A reader writes:
The problem with people on the "terrorism watch list" being able to buy guns is a problem with the "terrorism watch list," not gun-rights advocates. There's no judicial process involved in the list, no legal way to get yourself taken off of the list once you're on it. (The ACLU's critique of "watch lists" is here.) Blaming the "gun rights lobby" for preserving the right of legally innocent, untried Americans to buy guns is akin to blaming the ACLU for protecting the right of Nazi sympathizers to hold rallies. They're doing exactly what they should be doing.
It's an easy, cheap shot to take ("terrorists buying guns, lol"), but I've known people who got thrown onto the watch list simply for showing up at anti-Bush protest rallies. At one point Ted Kennedy was on the no-fly list. Preventing people from buying a firearm - a constitutionally protected right - merely on the basis of chance allegation would set a horrible precedent, potentially allowing prior restraints on any number of other civil and constitutional rights on equally flimsy grounds. Don't defend this crap. The proper response to a legally innocent individual purchasing a firearm, when that person happens to be on a watch list, is to watch them, perhaps closely, not to strip them of legal rights without due process.
The passage inpiece that addresses these concerns:
Senator Frank Lautenberg, a Democrat, and Representative Peter King, a Republican, have twice introduced legislation that would create such a list, and the Obama administration supports the effort. The legislation takes into account criticisms of the terrorist watch listthat it is bloated, for instance, and encompasses innocent people, including those who happen to share names with terrorist suspectsby including a due process provision for people who believe they've been wrongfully denied a gun purchase; they would be able petition to have the restriction against them lifted.