Rep. Tom Cole and MSNBC's
Joe Scarborough Thursday morning squared off about the nation's "no-fly" list, with the "Morning Joe" host demanding to know why the procedure making up the list isn't changed if the list is too flawed to determine who should be allowed to buy guns.
"It's worth noting had any of these laws passed they wouldn't have stopped anything that happened in Orlando," the Oklahoma Republican said on the program. "The idea that there's some magic legislative fix to what's a deep social, cultural problem I think is an illusion. And frankly I think it's a situation where the Democrats have exploited this tragedy for political purposes."
Cole, on the show as House Democrats continued their sit-in
to push for votes on laws concerning gun control measures, said he didn't know why the House would even want to vote on a measure that did not pass in the Senate earlier in the week, as it could not become law, anyway.
"This is all about, as the Speaker [Paul Ryan] said, publicity, a stunt," Cole said on the program. 'It was, I would say, very disrespectful, very destructive and in the end self-defeating."
Meanwhile, he argued, there are people working on cleaning up the nation's no-fly lists, which have at times included names including that of late Sen. Ted Kennedy and even of Georgia Rep. John Lewis, one of the Democrats speaking out during the House sit-in.
Cleaning up the list, argued Cole, won't be done with "stunts" on the House floor, but with "serious legislation introduced and usually worked on in a bipartisan manner," Cole said.
And once someone gets on the no-fly list, it's hard to get off it, and becomes an "incredible invasion of your rights as an individual," said Cole.
"Then why don't we get rid of the list if it's so bad?" asked Scarborough. "I don't understand. Why have the list at all?"
He continued that the argument about the list is the same he hears about background checks being so "terribly flawed" they can't be fixed.
Cole responded by saying that the list is deeply flawed.
"Almost everybody on that list is a foreigner and not able to buy a firearm in America anyway," said Cole. "We're talking about a small population of Americans on the list. It depends whether you're talking no fly list or terrorist watch list, there's a lot of complexity here. "
"Maybe we should get rid of it," said Scarborough. "It's not complex. You're saying this is a terrible list."
But when Scarborough asked Cole it would make sense that he and other lawmakers do their jobs and make the list better 'so we make sure people on that terror watch list can't go in and by an AR-15 and mow down people in Oklahoma" the representative reminded him that he does know something about terrorism.
"I lived through an incident in Oklahoma City," said Cole, referencing the domestic terrorist bomb attack on the Alfred P. Murrah Federal building in 1995. "The largest in American history."
And, he said he believes federal authorities are trying to prevent another Oklahoma City, but the terror watch list and no-fly lists must be accurate."
"This is my point, Congressman," said Scarborough. "Fix the list."
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