House GOP votes to let suspected terrorists buy guns, explosives

This story is rather incredible, but it’s not without precedent.  Republicans in the US House Appropriations Committee yesterday voted down an amendment that would have permitted the Justice Department to block the sale of guns and explosives to suspected terrorists on the terror watch list.

If we stop terrorists from buying explosives, then the terrorists win.

You see, Republicans say they don’t trust the terror watch list, and neither do their masters at the NRA. So rather than figure out how to improve the terror watch list, Republicans figure it’s better to just arm the terrorists.

Oh but it gets worse, Roll Call reports that Republicans also opposed giving local police access to the ATF  gun data. What did Republicans support?  An amendment “to block the ATF from continuing to require the reporting of purchases of multiple firearms in border states.”

I hate to go all George Bush, but is the GOP, and the gun lobby, now in the pocket of Al Qaeda?

Think that’s hyperbole, here’s an Al Qaeda operative talking about the importance of taking advantage of America’s weak gun laws.  Here’s Al Qaeda spokesman Adam Gadahn in 2011:

“America is absolutely awash with easily obtainable firearms. You can go down to a gun show at a local convention center and come away with a fully automatic assault rifle, without a background check, most likely without having to show an identification card. So what are you waiting for?”

How big a problem is it having suspected terrorist being able to buy guns and explosives? The GAO reports (pdf file):

From February 2004 through February 2010, FBI data show that individuals on the terrorist watchlist were involved in firearm or explosives background checks 1,228 times; 1,119 (about 91 percent) of these transactions were allowed to proceed because no prohibiting information was found—such as felony convictions, illegal immigrant status, or other disqualifying factors—and 109 of the transactions were denied.

This isn’t a recent problem.  Gun enthusiasts in Congress wouldn’t let the FBI check the gun purchases of terrorists immediately following September 11, lest we impinge on the Second Amendment rights of Mohammad Atta best friend.  Here’s a quote from the NYT on December 6, 2001 – only three months after September 11:

The Justice Department has refused to let the F.B.I. check its records to determine whether any of the 1,200 people detained after the Sept. 11 attacks had bought guns, F.B.I. and Justice Department officials say.

The department made the decision in October after the F.B.I. asked to examine the records it maintains on background checks to see if any detainees had purchased guns in the United States.

So we shouldn’t be surprised that House Republicans are voting in favor of arming terrorists.  They’ve been doing it for years.

NEW YORK CITY, NY - SEP 2: Light beams are lit at the site in memory of World Trade Center destroyed on September 11. September 11, 2010 in Manhattan, New York City. Songquan Deng /

NEW YORK CITY, NY – SEP 2: Light beams are lit at the site in memory of World Trade Center destroyed on September 11. September 11, 2010 in Manhattan, New York City. Songquan Deng /

CyberDisobedience on Substack | @aravosis | Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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29 Responses to “House GOP votes to let suspected terrorists buy guns, explosives”

  1. ArthurH says:

    And non-Tea Party Republicans are told to “Stand Your Fatheads” or be branded a RINO. And I used to think you turned into a RINO only if you were a cast member in the play “Rhinoceros.”

  2. AdmNaismith says:

    I agree completely. And instead of doing something useful like getting rid of the list or reforming it to do something useful, they double down on the derp of the whole situation

  3. NMRon says:

    “Republicans Vote to Arm Terrorists.” There, headline fixed.

  4. samizdat says:

    True, indeed.

  5. samizdat says:

    You misunderstand my words, Mr. k. (And actually, now that I re-read smkngman’s post, I think I may have misunderstood his words). I’m with you and BeccaM on this one. It seems I didn’t make the connection between the watch list and its use as a tool to conduct checks on so-called terrorists. Reading comprehension is usually one of my better attributes.

    I still believe, though, that Pubs all too frequently use their opposition to policies to stonewall rational debate and reasonable legislation. We all know how they operate, and this is just another bit of theater from the Pubs. We know they don’t give too much of a rats ass about this, but it makes them appear as if they have always opposed the repressiveness inherent in the existence of the watch list. Which we know not to be true. That, in the end, is what annoys me about their opposition to law enforcement having access to the watch list: They are perfectly fine with the list, and protesting it in the name of “freedums” is pure bunkum. It serves as an agent of distraction with regards to their rube base. So for them it’s win-win. Keep the list, but only look like you hate it and its use as a tool to do gun checks.

    Meanwhile, they also make no moves to eliminate the watch list, or repeal the USAPATRIOT Act, or the FISA court, or to correct any of the other abuses you list. Neat little trick that.

  6. karmanot says:

    We will know when Lawrence McDonnell starts a hustle charity to buy school desks for the poor children of America.

  7. karmanot says:

    Yep, I bought some Korean sunglasses at Wal*Mart for $3.99 recently and I realized that it was the price for a good can of cat food and Sunday dinner.

  8. karmanot says:

    Profits are the result of predatory thinking. What we need is more humanitarian and empathic thinking and behavior.

  9. karmanot says:

    What ‘reasonable’ policies?— the end of Habeaus Corpus, the absolute right of the president to murder anyone anywhere, TSA abuses, domestic spying and lost of the right to privacy, indefinite detention, rendition, militarization of domestic police forces….the list goes on.

  10. karmanot says:

    The GOPers have founded ‘Stand Your Fatwa.’

  11. BeccaM says:

    I’m not so sure you will be an outlier. Even if so, you’ll have my company at any rate.

  12. BeccaM says:

    Yes, the GOPers are hypocrites on this issue. If there’s a gun involved, it suddenly becomes a Holy Sacrament Civil Right ordained by Yahweh Himself.

    If it’s a right to privacy and freedom from being spied upon — especially if it’s people they suspect of being subversives, like progressives and Democrats — they’re totally against the mere idea that we have any such rights or freedoms.

    But like a broken clock, and it pains me to say this, but with regard to the terrorist watch list, I think they have a valid point. It’s one of the worst things to come out of the post-9/11 compulsively pants-wetting era.

    In fact, I think the very notion that a government has compiled and is maintaining a secret list of people who are to be denied travel privileges, to have their every movement and financial transaction closely monitored, and to be presumed “probably guilty” without a trial is utterly inimical to a functioning democratic society. Especially when that list has been growing by millions every year, we already know it’s being used to suppress legal dissenters, there are people on the list who’ve never done anything wrong — and there is zero accountability to the American people.

    Sadly, even though they point to something deeply flawed and cancerous in our current system of government and justice, they clearly only care about carving out exceptions for their precious firearms and explosives, and nothing at all about dealing with the cancer itself: The presumption that an accusation of ‘suspected terrorist or sympathizer’ is sufficient for punitive measures and a preemptive deprivation of the fundamental rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

  13. nicho says:

    Or was he?

  14. citizen_spot says:


  15. nicho says:

    OMG — you put a picture of a jihadi on your website. Why are you glorifying him? What do you think you are, Rolling Stone?

  16. nicho says:

    Almost there.

  17. nicho says:

    And Tamerlan Tsarnaev, despite being fingered by the Russians, was not put on any watch list.

  18. samizdat says:

    Profits do seem to have a way of eliminating logical thinking and rational behavior, no?

  19. samizdat says:

    To a point, I agree with you. However, using it as an excuse to block reasonable policies is decidedly less than logical.

  20. smkngman says:

    “Republicans say they don’t trust the terror watch list”.On this point the rep/baggers are correct. While a terrorist watch list
    sounds great the reality is that YOU may be on that list if you support
    Occupy, oppose the Keystone pipeline or are against Fracking in your
    back yard!

  21. cole3244 says:

    the gop will embrace gun control when the wackos start killing con right wingers rather than abortion doctors, children, federal workers, non christian groups, and left wingers, then and only then the gop will continue to suppress gun legislation because that’s what chicken hawks do in response to everything because their talk has no walk.

  22. citizen_spot says:

    I guess I am going to be the outlier on this one because I don’t trust the terrorist watch/no fly lists either. They are too easy to politicize and abuse by the Powers That Be. (If I recall correctly, Senator Ted Kennedy was put on the no fly list back in 2004). But that doesn’t mean there should not be universal background checks for all gun purchases utilizing other sources.

  23. sane37 says:

    Not until we remove freely available public education.

  24. Randy Riddle says:

    This sounds like a perfect setup for an extremist Tea Bagger group to try staging an armed coup, locally or nationally, if they happen to not like the next liberal elected to the Presidency or governorship of their state. Perhaps this is really what the Koch brothers and others funding the NRA and ALEC are really wanting.

  25. caphillprof says:

    America must come to a complete halt because Rolling Stone put Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on its cover,
    but preventing suspected terrorists from buying weapons freely in the USA is A OK.

  26. Houndentenor says:

    It depends on where you live. Not entirely but we are on our way.

  27. eahopp says:

    You mean we’re not a third world country already?

  28. ComradeRutherford says:

    Since gun criminals don’t respect the law, we have to get rid of all guns laws. That is what the NRA calls ‘logic’.

  29. sane37 says:

    Why is anyone even surprised. Chaos and fear allows they republicans to chip away at our freedoms and constitution. Why would they stop?

    I know its outrageous behavior on their part given their rhetoric on the “terrorists” and they should be ashamed. But haven’t we learned that they have no shame? That there is no bar low enough for them to limbo beneath?

    With unlimited cash they’ll continue to keep their power with deceptive ads targeted at the masses made stupid by their under funded school systems. Coupled with the Democrats ineptitude it is only a matter of time before we are truly a third word country again.

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