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Guns and Terrorists

May 17, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

Rep. Peter King’s [R, NY-3] proposed Denying Firearms and Explosives to Dangerous Terrorists Act states:

The Attorney General may deny the transfer of a firearm pursuant to section 922(t)(1)(B)(ii) if the Attorney General determines that the transferee is known (or appropriately suspected) to be or have been engaged in conduct constituting, in preparation for, in aid of, or related to terrorism, or providing material support thereof, and the Attorney General has a reasonable belief that the prospective transferee may use a firearm in connection with terrorism.

It sounds like quite a bit of discretion for AG Eric Holder. Not surprisingly, some people are worried it’s too much:

Critics say the names of suspected terrorists could be drawn from existing government watch lists that cover such broad categories as animal rights extremists, Christian identity extremists, black separatists, anti-abortion extremists, anti-immigration extremists and anti-technology extremists.

“It doesn’t say anything about trials and due process,” said Larry Pratt, executive director of Gun Owners of America. “This is one of the most outrageous pieces of legislation to come along in some time. It’s basically saying, ‘I suspect you, so your rights are toast.’”

Terrorist watch lists came under fire last month after a Department of Homeland Security report warned that right wing extremist groups may be expanding their membership in the midst of current economic upheaval. While the report stated that such groups were not believed to be planning any terrorist attacks, it went on to state they might do so in the name of issues like abortion, immigration and gun control.

The report sparked outrage from conservative groups and politicians, including Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, the ranking Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, who called it “political profiling.”

A similar DHS report on left wing terrorist groups, such as Earth Liberation Front and Animal Liberation Front, was released in January.

Related: The No Fly, No Buy Act.

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