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Posted: 12/17/2001 8:47:24 AM EDT
From: News and Views | Opinion | Friday, December 14, 2001 Let the FBI Check OutGun Buyers [b]By SEN. CHARLES SCHUMER [/b] In waging the war on terrorism, the Justice Department has worked with Congress to secure the tools it needs to protect our country from future terrorist threats — with one glaring exception. The Justice Department has barred the FBI from using a critical database to check whether those being detained in connection with Sept. 11 violated federal gun laws. [b]Barred? isn't it against the law to use the database for this reason? NICS is there to stop those who are in violation of federal gun laws at the time of purchase.[/b] The National Instant Criminal Background Check System database retains information on gun purchases made in the United States for 90 days after each purchase. Since its inception, the background check system has played a crucial role in the federal effort to root out bad-apple dealers responsible for selling the majority of guns used in crimes. [b] I wasn't aware that NICS was for the "bad-apple" dealers.[/b] It also could play a key role in criminal investigations.[b] Could play? he's trying to warp this already bad idea to something worse.[/b] The background check system [b]could[/b] open up leads in the Sept. 11 investigation by providing the FBI with recent addresses and other personal information on nearly 700 detainees. It could even help connect them to the terrorists who carried out the attacks. [b] Question? did the terrorists use guns?[/b] Further, if a detainee is an illegal alien or nonresident immigrant who purchased a gun[b]...?[/b], or if the detainee lied on the background check form, he could be subject to federal prosecution and up to 10 years in prison.[b] is he assuming that they all purchased guns via NICS?[/b] Before Attorney General John Ashcroft barred the FBI from using the background check database, the bureau ran an initial check of 186 of the Sept. 11 detainees and discovered that two had recently purchased guns.[b]Ashcroft did what was RIGHT! the FBI was using illegal proceedures[/b]
Link Posted: 12/17/2001 8:48:01 AM EDT
continued.............. And when the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms checked its list of guns used in crimes, it turned out that 34 of those guns[b](where did 34 come from?) [/b] had been owned by people on the detainee list — an indication[b]?[/b] that some of these detainees may be trafficking in guns to criminals or terrorists. Yet in his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee last week, Ashcroft said the FBI is barred by statute from using the background check system in criminal investigations. That view is not only wrong, it's dangerous. [b]this is really starting to piss me off!![/b] The FBI clearly has the authority to use the database to check whether a suspect has purchased a gun illegally. In fact, federal regulations state that the background check system may be used "for the purposes of investigating, prosecuting and/or enforcing violations of criminal or civil law or regulation[s] that may come to light during the [background check system] operations."[b] OK - but only during the OPERATIONS - meaning while applying. This is not to be used after the fact.[/b] And just in case there's any ambiguity, Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) and I introduced legislation last week that explicitly states that the background check system can be used in terrorism investigations. Considering the monumental task the FBI faces, it was the least we could do.[b]What criteria constitutes a terrorist? is it anyone who voices opposition to the controlling party?[/b] Fighting the war on terrorism is difficult enough as it is. With terrorists still residing on American soil, making the FBI's job even harder by taking away a key weapon in its arsenal is simply criminal.[b]NICs has never been a key weapon in its arseanl against terrorist. They never had it, so how can it be taken away?[/b] Ashcroft wants the tools to fight terrorists, but he could do a much better job if he used all of them. Schumer, a Democrat, is the senior senator from New York [b] and a major A$$hole[/b]
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