Guns and the terrorist watch list

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Monday, May 10, 2010

Regarding Dana Milbank's May 6 column ["The NRA, standing up for terrorists' rights," Washington Sketch]:

In 1950, Sen. Joseph McCarthy (R-Wis.) waved his infamous "enemies" list. Innocent Americans were imprisoned and many more "blacklisted." McCarthyites exploited the buzzword "communism" to intimidate.

Today's McCarthy? New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Today's buzzword? "Terrorism." Today's list? The secret terrorist watch list, with a million names or more. No one knows who's on it, but we've heard the names of, among others, the late senator Edward M. Kennedy and Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.). Eight-year-old Boy Scout Mikey Hicks has been singled out for aggressive airport screening. Ridiculous.

These new McCarthyites demand that everyone on the terrorist list surrender his Second Amendment rights, due process be damned. Never mind the Supreme Court's affirmation that the Second Amendment is a constitutional right. To them, everyone on the list is a convicted terrorist, period. And those who disagree? Terrorist sympathizers. History repeats itself.

Those suspected of terrorist activity to the level that they should lose a constitutional right shouldn't be roaming our streets. And if they should lose one right, they should lose all. Americans have rejected denying constitutional rights based on suspicion and secret lists. But not Dana Milbank.

We stand on principle. So Mr. Milbank asked if we are "a terrorist organization." Rest assured, hundreds of thousands of military and law-enforcement NRA members who fought, and continue to fight, terrorism at home and abroad understand what sort of a McCarthyite smear that is.

Chris W. Cox, Fairfax

The writer is chief lobbyist for the National Rifle Association's Institute for Legislation Action in Washington.

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Dana Milbank's May 6 commentary favoring the use of the terrorist watch list to restrict gun sales failed to mention an important point, that of due process of law. Are the criteria by which someone is added to the terrorist watch list sufficient to stand up in a court of law? Quite probably not.


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