Being on the "terrorist watch list" -- officially the Violent Gang and Terrorist Organization File -- already makes it rather difficult to travel by plane, but now some of our leaders are saying that people on the list shouldn't be able to buy a gun.

( - Being on a terrorism watch list does not mean you really are a terrorist -- and therefore, your right to buy or own a gun should not be infringed, Second Amendment supporters say.

But FBI Director Robert Mueller, Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) and gun control groups disagree.

In testimony before Congress on Tuesday, Mueller said lawmakers "ought to look at what can be done" to prevent people on the government's terrorism watch list from buying guns.

By my understanding, the FBI has almost complete autonomy over who gets added to the list, which means that such a scheme would effectively allow the FBI to arbitrarily determine who can carry a gun.

His comments followed the release of a government report showing that more than 40 people included on a terrorism watch list were allowed to buy guns last year.

According to the audit by the Government Accountability Office, 35 people on the government's terrorist watch list legally bought guns in the United States between Feb. 3 and June 20, 2004. Twelve more people on the list were allowed to buy guns between July 1 and Oct. 31 of last year.

But none of those people had been charged with, or convicted of, any crime, said the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms.

By law, convicted felons, illegal aliens and people declared mentally ill are not allowed to buy guns. Being included on a terrorism watch list may invite more scrutiny, but it does not automatically disqualify someone from legally buying a gun.

Our natural and Constitutional rights cannot be taken away arbitrarily by some federal agency. Does that make it easier for terrorists to get weapons? Yes. Freedom isn't free.



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