Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Liberals and Gun Lists

I can't believe the New York Times (registration required). Now they have an editorial on their latest discovery: Terror suspects on a Federal watch list bought guns. They made a lot of errors in their editorial (i.e., describing civilian "assault weapons" as battlefield weapons). But, their ignorance of guns is not my subject. Instead, it's liberal hypocrisy when it comes to guns.

But, it's not just liberals. I listened to part of a local radio talk show on this topic. The conservative Republican commentator (for Massachusetts he's conservative, for a red state he'd probably be considered liberal) was also in high dudgeon about this. Most of his callers were alarmed as well. Even self-identified gun owners were aghast that someone could go into a gun store and buy a gun while on a terrorist watch list.

I understand what they're saying. I don't like the thought of rubbing shoulders with a suspected terrorist when I go to my favorite gun store. In fact, reports after 9/11 indicated that Middle Eastern men, perhaps Mohammed Atta and another terrorist, might have bought knives at Kittery Trading Post the same weekend Bill and I visited there. I have no idea if Atta was there or not, but the reports have always troubled me because we may have walked right past them.

I don't like terrorist suspects getting weapons; however, I like even less government lists gathered in secret with little or no way to get off a list if you're innocent. We need to protect ourselves from people who would fly airliners into buildings, but we need to protect liberty just as much. It doesn't take much imagination to think of our government putting names on secret lists. Depending on who holds power in Washington leftists, conservatives, gunowners, nuns, libertarians and many others could be so listed.

Senator Lautenberg and others argue that terrorist watch lists should be used to exclude people from buying guns. These watch lists are probably identical or very similar to "No-Fly Lists" that liberals have complained about at length. This New York Times article discussed no-fly lists and another told how Senator Ted Kennedy was mistakenly placed on one. TalkLeft calls the lists a "no-fly jail." Counterpunch points to no-fly list abuses. The ACLU is suing the government over such lists.

So, when it comes to guns, all of a sudden liberals like these lists? What's going on here? Why do leftists like Lautenberg and New York Times' editorial board get their collective panties in a bunch when people buy guns? Atta and his crew didn't use guns. They used boxcutters and then airliners as weapons. In light of that, shouldn't no-fly lists be supported more than no-gun lists if you are going to champion lists at all?

It's hypocrisy pure and simple. The left hates private ownership of guns so much that they blithely ignore their other principals in a mad scramble to further curtail gun rights.

They say they support the First Amendment, but would deny the right to assemble for commercial free speech at gun shows.

They say they support the Fourth Amendment, but don't seem to mind Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives fishing expeditions into people's homes and businesses.

They think that felons should have civil rights restored but oppose restoration of gun rights.

They decry police profiling people during traffic stops, but want police to profile people for concealed carry permits or firearm licenses in those states that require them.

And, to come full circle they want government lists for people who can't buy guns, but not for those who'll get on an airplane. I could think of many other examples such as legalizing drugs while further criminalizing guns, etc.

All I am saying is let's have a little consistency. Freedom and liberty includes tolerating people who buy and do things you don't necessarily like. If terror suspects get weapons, it is a cost of living in a free society and they should be dealt with if they act with those weapons. But, let's not go down a path where we end up with secret lists for guns, flying, books, everything.

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