Why The National Rifle Association Is Al Qaeda's Best Friend
Looking for a potent issue in next year’s midterms? How about this one? Because of the NRA’s efforts to weaken gun control laws, and the White House and GOP support for such efforts under the pretense that the privacy rights of gun owners are more important than the government’s right to maintain records, known terror suspects have been largely successful since 9/11 in obtaining guns and assault weapons.
You read that correctly. Why does the NRA and its GOP supporters hate America so much?
Dozens of terror suspects on federal watch lists were allowed to buy firearms legally in the United States last year, according to a Congressional investigation that points up major vulnerabilities in federal gun laws.
People suspected of being members of a terrorist group are not automatically barred from legally buying a gun, and the investigation, conducted by the Government Accountability Office, indicated that people with clear links to terrorist groups had regularly taken advantage of this gap.
Since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, law enforcement officials and gun control groups have voiced increasing concern about the prospect of a terrorist walking into a gun shop, legally buying an assault rifle or other type of weapon and using it in an attack.
F.B.I. officials maintain that they are hamstrung by laws and policies restricting the use of gun-buying records because of concerns over the privacy rights of gun owners.
At least 44 times from February 2004 to June, people whom the F.B.I. regards as known or suspected members of terrorist groups sought permission to buy or carry a gun, the investigation found.
In all but nine cases, the F.B.I. or state authorities who handled the requests allowed the applications to proceed because a check of the would-be buyer found no automatic disqualification like being a felon, an illegal immigrant or someone deemed "mentally defective," the report found.
In the four months after the formal study ended, the authorities received an additional 14 gun applications from terror suspects, and all but 2 of those were cleared to proceed, the investigation found. In all, officials approved 47 of 58 gun applications from terror suspects over a nine-month period last year, it found.
The gun buyers came up as positive matches on a classified internal F.B.I. watch list that includes thousands of terrorist suspects, many of whom are being monitored, trailed or sought for questioning as part of terrorism investigations into Islamic-based, militia-style and other groups, official said. G.A.O. investigators were not given access to the identities of the gun buyers because of those investigations.
The N.R.A. and gun rights supporters in Congress have fought - successfully, for the most part - to limit the use of the F.B.I.'s national gun-buying database as a tool for law enforcement investigators, saying the database would amount to an illegal registry of gun owners nationwide.
The NRA and their GOP supporters in the House and Senate have no defense for this one. The NRA and the GOP are making it easy for terrorists to acquire assault weapons here at home, plain and simple, and the FBI says they are hindered in fighting terrorism. That is the only sound bite Democrats need between now and next year to destroy vulnerable Republicans who have accepted large campaign contributions from the NRA.
If the GOP can run advertisements that smear the AARP with being pro-gay marriage because they are against Social Security privatization, and if a GOP Jewish front group can run ads that link Howard Dean to Hamas (with Ari Fleischer’s full support), then the DCCC can run ads that can claim the NRA provides support to Al Qaeda just as well.
Let's see the GOP congressional leadership squirm their way out of this one. What are they going to do? Blame the FBI for having its hands tied by the GOP congressional leadership and the White House?