After the Paris terrorist attack, which did not involve any Syrian refugees, Rubio had this to say. Marco Rubio: US should not take in more Syrian refugees after Paris attacks:
“You can have a thousand people come in and 999 of them are just poor people fleeing oppression and violence,” Rubio said. “But one of them is an Isis fighter – if that’s the case, you have a problem.
“There’s no way to vet that out. There’s no background check system in the world that allows us to find that out because who do you call in Syria to background check them?”
So if only one out of 10,000 Syrian refugees is potentially a terrorist, then no Syrian refugees should be permitted to enter the U.S. It is a prophylactic absolutist approach.
This past Thursday, a day after the terrorist attack in San Bernardino, California by an American citizen and his wife, the Senate voted against closing the “no-fly list” loophole that allows individuals designated on the terror watch list to nevertheless purchase weapons and ammunition without limitations. Senate rejects gun control amendments offered following San Bernardino shooting:
The Senate rejected a measure from Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) to expand background checks for guns purchased online and at gun shows on a 48-50 vote and an amendment from Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) to prevent individuals on the terror watch list from purchasing firearms on a 45-54 vote.
Florida’s absentee senator actually showed up for work for once and voted against the amendments.
Rubio defended his vote today. Rubio: No-fly list full of ‘everyday Americans’:
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) says a majority of the people on the federal “no-fly list” do not belong there and therefore should not have their right to purchase firearms taken away.
“These are everyday Americans that have nothing to do with terrorism, they wind up on the no-fly list, there’s no due process or any way to get your name removed from it in a timely fashion, and now they’re having their Second Amendment rights being impeded upon,” Rubio said on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday.
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“If these were perfect lists, that’d be one thing, but there are over 700,000 Americans on some watch list or another that would all be captured under this amendment that Democrats offered. That’s the problem,” Rubio said. “There aren’t 700,000 terrorists operating in America openly on watch lists.”
Rubio’s logic here is exactly the opposite of his logic for Syrian refugees: if only one American citizen would be denied their “Second Amendment right” to purchase weapons and ammunition, then no American should be denied the ability to purchase weapons and ammunition, even if they are a potential terrorists.
It is a “Second Amendment” absolutist approach.
“Membership in a terrorist organization does not prohibit a person from possessing firearms or explosives under current federal law,” according to the Government Accountability Office and now a report from the federal agency finds that over 2,000 individuals on the FBI’s terrorist watch list have successfully and legally purchased a firearm from 2004 to 2014.
There does not appear to be statistics available for whether any of these 2,000 plus individuals has used the weapon they purchased in a mass shooting event, or terrorism, or another crime. But using “Rubio logic” for Syrian refugees, if only one person did, it would be too many.
To be fair, the American Civil Liberties Union opposes the watch list program and calls the watch listing process “unfair.” Individuals on FBI’s Terrorist Watchlist Allowed to Legally Purchase Firearms:
“The federal government’s watch list system lacks the kind of narrow, specific criteria and rigorous safeguards that would help protect innocent people from the negative consequences of blacklisting,” said Hugh Handeyside, a staff attorney with the ACLU National Security Project. “Instead, the criteria are overbroad, ensnaring innocents, and the system as a whole is unfair and bloated with no meaningful way to clear one’s name and get off the lists.”
So the answer is for Congress to fix this problem, add specific criteria and rigorous safeguards and a due process system. Some inconvenience and a waiting period to purchase a weapon is better than the current system of allowing a potential terrorist to purchase a weapon without any limitations. But Rubio has not proposed this.