Wake Up, N.J., When it Comes to Terrorist Watchlist/No Gun License Legislation | Commentary | NewJerseyNewsroom.com -- Your State. Your News.


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Wake Up, N.J., When it Comes to Terrorist Watchlist/No Gun License Legislation


It’s basic common sense - no gun licenses for those on the FBI Terrorist Watch List.

It is also the basis of key legislation included in a comprehensive Assembly Democratic bill package on gun violence prevention.

Let’s face it. Any discussion on gun violence can be an emotional issue ripe with disagreement, but one would think the concept- no gun permits for terrorists- would be a slam dunk with everyone charged with representing the public interest.

Shockingly, this is not so.

When a bill I sponsored to keep guns out of the hands of those named on the national Terrorist Watch List came up for consideration, many Assembly Republicans voted against it.

One Republican lawmaker likened the bill to a “communist witch hunt,” and others showed their dissent by either voting no or abstaining against the bill.

Terrorists are on the Watchlist because their intentions to harm people and property are well-known.

Consider this: more than 200 people suspected of ties to terrorism bought guns in the U.S. in 2010 alone. Those 247 people who were allowed to buy weapons did so after going through required background checks.

As U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg once put it, "There's no reason we shouldn't be able to stop a terrorist from buying a dangerous weapon in the United States."

My bill, quite simply, would statutorily establish a specific safeguard to disqualify a person named on the consolidated Terrorist Watchlist maintained by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Terrorist Screening Center from being issued either a firearm’s identification card or a permit to purchase a handgun.

While current law provides for the issuance of a firearms identification card or permit to be denied to any person if it “would not be in the interest of the public health, safety or welfare,” the serious and potentially threatening nature of a person named on the Terrorist Watchlist warrants a separate statutory provision denying that person’s capability to lawfully obtain a firearm in this state. An aggrieved person who is denied a permit under the bill would have the right to request a hearing in Superior Court to appeal the denial.

This is the bottom line: We should never underestimate what a terrorist may or may not do.

We, as Americans, have experienced too much violence in the past two decades, devastating and life-changing. Our children or communities have endured much more than deserved. Today, it seems as one community heals another is just beginning the process at the hands of senseless acts of gun violence.

Strengthening statutes to better protect our communities is simple logic. What we do, as legislators, should protect the people of New Jersey. We must at all times and all costs do what best for the people of New Jersey. Nothing can make more sense than that.

*** *** ***

Assemblywoman Linda Stender is represents the 22nd Legislative District, which includes Middlesex Somerset and Union.

Comments (3)
3 Saturday, 23 February 2013 16:48
Anthony P Colandro
Report Finds Flaws in Terrorist Watch List

Published: March 18, 2008
WASHINGTON — The F.B.I. and other federal law enforcement agencies have sometimes provided outdated and inaccurate information to the government’s main watch list for terrorism suspects, according to an internal Justice Department report released Monday.

The report, by the department’s inspector general, also found that the Justice Department had failed to coordinate efforts by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other agencies within the department to place suspects on the watch list.

Spokesmen for the F.B.I. and the Justice Department acknowledged that there were weaknesses in the watch list program and, in statements released Monday, said they were working to correct the problems. “We remain committed to working with the Department of Justice to increase coordination,” said the F.B.I.’s chief spokesman, John Miller.

The report offered some praise for the F.B.I., which oversees the governmentwide terrorist watch list through the bureau’s Terrorist Screening Center, and said that bureau employees were using proper management techniques in most of the cases in which terrorism suspects were recommended for inclusion on the watch list.

The list was created after investigations into the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks found that the government had no coordinated watch list of terrorism suspects.

But the inspector general’s report identified flaws throughout the process, including a repeated failure by the F.B.I. and its sister agencies within the Justice Department to update information about terrorism suspects after they were placed on the watch list, and to remove names from the list after it was determined that the suspects did not pose a threat.

The report found that bureaucratic bottlenecks within the F.B.I. often delayed by up to four months the addition of suspects’ names to the list.

The inspector general’s office said it had based its conclusions on a review of the more than 8,200 names that were added by the F.B.I. to the watch list from January 2005 through November 2007. The report did not say how many of those entries contained inaccurate or outdated information. It did say that while other law enforcement agencies within the Justice Department, including the Drug Enforcement Administration and the United States Marshals Service, had procedures for recommending names to add to the list, the sharing of that information was informal and often undocumented.
2 Wednesday, 20 February 2013 18:28
Deep Throat
Da! We Just Sent Them Enough To Win A War In "Fast & Furious".
1 Wednesday, 20 February 2013 09:39
Carl Bergmanson
It would be a slam-dunk only for someone who holds the U.S. Constitution and the 14th amendment in contempt.

People's names are put on the Terrorist Screening Data Base (AKA the FBI's Terrorist Watch List) without any due process at all. To deny a U.S. Citizen a gun permit based solely on their name being in the Data Base would be a clear violation of section one of the 14th Amendment - for those of you unfamiliar with it, I have included the text below:

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

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