Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D., N.Y.), a fierce advocate for gun control, claimed a background check of deceased Boston bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev would have stopped him Monday on MSNBC’s “Jansing and Co.”
“Tamerlan, as we know now, was on the terrorist watch list, so we know a gun check would stop him, if there was a background check,” she said. “As it stands now, Tamerlan … or the next terrorist can go to any gun show and buy a hundred round magazine, they can buy all of the assault weapons they want, no questions asked.”
Maloney’s statement is dubious for several reasons. For one, even if someone is on a terrorist watch list, his Second Amendment rights cannot be stripped for that reason alone. Some are on that list simply because they knew suspected terrorists or had similar names, ABC reports:
“The mere fact you are on a terrorist watch list alone would not prevent you from purchasing firearm,” said Dale Roberts, local lawyer who teaches firearms law for the Missouri Bar.
The 2nd Amendment right can only be denied for certain reasons such as being convicted of a crime or having a mental health record. “So if you are on the terrorist watch list and you have one of those disqualifications, certainly that would stop you,” said Roberts.
According to NPR some people make the watch list simply because they knew suspected terrorists or had similar names. Also, being on the list doesn’t mean you are guilty of a crime.
“It’s a difficult process. If you are on the watch list you probably don’t know it and to be denied that constitutional right would be infringement upon due process” said Roberts.
Law enforcement recovered one 9mm Ruger semi-automatic with an obliterated serial number from the scene of the shootout with the brothers, while younger suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev had no guns when taken into custody.
The fact that the serial number was defaced is strong evidence the gun was purchased illegally, where background checks would clearly not apply.
Bloomberg reported the brothers didn’t apply for Massachusetts gun permits, as required by state law.
Maloney didn’t get into whether a background check would have stopped the Tsarnaev brothers from using Inspire, the online al-Qaeda magazine Dzhokhar said they used to help them make the pressure cooker bombs that killed three people at the Boston Marathon April 15.