

Do gun control advocates even read what gun laws are on the books?  The hot new claim is that there’s nothing to stop identified terrorists from buying guns in this country.

On Sunday, on ABC’s “The Week,” George Stephanopoulos asserted that, “Under current law, individuals on the terror watch list and the no-fly list have been allowed to buy guns and explosives.”  That same day, New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton got on “Meet the Press” and asked Congress to “help us out with that Terrorist Watch List, those thousands of people that can purchase firearms in this country.” Chuck Todd then pressed Ohio Governor John Kasich on whether he would protect Americans by following Bratton’s advice.

It sure sounds scary.

But Bratton surely knows better. Law enforcement is notified every time that a person on the terror watch list attempts to buy gun. If it raises other flags, that case may be further scrutinized.

Being on the watch list doesn’t mean that you are guilty of anything. You can be on the list simply because the FBI wants to interview you about someone you might know. About 300,000 people on the watch list are under “reasonable suspicion” even though they have “no affiliation with known terrorist groups.”

Being on the watch list doesn’t mean that you have been arrested, prosecuted, or convicted of a crime. Of over 2,000 people on the watch list that bought guns between February 2004 and December 2014, not a single one has been identified as using a gun in a crime.

It is pretty easy to get on the terrorist watch list even if you haven’t done anything wrong. About 700,000 people were on the watch list last year, and this number has grown dramatically during the Obama administration. In 2014, about 50,000 people were on the “no-fly” list. This is a 10-fold increase since the beginning of 2009. . . .

The rest of the piece is available here.

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