Refuge for Syrians? No Way. Guns for Terror Suspects? No Problem!

Better that a hundred bad guys get guns than one good guy have to appeal….

Rep. Peter King (R-NY) has proposed the Denying Firearms and Explosives to Dangerous Terrorists Act. The bill would authorize the Attorney General to block the transfer of guns and explosives to individuals on the national Terrorist Watchlist. From 2004 through 2014, 2,233 such purchase attempts were made, and 2,043 (91%) were successful:

Firearm sales to individuals on Terrorist Watchlist, 2004–2014. Graphic from Washington Post, 2015.11.16.
Firearm sales to individuals on Terrorist Watchlist, 2004–2014. Graphic from Washington Post, 2015.11.16.

In those rare denials, terror suspects were never denied a gun because they were terror suspects, but for other violations, such as “felony conviction, under indictment, adjudicated mental health, misdemeanor crime of domestic violence conviction, fugitive from justice and controlled substance abuse.”

In a political environment in which numerous lawmakers are clamoring for the United States to deny safe haven to refugees on the pretext that those refugees come from a country with bad guys in it, one would expect to hear even greater clamor for rules to prevent truly suspicious people already in the United States from getting guns and bombs. Rep. King’s legislation even includes provisions for thwarted gun buyers to appeal if they feel they’ve been improperly included on the Terrorist Watchlist.

But Rep. Kristi Noem isn’t co-sponsoring the Denying Firearms and Explosives to Dangerous Terrorists Act. Senators John Thune and Mike Rounds haven’t said anything about it. Since 2007, Congress has refused to block terror suspects’ access to guns in the United States.

Why? Ask the National Rifle Association:

But these bills have rarely made it out of committee, in part due to vehement opposition from the National Rifle Association and its allies in Congress. The NRA objected to earlier versions of the bill, saying they were “aimed primarily at law-abiding American gun owners,” that “prohibiting the possession of firearms doesn’t stop criminals from illegally acquiring them,” and that the bills were “sponsored by gun control extremists” [Christopher Ingraham, “From 2004 to 2014, over 2,000 Terror Suspects Legally Purchased Guns in the United States,” Washington Post: Wonkblog, 2015].

The NRA blocked a previous iteration of the Denying Firearms and Explosives to Dangerous Terrorists Act in 2009:

The NRA opposed the bill, claiming it would “deny law-abiding people due process and their Second Amendment rights.” As evidence, the NRA’s chief lobbyist cited a Justice Department report indicating that 6 percent of people on the list were included based on obsolete or extraneous FBI information. An editorial published by the NRA complained that the bill would lower “the standard measure of proof of guilt in criminal prosecutions” and that “whole segments of lawful firearms commerce could be wiped out.” The bill died in committee [William Saletan, “LaPierre the Lawyer,” Slate, 2013.01.17].

I am willing to wager that fewer than 6% of Syrian refugees are inclined to commit terrorist acts when they get to France or America (and 0% of the killers in last week’s attacks in Paris were Syrian refugees). On that slim percentage, far too many politicians will leave fellow human beings to languish in refugee camps or suffer under ISIS oppression. But suggest that we prevent terror suspects from getting guns, and Republicans briefly channel the ACLU and rediscover their commitment to “liberty” over security.

Our (mostly Republican) lawmakers may fear Syrian widows and orphans, but they are even more afraid of crossing the gun lobby.

49 Responses to Refuge for Syrians? No Way. Guns for Terror Suspects? No Problem!

  1. Francis Schaffer

    Wow it seems some are going all Chicken Little on this refugee thing. Please let them come. Get them local people to help them with school, doctors, shopping, social activities, etc. We should welcome them and do all in our power to help them achieve their dreams.

  2. mike from iowa


    I noticed local grocery stores aren’t advertising turkeys for Thanksgiving. Uh oh.

  3. it’s better that 100 criminals go free than convict one innocent person (except for minorities). this is the law of the land called white privilege.

    but for guns, its better that 100 terrorists’ whole segment of commerce remain unrestricted rather than wipe out one person’s obsolete or extraneous inclusion on the FBI terror watch list. for you know, a terrorist, like any child in ‘merrica, should be able to buy an ar15 and 100 round magazine, preferably at a gun show, unless and until convicted guilty beyond reasonable doubt.

    commerce in assault rifles?? we allow this???? open carry at mcdonalds?????? 18 year olds, concealed carry, in high school parking lots??????????? oh, i see, more commerce generated ’cause more good guys w/ guns needed to protect us from 100 terrorists with newly purchased guns.

    oh, NRA is very concerned with mental illness, the cause of all gun violence (except for pets and children). ocasionaly

  4. Paul Seamans

    I used to be a proud member of the NRA. The NRA has lost its way and will even fight simple background checks like we have in South Dakota. It takes about 20 minutes to do a background check and is no big imposition on a gun buyer. I am still an NRA (life) member, just a little less proud. The NRA seems to have become an arm of the tea party.

  5. Paul, do you think the NRA’s motivation stems from a political ideology as much has a corporate profit one? The absolute right to own a gun protects the gun sellers’ profits margins. I see the NRA now as the marketing agent for US arms dealers: any lengths to get any (gun) product into any consumer’s hands is good for the bottom line.

  6. I’ll follow O and the money on that one. The NRA is an industry lobby, cleverly wrapped in the Founders, the flag, and fear.

  7. Paul Seamans

    O, I haven’t totally figured out what motivates the NRA anymore. The NRA used to be about teaching gun safety and writing stories about historical arms. Now their articles have a definite political bent to them and they now seem to be an arm of the Republican party. I am a life member and if I wasn’t I would not renew. Having Sarah Palin as a keynote speaker at the NRA national convention a couple of years ago convinced me that the NRA has lost their way. Sad. Your connecting the NRA’s existence to furthering corporate profits makes a lot of sense.

  8. Porter Lansing

    Since CO limited an ammo magazine to 15 bullets a few years ago, not ONE citizen has needed more than 15 rounds at a time. NOT ONE!!! And you know the NRA would love to find someone who did.
    (After the new gun safety laws were passed, NRA found a hundred year old law that had never been implemented. It demanded that recall elections take place almost immediately. NRA money got two state legislators (that voted for the new regulations) recalled because there wasn’t time to prepare the standard mail-in ballots. That law has been changed. Within six months those recalled seats were back in the hands of Democrats)
    There’s empirical evidence that gun safety regulations save lives. e.g. The shooter at the Naval Yard near DC tried to buy semi-auto rifles in a neighboring state but was only allowed to buy shotguns on the same day as his request. Had he bought semi-autos many more would have died in his mass murder spree.

  9. The NRA, the new GOP . . . so many are pushing the mantra of unfettered corporate profit at ANY social cost. When did the we reject the social responsibility of corporations? Why is it wrong to expect (and denote those expectations in regulation) responsible behaviors from corporations just as we do all “people.” If I gave material support to a terrorist, I would be rightly prosecuted for that action. The ability cause all manor of social ill under the immunity of corporate profit is the malignant disease of our nation.

  10. Eve Fisher

    The NRA keeps saying that everyone’s safer with guns. Meanwhile, people are wetting their pants over the thought of a Syrian refugee family – that’s already been vetted for 3 years – coming into the country. Let’s face facts, at this point, the Fox News fanatics aren’t going to feel safe even during the Second Coming, because Fox News, the NRA, Eric Erickson, et al are never going to shut up, and never going to let them simply enjoy the fact – yes, THE FACT – that we live in one of the safest, most prosperous, stable, comfortable, healthy eras in the whole of human history. Until we f**k it up completely. Thanks, guys.

  11. mike from iowa

    Porter,didn’t the shipyard killer take out two armed guards before going after other victims?

  12. Why does NOem, Jihadi John and EB Rounds have it in for Aberdeen now? I mean they have always abused those who live around there, but now, they are against the halal meat that their failed meat processing plant wants to provide. So these cowards want to punish Aberdeen and the rest of northern South Dakota for their hand in the corruption.

    We should start putting chickens in front of all their offices, flippin cowards.

  13. This is very unfortunate and that is an obvious understatement! A very small number of extremists are causing others to suffer incredibly when they are seeking refuge, safety and earn a living to raise their families. It’s not like these people are some type of savage barbarians. They are doctors, welders, mechanics, formally small business owners, you name it and did the best they could to positively contribute to the society they came from. Imagine if our families and us were in their situation.

    Roger Wilco Out!

  14. mike from iowa

    NRA is getting particular about who gets to exercise 2nd amendment rights? Can’t have that. No infringing anyone’s right to keep and bear arms. Includes terrorists or the 2nd doesn’t mean what you pricks say it means.

  15. Jim Abdnor is rolling in his grave thinking that his protege, Jihadi John is such a little bedwetter when it comes to allowing immigrants from the Mid East here, Jim Abdnor was of Lebanese heritage, Syria’s next door neighbor. What a little coward the Murdo boy has proven to be.

  16. Here is a republican, yep, a republican that values the meaning of what the Statue of Liberty stands for. Clearly, he is not afraid of a 3 year old Syrian kid, nor his mother. In some circles, we call what he is saying on the House floor, statesman like. That is the circle that I choose to be in for myself.

  17. mike from iowa

    One good deal came out of our NW iowa snowstorm. Crazy ass Ben Carson(whose own advisers are scared of his foreign policy) had to cancel a trip through my area today. Thank you Mother Nature.

  18. Porter Lansing

    MFI … Yes, he did shoot two armed guards. Then went to an elevated area above a food court and opened fire on people below. Had he had rifles, it would have been like fish in a barrel. With shotguns, people were at least able to run and the wounds weren’t as severe. Twelve dead and three injured.
    In the movie theatre shooting the killer came in with several hundred round clips, stood in front of the screen and unloaded on the patrons. Twelve dead but seventy wounded. Seventy people going to lifelong therapy and rehab. This prompted the fifteen round magazine limit.

  19. What is a hundred round clip, Porter? What was the caliber of said clip err magazine holding 100 rounds?

  20. I think he met drums Les. A 100 round clip would be like a camera stick and it would be hard to bang against your helmet to set the rounds to the back.

  21. So the movie shooter had several hundred round drums, Porter?

    I think accuracy of facts enhances a position more than incompetent hot air.

  22. Porter Lansing

    Are you two “gun huggers” trying to change the direction of the thread; a common ploy when out-brained or are you disputing my knowledge of weapons. A drum is a mag is a clip in common vernacular. It’s called “negativity bias” and you two are just lazy thinkers. Your brains have to work too hard to process positive and progressive ideas so you just reject immediately…like a shallow pond of thought.

  23. Porter Lansing

    And, in case you’re really interested and not just being a smart-ass… the rifles were .223 caliber AR-15’s, which was the novice shooters mistake. When loaded with a hundred round mag drum and rapidly fired the weapon overheats and jams, which prevented another 70 from being wounded.

  24. You need a different med, Porter or you just may become the next angry shooter.

  25. I am a little worried about our good friend Porter too. Did he already make the trip to Missouri to punch Bill Dithmer in the face to give him two black eyes like he threatened he’d do? They keep claiming Colorado has turned into this peaceful, happy go lucky place with rainbows and unicorns since they legalized but we sure see different behavior.

  26. bearcreekbat

    There you go again Lynn, openly and publicly denigrating people you believe to be addicts rather than showing the slightest bit of compassion or empathy.

  27. Porter Lansing

    The pervert Dithmer has so far refrained from making lewd comments about the sexual desires of teenage girls, but as a bully he deserves all the disruption necessary.
    It seems so many of the predisposed positions you have about CO are “accuracy challenged”. Might it be that you are more often wrong than correct? It surely seems so.
    Thanks for your concern. Feel free to seek my consul at will.

  28. Porter Lansing

    @Lynn … You’ll have to please stop sending those anonymous messages to my Facebook account. As flattering as they are, I’m just not able to give you the amount and type of attention you’re demanding.
    And, I’m going to tell you one last time. I will NOT mail you any marijuana. You’ll just have to do what your boyfriend GrungyNick does and drive down here, like everyone else. THAT’S FINAL, LYNN!!!

  29. porter get a life, and a clue. dith is much loved here. many of us have lived and loved in colorado. you remind me of costner coming to deadwood thinking he’d discovered a new, yet to be developed aspen. the sophistication and deviancy of deadwood after 150 years of gold grubbing far exceeds little colorado’s chivingtonian or culinary minds.

    apologize for calling me a racist and i might be nice :)

  30. Porter Who Resides in Colorado,

    I’m sorry to disappoint you but whomever is supposedly sending you messages imagined or real on your facebook account is not me. Are you hearing voices also?

  31. is someone saying because the ar15 is not military issue, but a clone, the the 100 round drum magazine is no longer dangerous. ammosexual anyone? common vernacular my ass.

  32. Porter Lansing

    They certainly resemble things you say and think, Ms. Lynn. Give me your last name and I’ll know for sure.

  33. Porter Lansing

    What is being said, without the gun huggers trying to intercept the message by changing the subject, is that gun safety regulations save lives AND the hundred round drum is now outlawed in CO. much to the dismay of the NRA.

  34. Over 20 years ago we created a large block of refugees with Iraq 1. The women and children left behind by dead brothers and fathers with no support mechanism in a world unfriendly to that segment. We again repeated Iraq and Afghanistan came into play as well.

    What a tragedy we have forced on the world. That they wish to cut our hearts out should come as no surprise.

    Frontline on the children of ISIS.

    I would guess we now support the Taliban, “again”, while simultaneously supporting the Afghanistan government.

  35. larry kurtz

    treaties and agreements suspended for expediency, Les? Sounds like a recipe for desperation, maybe even mass suicide in the diaspora. think it could happen in southern dakota?

  36. barry freed

    Here is something for your inane, prurient “ammosexual” fixation; one of the newest sex toys on the market:

    Note how the demonstrator never missed the target at 100 yards, even using only the front sight.

    Of course, the French person in their apartment window watching the terrorist standing still and alone outside of the diner can’t own this easy shooting weapon. It would be uncivilized, like a patriotic American, to save your fellow countrymen. Better to take the high road, survive yourself, and let the innocents die. You can redeem yourself (in your own mind) by advocating and/or passing more restrictive gun laws, as the EU did.

    Porter, lest I be labeled a “gun hugger”, gasp, shudder, I’ll laughingly dispute your knowledge of guns and your baseless contention that CO guns laws have saved lives. Shotguns with rifled barrels shooting sabot slugs have a 2.5 inch grouping at 100 yards and lose little velocity: Of course, as soon as you get the demonic black guns banned, you will go after these hunting guns.
    As far as AR’s jamming due to heat:
    Please provide citations for your wild claims.

  37. Porter Lansing

    Mr. Freed … That term “gun hugger” kinda gets under your skin, huh? Being grouped with “tree huggers” as an extremist must hurt. That’s OK, though. You can caress your weapon and imagine that women are impressed by your “protection”.
    >The Naval Yard shooter didn’t have or could he buy a shotgun with a rifled barrel, loaded with slugs. He had a sawed off shotgun, which he altered himself.
    >Jamming is as big an issue now as it was in VietNam. e.g.

  38. We did not have 30 round clips when I was in country, there were some, but they were not as available as the 20’s so we tapped two twenty’s together and found they worked pretty good. You never loaded your clip with any more that 18 rounds as 20 sometimes caused it to jamb. You also needed to jamb the rounds to the back of the clip to seed them better. An AK though, could stand the test. I have seen them muddy and dirty as can be but still able to fire effectively. It will also shoot an M-16 round, funny how that works.

  39. Porter Lansing

    Mr. Freed … Let’s cut the NRA bull, shall we? Public safety trumps (over rides) the 2nd amendment. e.g. There are already many weapons the public can’t own because they’re overly dangerous to public safety. Should more weapons rise to that danger level, those guns will be banned also. The second amendment kneels before my safety and your worship of it is inconsequential.
    Now … I’m going hunting. You can make your case, sir. However, I’ll not respond.

  40. gunbrokers, llc (location unknown) online ad. san bernadino guns. convenient. “full auto”. barry carry?

    DPMS .308 Rifle Oracle 7.62×51 RFLR-308 AR 10 15
    1 0 $849.00 11h 53m +

    1 0 $145.00 11h 55m +

    1. Organization
    Organization — We are one of the world’s leading manufacturers of firearms. We sell our products under the Smith & Wesson brand, the M&P brand, the Thompson/Center brand, and the Walther brand and manufacture a wide array of handguns, modern sporting rifles, hunting rifles, black powder firearms, handcuffs, and firearm-related products and accessories for sale to a wide variety of customers, including gun enthusiasts, collectors, hunters, sportsmen, competitive shooters, individuals desiring home and personal protection, law enforcement and security agencies and officers, and military agencies in the United States and throughout the world. We are one of the largest manufacturers of handguns, modern sporting rifles, and handcuffs in the United States, and an active participant in the hunting rifle market. We manufacture our firearm products at our facilities in Springfield, Massachusetts and Houlton, Maine. In addition, we pursue opportunities to license our name and trademarks to third parties for use in association with their products and services.

  42. “modern sporting rifles”-cute! they write just like grudz.

  43. barry: seriously?

    “Of course, the French person in their apartment window watching the terrorist standing still and alone outside of the diner can’t own this easy shooting weapon. It would be uncivilized, like a patriotic American, to save your fellow countrymen. Better to take the high road, survive yourself, and let the innocents die. You can redeem yourself (in your own mind) by advocating and/or passing more restrictive gun laws, as the EU did.”

    let’s you and a republican friend and me and a dem friend meet for coffee at any of the klatches some afternoon, unarmed and no weapons stached or in cars either.

  44. stashed, or is it stasched? :{)

  45. i would agree, porter likely does not know what he is talking about. how wuz the hunting bud? elk season up in the flat tops?

  46. latimes
    December 3, 2015, 3:52 a.m.
    Around 11 a.m., two assailants opened fire in San Bernardino at a party in the Inland Regional Center, police said.
    Fourteen people were killed and 17 wounded. (36 bullets?)

    Last week, it was the lone shooter at the Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, Colo. In October, it was students and teachers being gunned down at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Ore. So far in 2015, there have been more mass shootings — four victims or more — than there have been days. The terrorist attack in Paris that killed 130 innocent people two weeks ago took more lives than any individual incident in this country, but, in addition to the death toll, the shock of the Paris massacre was that it was out of the ordinary for the French.

    Their reaction was to declare war against Islamic State, the terrorist group that planned the attack. When will the United States declare war against the ceaseless shootings on home soil?

    One thing that they reportedly have in common with all the shooters in the U.S. is that they easily and, apparently, legally, obtained firearms that, in other advanced countries, are available only to the military and police.

    1:35 A.M.
    12:31 A.M.
    Law enforcement officers wearing tactical gear in Redlands. (Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

    As investigators worked overnight searching a Redlands home linked to the shooting rampage, nearby residents said they were stunned to learn that this sleepy town was connected to the tragedy.

    Dozens of people gathered outside yellow police tape crisscrossing the neighborhood where two suspects fled from law enforcement Wednesday before a gun battle with police that led to their deaths in San Bernardino.

    “All these shootings are too close to home,” a CVS worker in Redlands said just before midnight.

    The neighborhood — a mix of houses, condos and apartment buildings — was marked by well-kept lawns and illuminated by porch lights.

    One resident, Faith Sanders, said that although cars were broken into from time to time, the neighborhood felt safe. The 48-year-old has lived there for five years.

    “I’ve been stuck to the TV all day,” she said. “I was shocked because I was watching it there. Then, all of the sudden, it’s here.”

    — Kate Mather

    12:26 A.M.
    (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

    The suspects in the shooting rampage were a married couple who had just dropped off their 6-month-old daughter with a grandmother, family representatives said.

    Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, and Tashfeen Malik, 27, were married two years ago, according to Malik’s brother, Farhan Khan, shown above.

    On Wednesday morning, Farook and his wife dropped their daughter off with Farook’s mother in Redlands, saying they had a doctor’s appointment, said Hussam Ayloush, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations’ Los Angeles office.

    Farook was born in Illinois, and his parents immigrated to the U.S. from Southeast Asia….

    Bomb squad officers disposed of three devices a couple of hours ago….

    Police officials said that two suspects, Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik, were armed with two assault rifles and two semiautomatic handguns.

    The assault rifles were a .223-caliber DPMS Model A15 and a Smith and Wesson M&P15. One of the handguns was manufactured by Llama, and the other by Smith and Wesson.

    — Joel Rubin and Christine Mai-Duc

    10:30 P.M.
    Shooting suspect Syed Farook, a health inspector with San Bernardino County’s public health department, joined dozens of his colleagues at a party Wednesday morning at the Inland Regional Center. He disappeared shortly before the mass shooting erupted.

    Farook, 28, who had worked for the county for five years, “did leave the party early under circumstances described as ‘angry,'” San Bernardino police Chief Jarrod Burguan said at a news conference late Wednesday night.

    Burguan said law enforcement officials are “reasonably confident” that Farook and 27-year-old Tashfeen Malik, who was his wife or fiancee, were the two suspects in the mass shooting that occurred during the party.

    Family members told the Los Angeles Times that the couple had been married for two years.

    Co-workers told The Times that they were shocked to hear Farook’s name linked to the shooting. Two employees who were in the bathroom when the bullets began to fly said he was quiet and polite, with no obvious grudges.

    They said Farook had recently traveled to Saudi Arabia and returned with a woman he’d met online. The couple had a baby and appeared to be “living the American dream,” said Patrick Baccari, a fellow inspector who shared a cubicle with Farook.

    Baccari and Christian Nwadike said Farook, who had worked with them for about three years, rarely started a conversation. But he was well-liked.

    They and other colleagues said Farook was a devout Muslim who rarely discussed religion at work.

    —Jack Dolan, Paul Pringle and Stephen Ceasar

  47. Eve Fisher

    I’m comforted to hear that all the weapons and ammo were obtained legally, because, after all, there’s never been “a body with bullet holes that was more devastating than taking the right to arm ourselves away.” Thanks, Ben Carson, for a fat lot of nothing but hot air.

    My personal bet is that this was an honor killing, because he got dissed in front of his wife (the argument at the dinner) and decided to let rip.

  48. It’s also comforting to not hear, blaming the pubs or the tea party or the angry old white males. Just the guns!

  49. Lanny V Stricherz

    Thanks Jerry, yes, Rep Russell from Oklahoma and “freedom fry” Walter Jones of NC are two people of whom the Republican party can be proud. In Jones case, he took the wrong course to start with but then had the courage to admit when he was wrong and had the temerity to change course and lead the fight to end our involvement in Iraq, unlike our then Democrat congresswoman.