May 18, 2009
A bill designed to keep weapons out of the hands of terrorists is drawing fire from gun rights advocates who say it could infringe upon regular citizens’ constitutional right to bear arms.
[efoods]The Denying Firearms and Explosives to Dangerous Terrorists Act of 2009 would authorize Attorney General Eric Holder to deny the sale or transfer of firearms to known or suspected terrorists — a list that could extend beyond groups such as radical Islamists and other groups connected to international terror organizations.
Critics say the names of suspected terrorists could be drawn from existing government watch lists that cover such broad categories as animal rights extremists, Christian identity extremists, black separatists, anti-abortion extremists, anti-immigration extremists and anti-technology extremists.
“It doesn’t say anything about trials and due process,” said Larry Pratt, executive director of Gun Owners of America. “This is one of the most outrageous pieces of legislation to come along in some time. It’s basically saying, ‘I suspect you, so your rights are toast.'”
Terrorist watch lists came under fire last month after a Department of Homeland Security report warned that right wing extremist groups may be expanding their membership in the midst of current economic upheaval. While the report stated that such groups were not believed to be planning any terrorist attacks, it went on to state they might do so in the name of issues like abortion, immigration and gun control.