Marco Rubio is one of many NRA-backed Republicans that voted against a measure to prevent people on the terror watch list from being able to buy guns. On CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday, Rubio made the absurd claim that this legislation wouldn’t just bar potential terrorists from buying guns, but could also bar a shocking 700,000 Americans who aren’t terrorists from getting guns.
Politifact, of course, took issue with that number because, let’s face it, it’s a really big number. Are there really 700,000 Americans on the terror watch list that shouldn’t be there? Could the FBI and other agencies really be that dumb? Politifact couldn’t reach Rubio’s people for comment, but they were able to talk to experts on the matter.
The truth is that there might be a total of 700,000 people on the aggregate that we call the terror watch list, but most of them aren’t Americans. Timothy Edgar, an expert in both civil liberties and national intelligence, including the terror watch list, says that Rubio’s number is way off. Martin Reardon, former chief of the FBI’s Terrorist Screen Center’s ops branch, says there might be 10,000 Americans on that list total.
Politifact isn’t the only one who went after Rubio for this claim. Igor Volsky took to Twitter to dispute it, too. He also mentioned that Rubio has received $8,100 from pro-gun groups this year. While that doesn’t seem like a lot of money, it’s almost a given that they’ll give him more if he says and does what they want.
This is what Republicans do, though. They take something like the fact that the terror watch list isn’t perfect, and multiply it to make it sound like there’s a chance every American is on it and will be deprived of their Constitutional rights should something like this pass into law. They use fear to drum up support for doing nothing.
Rubio and other NRA puppets are prioritizing fighting all efforts to regulate guns in any way, shape or form above pressing matters. Then they cry that Obama’s not doing anything about ISIS (Newsflash for them: We’re running out of bombs to drop on ISIS. Obama is doing something about it.).
The worst part is that Republicans are perfectly happy to do nothing and pretend that doing nothing is better than doing what could be done, but might not be popular with their backers. Another stance that’s popular with the NRA is the absolutely incorrect idea that gun control doesn’t work, and it, too, is something that Rubio has shouted from the rooftops after San Bernardino.
In light of that, it’s really not surprising that Rubio would grossly exaggerate the number of Americans who would be affected by prohibiting people on the terror watch list from buying guns. Also, since he’s Republican and they love doing nothing, it’s not surprising that neither he, nor any other “gun control is evil” Republican, has proposed finding a better way to compile the terror watch list so that innocent people don’t end up on it.
Politifact rated his statement “Mostly False.” It got the “mostly” because there are some innocent Americans that are wrongly on that list. Rubio is still absolutely clueless.