Ever since the Senate defied 90 percent of the American people who support background checks for gun purchasers, Joe Scarborough has mercilessly hammered those who voted against the Manchin-Toomey amendment. He has gone so far as to say their vote makes them protectors of terrorists. After seeing the video clip he uses to buttress his point, I can’t say that I disagree with him.

“In the west, you’ve got a lot at your disposal. Let’s take America as an example. America is absolutely awash with easily attainable firearms,” said al-Qaeda spokesman Adam Gadahn in a video released in June 2011. “You can go down to a gun show at the local convention center and come away with a fully automatic assault rifle without a background check and most likely without having to show an identification card, so what are you waiting for?” This chilling statement of fact is preceded by Gadahn telling viewers,  “Muslims in the West have to remember that they are perfectly placed to play an important and decisive part in the jihad against the Zionists and Crusaders.”

(Philip Kamrass/AP)
(Philip Kamrass/AP)

Rejecting the Manchin-Toomey amendment isn’t the first time Congress has protected terrorists. A month before the Gadahn video was released, Congress rejected a measure to prohibit gun sales to people on the terrorist watch list. The FBI reported to the Government Accountability Office in 2011 that 247 people on the terrorist watch list in 2010 were able to buy guns legally. “It boggles the mind to think that someone deemed too dangerous to fly should be untouchable when he wants to buy a gun,” wrote J. M. Berger, author of “Jihad Joe: Americans Who Go to War in the Name of Islam,” in a May 2011 op-ed for the New York Daily News.

The Manchin-Toomey measure was eminently reasonable and did none of the things the National Rifle Association and its beholden senators said it did. It didn’t set up a federal gun registry. It didn’t stop private gun sales between family members. And it didn’t take anyone’s guns away. What it did do was close an arrangement being exploited by terrorists, who have the Senate to thank for keeping the “Al Qaeda get yer guns” loophole open.

Follow Jonathan Capehart on Twitter.

Jonathan Capehart is a member of the Post editorial board and writes about politics and social issues for the PostPartisan blog.