In an op-ed for The Morning Call, Fritz Walker, a member of CeaseFirePennsylvania’s board of directors, asks why the National Rifle Association is doing its best to block new legislation that would prevent individuals on the Terrorist Watchlist from purchasing firearms. Opposition from extreme gun-rights organizations, including the NRA, has defeated all past bills on the subject.
A person’s inclusion on the Terrorist Watchlist requires that several objective criteria be met, including membership in an organization devoted to jihad, a record of financial transfers to a terrorist organization, and the incitement of acts of terrorism. Only a few on the list are U.S. citizens, and legitimate civil libertarian concerns may be addressed through the appeals process by which a person can claim he or she has been misidentified.
“Concern over this gaping loophole in our safeguards against terrorism on American soil is no idle pipe dream. The Government Accounting Office recently reported that between February 2004 and December 2014, individuals on the watch list attempted to purchase firearms or explosives on 2,233 occasions — and more than 90 percent of the time, they cleared a background check and received approval to buy,” writes Walker.
“Background checks have been conducted for two decades without widespread abuses, while preventing sales to well more than 2 million prohibited persons. Furthermore, legitimate concerns with the law could be addressed by working with Congress to arrive at a sensible compromise. But that’s never the approach of the leadership of the modern NRA. Far from mainstream, the already extreme agenda of the NRA gets only more so with each passing day.”