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Hullabaloo


Tuesday, November 17, 2015

 
Down the rabbit hole again

by digby

I think they've lost the thread:

A Texas state legislator wants the U.S. to stop allowing Syrian refugees into the country. His reasoning: They might be able to buy guns in his state.

Rep. Tony Dale (R) made this argument in a television interview on Monday and in letters to Texas’ U.S. Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz (R) and U.S. Reps. Michael McCaul and John Carter (R).

“While the Paris attackers used suicide vests and grenades,” Dale wrote, “it is clear that firearms also killed a large number of innocent victims. Can you imagine a scenario were [sic] a refugees [sic] is admitted to the United States, is provided with federal cash payments and other assistance, obtains a drivers license and purchases a weapon and executes an attack?” He urged the lawmakers to “do whatever you can to stop the [Syrian refugee] program.”

But Dale is one of the Texas legislature’s most fervent gun-rights advocates. Two weeks ago, he tweeted his National Rifle Association membership renewal. In accepting an “A” rating from the group and the Texas State Rifle Association’s PAC in 2012, he observed: “Perhaps no right is more fundamental than the right to keep and bear arms.” And his campaign website vows his fealty to the Second Amendment, saying it “isn’t just an archaic document,” a “guarantor of all of our other freedoms.” And he and his colleagues in the state legislature have blocked mandatory background checks for all gun purchases.

This not the first time Dale has raised concerns about non-citizens in Texas. “I’m not saying all of these people are bad, but there are certainly people from countries of concern,” he said in March, explaining the need for legislation to create special drivers licenses for “foreigners.”

This is very interesting. After 9/11 you may recall that then-Attorney General John Ashcroft determined that the FBI would not be allowed to hold on to background check information longer than the allowed 24 hour period under any circumstances because even terrorists have a 2nd Amendment right to bear arms:

The Justice Department has refused to let the F.B.I. check its records to determine whether any of the 1,200 people detained after the Sept. 11 attacks had bought guns, F.B.I. and Justice Department officials say.

The department made the decision in October after the F.B.I. asked to examine the records it maintains on background checks to see if any detainees had purchased guns in the United States.

Mindy Tucker, a spokeswoman for the Justice Department, said the request was rejected after several senior officials decided that the law creating the background check system did not permit the use of the records to investigate individuals.

Ms. Tucker did not elaborate on the decision, but it is in keeping with Attorney General John Ashcroft's strong support of gun rights and his longstanding opposition to the government's use of background check records. In 1998, as a senator from Missouri, Mr. Ashcroft voted for an amendment to the Brady gun-control law to destroy such records immediately after checking the background of a prospective gun buyer. That amendment was defeated.

"We intend to use every legal tool available to protect American lives," John Collingwood, an assistant director of the F.B.I., said, but he added that "applicable law does not permit" the background check records to be used "for this purpose."

As you can see, the government can be very conscientious about protecting civil liberties even in a state of emergency after a crisis when it chooses to be. If it's the "right" civil liberty.

I guess in Texas they now want to solve that little loophole by having "foreigners" use some easily identifiable symbol so they will get special scrutiny. One tried an true method would be to force them to sew a little something on their clothing. It's worked well in the past.


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