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Gun sale ban to people on watch list nixed

May 13, 2011 at 12:44 PM   |   Comments

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WASHINGTON, Ariz., May 13 (UPI) -- U.S. House Judiciary Committee Republicans defeated a Democratic effort that would have barred weapon sales to suspected terrorists.

In a party-line, 21-11 vote, the committee killed the amendment offered by Rep. Michael Quigley, D-Ill., that would have prevented firearm purchases by people included on the FBI's terror watch list, The Hill reported Friday.

The vote came during a markup session Thursday on legislation that would renew provisions of the Patriot Act due to to expire this month.

Quigley accused Republican committee members of limiting civil liberties in the war on terror while refusing to limit gun rights for the same reason.

"We're here today to try to resolve the question of how best to strike the proper balance between ensuring our national security and protecting our civil liberties," Quigley said. "Surely, we cannot look our constituents in the eye and tell them in good faith that we have decided to enact public policy [the Patriot Act] that restrains some of their civil liberties for the greater good but that we refused to ask the same of suspected terrorists."

Republicans who spoke against the Quigley amendment argued that restricting gun sales to people on the watch list would violate the Second Amendment rights of those mistakenly on the list, as well as tip off suspected terrorists they were under surveillance, The Hill reported.

The Judiciary Committee approved the overall Patriot Act bill 22-13.

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