NC Senate Dems want to ban gun sales to those on terrorist watch list

Posted June 23, 2016

— Democrats in the state Senate are pressing Republican leaders who control the chamber to begin work on a North Carolina law to ban individuals on the federal government's terrorist watch list from buying firearms in North Carolina.

"It makes sense this should be the first step that we should take with gun reform," said Sen. Jay Chaudhuri, D-Wake, a recently appointed member who leads the effort. Seven other senators, all Democrats, also signed onto his letter.

Chaudhuri said he was moved to make the request during a vigil for those killed at the recent gay nightclub shooting in Orlando, Fla.

"I attending a moving vigil at the gay night club, Legends, in Raleigh, and as I scanned the crowd of people, all of who were mourning, I realized that, as a newly appointed state senator, I'm in a position to do something," he said Thursday.

But that something is limited. Legislative deadlines for filing most substantive legislation has passed, and while lawmakers can bring new measures to a vote by amending existing bills, typically that avenue is reserved for the chamber's leadership. Republicans outnumber Democrats 34-16 in the state Senate.

"We don't have enough detail to know what they're talking about," Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger said when asked if he might be amenable to clearing a legislative path for Chaudhuri's proposal. "I hope this is a serious proposal and not just something take advantage of Orlando."

Although he did not put forward specific language, the legislation that Chaudhuri proposes would be similar to bills that Democrats in the U.S. House are trying to bring to the floor through a sit-in at the Capitol in Washington, D.C. That language would say that anyone on the federal terrorist watch list would be denied the right to buy a firearm.

It's unclear how North Carolina might gain access to that watch list, although Chaudhuri pointed to similar actions in Connecticut and New Jersey. The terrorist watch list has been criticized by civil libertarians as an overly broad dragnet that has captured law-abiding citizens along with those who have shown the potential to harm U.S. citizens. Chaudhuri insisted at a news conference Thursday morning that an administrative appeals process would allow those wrongly restricted to pursue their right to own a firearm.

Regardless of the potential technical pitfalls, it's unlikely this measure will move. Senior lawmakers are working toward closing down this year's legislative session and have been trying to limit the number of controversial measures coming to lawmakers in what they hope will be the closing days of the session.

Berger, R-Rockingham, said that lack of time by itself would not be a bar to acting. However, he said that it's unlikely lawmakers would back off efforts to close down the session for the year based on a speculative proposal. Asked about the idea of using the federal terror watch list as a ban to bar people from buying guns, Berger said he has a lot of questions.

"First of all, who is on that list? Do we know how folks get on that list? Is there some way to get off the list, and what's the procedures? I mean, we're talking about folks' constitutional rights," Berger said. "While, again, the situation in Orlando is something nobody is wanting to see replicated, the solution needs to be one that actually impacts those sorts of things and does it in a way that does not infringe on people's rights."


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  • Jim Wiseman Jun 24, 2016
    user avatar

    If someone is in a terrorist watch list, why are they walking around. Why aren't they in jail? Instead of some bureaucrat denying someone of their civil rights without due process, "gun free zones" should be suspended, allowing citizens to protect themselves and the ones they love.

  • Bob Bucy Jun 24, 2016
    user avatar

    This is a very emotional argument that is totally lacking in logic. In spite of glaring red flags that the shooter in Orlando was indeed an Islamic terrorist, current federal laws prevented anything from being done and he was not on a terror watch list. So this proposal would have had no effect. Additionally, there is no transparency or due process in these lists. For example, nobody knows how one gets on the "no fly" list, and there is no documented appeals process to get off of it. And the feds claim that transparency in the terrorist watch list will hinder their investigations, because then people on the list will know that they are being investigated. The net effect of this measure would be to allow the political left to impose gun control simply by putting people on a list. Anybody who believes that this process would not be abused is incredibly naive.

  • Howard Roark Jun 24, 2016
    user avatar

    I see many people commenting on their knowledge of what won't work. So, what would be your fix to our current situation? Do you even think we have a problem, or is this just something we need to get used to?

  • Jeff Freuler Jun 24, 2016
    user avatar

    "It makes sense this should be the first step that we should take with gun reform," said Sen. Jay Chaudhuri, D-Wake

    If this is your first step I would have to ask what is next?

    Yea this is his start of wanting them all.

  • Jeffrey Derry Jun 24, 2016
    user avatar

    we have enough gun laws already, people wake up the DEMS are coming after your guns then they will have total control

  • Bob Owens Jun 24, 2016
    user avatar

    There are 680,000+ Americans on watch lists. According to an internal audit, 40% have no ties at all to terrorism. The majority of the rest are on the list for knowing, working with, or leaving near someone who was once suspected of possibly being a threat.

    I know of people who have been put on the terror watch list for using two travel web sites at once to try to get the best hotel deal, another who was put n the watch list for accidentally using an expired credit card to try to book a flight, another for having a name similar to a terror suspect on the "no fly" list, and I, a journalist, was placed on it for writing an article critical of Obama that a Democrat bureaucrat in Philadelphia didn't like.

    This is an attack on the 5th and 14th Amendments due process rights of Americans that disproportionately targets minorities.

    The racism of the Democrat Party has NEVER stopped, and only morphed.

  • Norman Lewis Jun 24, 2016
    user avatar

    The sheer ignorance of our so called lawmakers is breathtaking. To think a terrorist bent on committing mass murder will be stymied by being on a watch list and not being able to legally buy a gun, not be able to carry out the planned crime is magical thinking at best. I am worried as are many others by a secret "list" even existing. To limit or restrict someones rights just on a suspicion of wrong doing or intent to do harm, runs contrary to our system of laws. An accusation is not a conviction. What would stop a petty functionary from putting anyone they don't like on a list ? What would stop a would be tyrannical government from putting thousands of people whose opinion or lifestyle they did not like on some list with no legal recourse to correct errors in that list? Any accused is entitled to due process of law, unless you are Hillary Clinton and circumvent what ever law you find inconvenient.

  • Bryan Ayers Jun 23, 2016
    user avatar

    ...again, WHO defines the requirements for Names to be placed on a supposed 'terrorist list'?

    Who is going to watch the Watchers in order to monitor them for names on a list & prevent legal, honest, non-threatening Citizens from having THEIR name added to a list? Will we see the rise of another Star Chamber?

  • Demute Sainte Jun 23, 2016
    user avatar

    Sorry folks... but blocking a citizens Constitutional right by simply putting a persons name on a list is unconstitutional. Remember... these are SUSPECTED terrorists... if they were actual terrorists, they would be arrested! DUH!

    Not to mention blocking a persons right to purchase a firearm based on some list is the total ignoring of our nations due process laws.

    It may sound like a "no brainier".... much like having a person use the bathroom of their biological gender.... but there is far more to it than that. These people self-identify as good people. LOL.

  • Amy Whaley Jun 23, 2016
    user avatar

    Define terrorist. There are hate groups in America who claim that Christians are terrorist. What qualifies one to be on the list? Does one have a right to defend themselves? This list wouldn't of kept Mateen from buying a gun. This is more pomp and circumstance from the politically correct who cannot seem to see the forest for the trees.