WASHINGTON -- March 9 -- The National Rifle Association and its president, Wayne LaPierre, have a new cause: Ensuring there is a "gun rights" exception to America's war on terrorism.
Yesterday, the Government Accountability Office released a report revealing that dozens and dozens of individuals on America's terrorist watch list were able to purchase guns last year. On numerous news programs Tuesday, LaPierre urged caution against putting limits on the ability of suspects on our nation's terrorist watch list to purchase firearms. "Every citizen is entitled to due process of law," LaPierre said on one program. "Every citizen is entitled to Constitutional freedoms." (ABC World News Tonight, 3-8-05.) On another news program: "I think we need to know a lot more about this secret watch list...before you start denying Constitutional rights and due process of law." (NBC Nightly News, 3-8-05.)
Translated: The NRA believes that an individual who has been identified as credibly an enemy of the United States during our nation's war on terrorism should be entitled to purchase any and all firearms he or she wants.
"This is a startling, dangerous, and extreme point of view," said Michael Barnes, President of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence united with the Million Mom March. "The NRA is saying that people who can't fly on an airplane or get on a cruise ship because of their status should nevertheless be entitled to arm themselves to their heart's content.
"In our post-911 world, Americans have come to understand that to protect our freedoms, we need to be willing to take the right steps to help our police and Federal law enforcement protect our interests. The NRA's view is that doesn't apply to access to high-powered military rifles. I hope that our nation can have a serious, substantive debate on that question."