Legislation billed as anti-terrorism that seemed like a no-brainer to pass Congress was rejected in the U.S. Senate last week and Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley was among those who helped bring about its demise.
The measure would have banned people who are on the so-called “no fly” list from buying firearms. Grassley says he and nearly every other Republican in the chamber opposed the measure.
“There’s a lot of people on the ‘no fly’ list that shouldn’t be on there,” Grassley says. “It’s not a very accurate list. A lot of people that are innocent of anything would not be able to buy guns and their Second Amendment rights would be violated.”
Opponents of the legislation claim the list is full of “everyday Americans” who are on it by mistake, including one of Grassley’s former colleagues. “It’s often said that Senator (Ted) Kennedy was once on the ‘no fly’ list, as an example,” Grassley says.
Billionaire businessman and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump suggested on Monday that all Muslims, be they tourists or immigrants, be temporarily banned from entering the United States. Trump said Muslims should be barred from coming to the U.S. “until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.”
The comments are drawing much criticism and Grassley offered this critique of Trump. Grassley says, “I didn’t hear his entire speech or read the entire speech but I read about it and I came to the conclusion that if I were running for president, I would never say that.” Following last week’s shooting massacre in San Bernardino, California, that left 14 people dead and 17 wounded, polls are finding many Americans demand tougher action against potential terrorists.
Grassley says he’s seen the polls that show respondents want “boots on the ground” in Iraq and Syria. “People are very, very afraid of the extremist, Jihadist, Islamic approach that people are using,” Grassley says. “Not a condemnation of Islam but surely a condemnation of people that distort the religion for political or military purposes.” Grassley says President Obama is already committing hundreds, not thousands, of troops to serve as advisors and consultants in the Middle East.
Grassley suggests we see how effective that effort is before ordering still more Americans in uniform overseas.