DON’T BE TERRORIZED BY SENATOR LAUTENBERG, SAYS CITIZENS COMMITTEE

Tuesday, March 8th, 2005

Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) is putting his anti-gun spin on a report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) on firearms purchases by suspected terrorists during a five-month period last year to push his gun control agenda, the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (CCRKBA) said today.

Sen. Lautenberg announced that he will introduce legislation requiring the National Instant Check System (NICS) to retain records of gun purchases by suspected terrorists for at least ten years.

“In Sen. Lautenberg’s warped view, anyone who buys a gun is a suspected terrorist,” said CCRKBA Chairman Alan M. Gottlieb. “Based on his past record, he is looking for any avenue to justify a back door gun registration scheme so that if he could get even one of his gun ban bills passed, he will know where to go to collect them all. The report demonstrates that the NICS system works. The GAO clearly notes that only 44 out of more than 3.1 million gun transactions showed valid matches to 36 different people whose names are on terrorist watch lists. Of those, 35 transactions were allowed to proceed, six were denied, and three were subject to pending resolution.

“Remember,” Gottlieb noted, “none of the people who successfully purchased firearms has been charged with, or convicted of any crime, yet their names are on a watch list. How does somebody’s name get on one of those lists? How is it removed? Lautenberg wants to keep records on these people for ten years. Where is the ACLU? If this involved anything but a gun purchase, the ACLU would be in hysterics over invasion of privacy issues.”

“Actually,” added CCRKBA Executive Director Joe Waldron, “the report indicates that procedures have been changed already to further reduce the potential that the wrong people will obtain guns. Unfortunately, no system will ever be one hundred percent fool-proof. Even if we adopted all of the gun controls Frank Lautenberg has ever advocated, we would only disarm honest citizens, not criminals or potential terrorists, and he knows it.

“However, there is more to this story that Sen. Lautenberg won’t mention,” Waldron added. “The report says an estimated 650 NICS transactions generated initial hits on terrorist watch lists during the GAO study period. Yet, the vast majority of those hits did not result in valid matches. The bottom line is that the NICS system works and Sen. Lautenberg is trying to say it doesn’t so he can demand that we keep records on people who may have broken no laws. Should we deny them the exercise of a civil right? If we do, what’s next? Do we take away their other rights? Will we hold them in confinement without trial? How far do we go? Where does it stop?”