A Department of Homeland Security official testified before Congress Thursday that he believes it would be “apples and oranges” to use terror watch lists for gun control measures.
"My concern with this is there has been a lot of talk recently about using these watch lists for purposes other than they were intended, for instance, in determining whether or not Americans are able to exercise their rights under the Second Amendment,” Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Texas) said during a House Government Oversight Committee hearing, referring to multiple calls from gun control advocates to use terror watch lists and no-fly lists to determine whether Americans should be able to purchase firearms. “Do you think it is appropriate that these lists be used outside of what they were designed for?"
"I have not heard that, and I don't believe that it would be,” Assistant Homeland Security Secretary for International Affairs Alan Bersin said, adding, “I believe it would be apples and oranges."
Some lawmakers have proposed preventing those on the Transportation Security Administration’s no-fly list from purchasing firearms.
During an interview with CBS News earlier this month, President Barack Obama suggested that using the no-fly list to control gun purchases could be a step toward making Americans “safer.”
“People can't get on planes but those same people who we don't allow to fly could go into a store right now in the United States and buy a firearm and there's nothing that we can do to stop them,” Obama said. “That's a law that needs to be changed.”
Critics of the proposal have argued that the list was not only not designed for such purposes but also frequently includes innocent citizens who should not be on the list and that, therefore, the policy would infringe upon Second Amendment rights.