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Star-Ledger: ‘N.J. Republicans who want to allow suspected terrorists to buy guns are nuts’

The Star-Ledger published the following editorial:

Remember when Republicans supported the war on terror?

Well today, some of them oppose basic, common-sense measures to make Americans safe.

Yesterday, several New Jersey Republicans in the Assembly refused to support a bill in committee that would ban people on the terrorist watch list from buying guns. Yes, really: Members of the party of self-proclaimed patriots are now protecting the right of suspected terrorists to obtain weapons.

They are: Assemblyman Sean Kean (Monmouth) and Assemblywoman Alison Littell McHose (Sussex), who both voted “no”, and Assemblyman Erik Peterson (Hunterdon), who abstained.

Assemblywoman Alison McHose, R-Sussex/Morris/Hunterdon

Assemblywoman Alison Littell McHose, (R-Sussex) said that refusing to allow suspected terrorists to buy guns is akin to McCarthyism.

After reflecting on it this morning, however, even Kean couldn’t stand his own vote, and thinks it’s crazy. He said he’ll change it when the bill reaches the floor.

He voted the way he did, he says, because he doubted the bill would have any effect — “What terrorist is going to apply for a firearm?” — and was skeptical about the terror watch list: “The bottom line is, does anybody know what this list is, and who keeps this list?”

We can just see the hands of government officials shooting up in the air: The FBI’s terror watch list includes hundreds of thousands of people who are suspected members of al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations, financiers of terror, recruiters and those who have attended terrorist training camps.

According to a Fox News report, more than 200 people on the terror watch list bought guns in 2010 alone. That’s what made Kean change his mind.

Yet refusing these suspected terrorists their firearms is akin to a conspiracy, McHose argued yesterday. “This bill in my mind brings up memories of the 1950s and Hollywood and the witch hunt that went on with the people regarding communism,” she said at the hearing.

She claims it’s about civil liberties. But would she also defend the liberty of suspected terrorists to fly on planes?

Peterson said he abstained because he wants to make sure nobody is mistakenly identified as a terror suspect and denied his gun. People have been erroneously detained in airports based on our no-fly list, too.

Yet are conservatives ready to argue that because mistakes can happen, America is better off allowing any suspected terrorist to board a plane or buy a gun?

Recall that when President Obama decided to try the acknowledged mastermind of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on U.S. soil, Republicans groused that he was being too soft on terrorists. Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani charged on Fox News, “This seems to be an over-concern with the rights of terrorists and a lack of concern for the rights of the public.”

We couldn’t have put it better here. Shame on any politician who allows a gun to be put in the hands of a suspected terrorist.”