5/08/2010

NY Times points to Times Square BOMBER as reason for more government regulation of guns?

From the NY Times piece:

Congress, for example, is cowering before the gun lobby insistence that even terrorist suspects who are placed on the “no-fly list” must not be denied the right to buy and bear arms. Suspects on that list purchased more than 1,100 weapons in the last six years, but Congress has never summoned the gumption to stop this trade in the name of public safety and political sanity. . . .


1) The list is hardly the final word on even keeping people from flying. Plenty of people on the list ended up flying. For example, former Senator Ted Kennedy was on the “no-fly list.” Yet, he was obviously finally approved to fly. Nor should everyone on the list be thought of as a danger to own a gun. Here is an amusing discussion of the list from 60 minutes:

60 Minutes certainly didn’t expect to find the names of 14 of the 19 9/11 hijackers on the list since they have been dead for five years. 60 Minutes also found a number of high profile people who aren’t likely to turn up at an airline ticket counter any time soon, like convicted terrorist Zacarias Moussaoui, now serving a life sentence in Colorado, and Saddam Hussein, who at the time was on trial for his life in Baghdad.

One person who was not surprised is former FBI agent Jack Cloonan, who was retiring from the bureau’s al Qaeda task force just as the list was being put together.

"I did see Osama bin Laden on the list both with an "O" in the first name and a "U" in the second name. I was glad to see that. But, some of the other names that I see here, you know, I just have to scratch my head and say, 'My good, look what we've created,'" Cloonan says.

Intended to be a serious a serious intelligence document, Cloonan says the No Fly List soon became a "cover your rear end" document designed to protect bureaucrats and make the public feel more secure. . . .


2) I assume that there are possibly a million names on the list so 1,100 "weapons" over six years might sound big, but it actually seems like a pretty small number to me. Plus, I don't believe that one could really stop a determined terrorist from getting a gun. All that you would do is stop the law-abiding ones on the list from getting a gun.

More from the NY Times:
If Capitol supporters of the National Rifle Association agenda dared to check reality outside their windows they would confront the district’s alarm over the four dead and five wounded citizens who fell six weeks ago in a spray of bullets from a semiautomatic weapon. Instead, the gun lobby aims at allowing residents to buy weapons and ammunition in lightly policed markets in Virginia and Maryland.


Maryland is a lightly regulated state regarding guns? People in DC were safer as a result of the gun ban? See the new edition of More Guns, Less Crime for a discussion of DC's murder rates after the ban was enacted. Do they understand that gun free zones make these areas more attractive to criminals?

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