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‘NRA’s Sick Jihad’: N.Y. tabloid declares war on the NRA

(New York Daily News)

A New York tabloid is calling the National Rifle Association's platform "sick jihad" and the organization's leader "Jihadi Wayne" after the organization fought legislation that would prohibit people on the government's watch-list for terrorists and suspected terrorists from purchasing guns.

The New York Daily News, a longtime NRA adversary, has published two front-page stories during the past week calling out the NRA and its "gun-loving Republican cohorts" for opposing legislation that would block people on the watch-list from purchasing firearms.

The tabloid's response comes after The Washington Post and others reported that, over the past decade, more than 2,000 terror suspects legally purchased guns in the United States — and a bill to put an end to it had hit NRA resistance.

"These bills have rarely made it out of committee, in part due to vehement opposition from the National Rifle Association and its allies in Congress," Wonkblog's Chris Ingraham wrote last week.

[From 2004 to 2014, over 2,000 terror suspects legally purchased guns in the United States]

The Daily News wrote about the issue first last week, claiming in its cover story that people on the list who were able to buy firearms had gotten away with it "because gun nuts are blocking law that would end this madness."

On Monday, it ran a follow-up with the headline, "Nowhere to hide, Jihadi Wayne" — saying NRA chief executive Wayne LaPierre had been "conspicuously silent" about the story.

Under U.S. law, people on the FBI's consolidated terrorist watchlist — typically those under "reasonable suspicion" as known or suspected terrorists — can buy firearms.

When the bill, "Denying Firearms and Explosives to Dangerous Terrorists Act of 2015," was introduced earlier this year to prohibit that practice, the NRA put its foot down. It said that the bill, which was "sponsored by gun control extremists," was "aimed primarily at law-abiding American gun owners," and that "prohibiting the possession of firearms doesn’t stop criminals from illegally acquiring them."

The recent terror attacks in Paris only added fuel to the debate, highlighting American gun laws and questioning who the legislation serves.

The NRA's Institute for Legislative Action responded late last week, stating that it does not want to put guns in the hands of terrorists.

"While some media sources did ruefully acknowledge that Paris already has highly restrictive gun control and that the firearms used in the attacks were obtained illegally," it said, "attention soon focused on supposed loopholes in American laws that critics claim make the U.S. a virtual arms bazaar for terrorists. One tabloid went so far as to characterize NRA’s Second Amendment advocacy as a 'sick jihad.'"

[After Paris attacks, Democrats call for more gun control for those on terror watchlist]

Jennifer Baker, NRA director of public affairs, said that the organization is against denying Second Amendment protections only to those who were wrongly put on the government watch list. There are approximately 750,000 people on the terrorism watch-list. Some civil liberties experts have complained that the watch-list is too broad, potentially including lawful relatives or acquaintances of suspected terrorists.

“The NRA does not want terrorists or dangerous people to have firearms, any suggestion otherwise is offensive and wrong,” she said in a statement to The Post. “Under the current system, law enforcement is notified every time a person on the list attempts to purchase a firearm. Law Enforcement then makes a case by case decision on the appropriate follow-up for each circumstance.

"The NRA’s only objective is to ensure that Americans who are wrongly on the list are afforded their constitutional right to due process."

Indeed, this is not the first time the Daily News has come after the NRA. After the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting, the tabloid called the NRA La Pierre the "craziest man on earth."

"Just 90 minutes after moment of silence for Newtown victims," the headline read, "vile NRA nut blames everyone and everything except the guns."

The Daily News could not immediately be reached for comment.