I’m not sure I understand the issues at work here:
“I think you’re going too far here,” said Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina at a hearing of the Senate Homeland Security Committee on Wednesday. He was speaking in opposition to a bill that would keep people on the F.B.I. terrorist watch list from buying guns and explosives.
Yes, if you are on the terrorist watch list, the authorities can keep you from getting on a plane but not from purchasing an AK-47. This makes sense to Congress because, as Graham accurately pointed out, “when the founders sat down and wrote the Constitution, they didn’t consider flying.”
The subject of guns turns Congress into a twilight zone. People who are perfectly happy to let the government wiretap phones go nuts when the government wants to keep track of weapons permits. A guy who stands up in the House and defends the torture of terror suspects will nearly faint with horror at the prospect of depriving someone on the watch list of the right to purchase a pistol.
I give Graham partial credit for at least claiming that the enumerated rights in the Constitution (and relevant at the time of drafting) are the only ones worth defending, but I don’t suppose you’d have to work too hard to find other examples of sacred rights beloved by the GOP that aren’t specifically listed. That credit, however, does not go very far: of all the rights you want to defend, in relation to terrorists or terror suspects or people whom the government think might be possibly considering becoming terrorists, this is the right you choose to defend?
In my universe there’s a lot of political hay to be made over this. I do not live in the same universe as the Republican party, apparently.
(Note I have no specific opinion on Lautenberg’s bill itself; that’s not the point here.)