FOREWORD: If this doesn't make your blood boil you are not a true gun rights supporter. Revolutions are started over this kind of legislative "terrorism"! This is one good reason why we should fear our government over ANY terrorist. We strongly urge all readers to call and write your Senators and Congressmen to oppose this outrageous this bill. Ed.
The text of the letter, which was sent late Thursday, May 17, appears below.
On behalf of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, and our activists and Million Mom March chapters throughout the country who support common sense gun laws, I am writing to voice our strong support for the Department of Justice legislative proposal, introduced by Senator Frank Lautenberg as S. 1237, as well as by Representative Peter T. King as H.R. 2074, that would provide the Attorney General with discretion to deny gun sales to suspected terrorists.
We welcome and applaud this effort by the Bush Administration to begin to plug the terrorist loophole in our nation's gun laws, and the gun loophole in our nation's war on terror. Under current law, suspected terrorists, who are deemed too dangerous to fly on airplanes, are not classified as too dangerous to buy assault weapons or other guns unless they fall into some other prohibited category. This makes no sense.
In 2001, after the terrorist attacks of September 11th, our sister organization, the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, highlighted the danger posed by terrorists and guns in a report, Guns and Terror: How Terrorists Exploit Our Weak Gun Laws, a copy of which is enclosed and is also available online at http://www.bradycenter.org/reports. This report documents how terrorists had obtained guns from gun shows, corrupt gun dealers, and other sources. Drawing on President Bush's statement that "We have a responsibility to deny weapons to terrorists and to actively prevent private citizens from providing them," the report called for America to strengthen its gun laws in order to "root out terrorists before they strike." The recent arrests of suspected terrorists accused of planning an assault weapon attack on Fort Dix reminds all of us of the imminence of the threat posed by terrorists who are allowed easy access to guns in this country.
S. 1237 and H.R. 2074 are important first steps to prevent terrorists from obtaining guns. We would urge the Administration to also support closing other loopholes that enable terrorists and other dangerous persons to obtain the means to kill -- such as the gaping loophole that allows the sales of guns by unlicensed sellers without a background check.
While I understand that the Executive Director of the National Rifle Association's Institute for Legislative Action wrote you a letter on April 30, 2007 to oppose your Department's proposal, it is hard for me to believe that most gun owners in this country would not support the Administration's efforts to fight terrorism as proposed.
The legislation would give the Attorney General, the nation's top law enforcement officer, the discretion to deny gun sales only to those whom he has determined are supporting, engaging in, or preparing for terrorism, and whom he also reasonably believes may use a firearm in connection with terrorism. Any denials of gun sales may be appealed to, and reversed by, a court. Despite the contentions of the NRA leadership to the country, this does not constitute an "arbitrary denial."
The NRA leadership appears to have no complaint with individuals being detained and "put in places where they cannot harm innocent Americans" when they are "suspected terrorists." Yet they oppose legislation that would deny gun sales to those same people -- while still allowing them judicial review. Surely the "right" to buy guns is not more sacrosanct than the right to be free from government confinement.
We reiterate our support for the Administration's proposal, and look forward to working with you to see this important legislation passed by Congress and signed by the President.
Sincerely, Paul Helmke, President Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence Contact: Peter Hamm, 202-898-0792
Source: Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence