Attorney General Loretta Lynch has overruled FBI Director James Comey on a key issue involving guns and terrorist watch lists — a move that two unlikely allies, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the National Rifle Association, oppose.
Lynch says the Obama administration supports banning the sale of firearms to people on terrorist watch lists — a declaration that flies in the face of Comey's belief that denying those sales could hinder investigations of potential terrorists.
The Washington Times
reports that in a statement issued Thursday, the Justice Department said it wants Congress to pass the so-called "no-fly, no-buy" plan Democratic lawmakers are pushing.
"The amendment gives the Justice Department an important additional tool to prevent the sale of guns to suspected terrorists by licensed firearms dealers while ensuring protection of the department's operational and investigative sensitivities," Justice Department spokeswoman Dena Iverson said.
reports that the ACLU and NRA don't agree.
"Restrictions like bans on gun purchases by people on 'watch lists' are ineffective, unconstitutional, or both," the NRA said this week.
And in an ACLU position paper titled, "Until the No Fly List Is Fixed, It Shouldn't Be Used to Restrict People's Freedoms," the group's National Security Project Director wrote:
"[T]he standards for inclusion on the No Fly List are unconstitutionally vague, and innocent people are blacklisted without a fair process to correct government error. Our lawsuit seeks a meaningful opportunity for our clients to challenge their placement on the No Fly List because it is so error-prone and the consequences for their lives have been devastating."
Lynch's recommendation comes just days after an Islamic State sympathizer killed 49 people and injured 53 at a nightclub in Orlando, Florida. Democrats believe the bloodbath may have avoided with a ban on gun sales to people on government watch lists.
Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, said this week he will meet with the NRA to discuss how to keep guns away from people on those lists — an announcement that took some GOP lawmakers by surprise.
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