You have to admit—the White House never misses an opportunity to make every situation about politics by taking a swipe at Republicans, gun control, or anyone they deem a threat or opposition to their political beliefs. This time, the White House took issue with the Second Amendment and used Thanksgiving dinner as the excuse.
Josh Earnest, White House press secretary and spokesman for President Obama, said Americans should use the holiday’s family gatherings around the Thanksgiving table to talk about serious gun-control measures. Earnest drifted off topic while discussing the Republican push to vet Syrian refugees better or refuse them entry into the U.S. On that, Earnest said bolstering the border control vetting process won’t automatically improve national security. (However, somehow barring you and me from legally owning firearms would?) “If Congress were actually interested in doing that, they’d pass a law that would prevent somebody who’s on the terror watch list from being able to buy a gun. That’s what Congress should do,” he said, in widely reported remarks.
I am sorry; is he saying people on terror watch lists cannot board a plane, but we are selling them firearms? Hmm… perhaps that is worthy of a bit of thought. On one hand, they have not been convicted of a crime, but on the other, they are presumably on the watch list for a reason. Currently, federal law prohibits nine categories of dangerous people from purchasing or owning firearms. However, suspected or known terrorists are not one of them.
Earnest then returned to speaking about Thanksgiving.
“As people are sitting around the table, talking about these issues, as they should, and as I’m sure they will all across the country, I hope that’s a question that will be raised and asked by members around the table – that if we’re going to have a serious discussion in this country about national security, let’s talk about some pretty obvious things that Congress can do,” Earnest said.
He went on to scold Republicans and blame the gun lobby blah, blah, blah… So, at my house, we took the Obama spokesman’s suggestion to heart. My wife chastised me for leaving my Sig 228 on the counter next to the ham (it was in the cooking zone). My dad raided my holster drawer (at least twice) for a new OWB holster for his Glock. My sister asked to go to the range; she has a new purse with a concealed carry pocket that she wants try out. My brother is in love with a new Springfield M1 Loaded model I recently picked up, so he is up for a range trip as well, and mom just threatened to shoot everyone if we don’t quit stealing the deviled eggs.
A couple of uncles are rehashing the great caliber debate. Apparently, one of them decided to stash a .25 Auto in the medicine cabinet with the cold remedies. A .25 Auto caliber pistol with the cold remedies? Personally, I think the whole debate is just silly; a .25 Auto is hardly sufficient to clear your sinus—he should have went with at least a good .380. The kids are fighting over who gets the blue guns next and who knocked over which can—good thing the LaserLyte targets all have fresh batteries that last for thousands of shots! Well, I suppose that adequately covers how I feel about using Thanksgiving dinner to discuss Obama’s gun control polices, but it does not answer the more serious question. Should being on the terrorist watch list prevent you from purchasing a firearm? I mean, no one wants to make it easier for a known or suspected terrorist to buy a gun. On the other hand, if they were so dangerous, why aren’t they already in custody? Of course, we have all heard of people having a similar name being wrongly listed on the terror watch list and only realizing it once they try to board a plane. We certainly do not want to bar them from the right of self-protection.
Innocent until proven guilty, or is the government’s concern enough in this case? What about lone wolves, or domestic militia groups? Could the government use a law such as this against them? Could safeguards be put in place? What are the potential downsides or backlash if the argument is only posed as terrorists buying guns due to a “loophole?” Let’s not forget, Rep. Jan Schakowsky’s (D-IL) attempt to link the Paris attacks to U.S. gun laws.
“And one obvious thing that Congress can do is pass a law that prevents somebody who is on the terror watch list from… being able to buy a weapon,” Earnest said. “I’m not sure why that’s even controversial. I’m not sure why it hasn’t been done so far. I suspect, however, that it has a lot to do with the fear that Republicans have of the NRA.”
It is never as simple as a politician will try to boil it down to, but that does not mean that a serious discussion is unwarranted. Should we be defending the Second Amendment from yet another gun law? After all, Paris had strict gun laws, but that did not stop the terrorists from acquiring firearms or explosives—laws are for the law abiding not terrorists. Would this be anything more than just feel good politics? On the other hand, law-abiding gun owners suffer in the public’s eye every time there is a high profile shooting—regardless of whether the guns were purchased legally or acquired through other means.
What’s your call? Should there be a law banning individuals on the terror watch list from purchasing firearms? Weigh in on the discussion in the comment section.