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Cotton Delivers Floor Speech on the Terrorist Watch List and Background Checks

December 8, 2015

Contact: Caroline Rabbitt (202) 224-2353

I'd like to respond to what I heard earlier this morning from the Democratic Leader, from the Assistant Democratic leader, what we heard from the President on Sunday night. The Democrats would have you believe that any person on a terrorist watch list can go into a federally licensed firearm dealer and buy a firearm, without any notice whatsoever. That is simply false. The background check system that federally licensed firearm dealers use includes a terror watch list, and the FBI counterterrorist division is notified when that occurs.

Now of course, the list is notoriously inaccurate. The Department of Justice IG report just a few years ago said that up to half the names on the list are incorrect. The New York Times, which continues its proselytizing for gun control, used to be strongly opposed to the use of this list. Most famously, Ted Kennedy, a United States senator from America's leading political dynasty, was on the list and couldn't get off for weeks, having his flights disrupted time after times. Stephen Hayes, a well known conservative journalist who, I'll admit, looks a little suspicious, also found himself on the list. It took him months of public commentary, and only was he removed from the list when Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson was challenged on the air, on Fox News, about his presence on the list. If it took people like Ted Kennedy and Stephen Hayes weeks or months to get off that list, how long do you think it would take the little guy in Arkansas? For that matter, how long do you think it would take patriotic Muslim-Americans -who are most likely, because of confusion about their names with suspected terrorists- on the list, to get off that list? Moreover, what other rights would Democrats like to deprive American citizens of without notice and due process? Right to free speech? Right to practice their religion? Right to petition their government? Right against unreasonable search and seizures? Right to trial by jury? Right to confront their accusers? Right to get just compensation when their property is taken? Democrats should quite being so politically correct. They should focus on winning the war against radical Islam. If they did, maybe fewer Americans would feel the need to buy firearms to protect themselves from terrorist attacks.