In their chaotic rush to the left, Democratic presidential candidates are promoting a measure that would not only violate the Second Amendment, but also the elements of fundamental due process.
In the wake of the mass shooting at several mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, they propose that anyone on the federal no fly terror watch list should be denied the opportunity to purchase a firearm.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., gave these remarks at a CNN town hall event.
“Background checks. At the federal level. No fly, no buy. Like if you’re on the terrorist watch list, maybe you shouldn’t be able to buy a gun,” she said.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., added to those talking points at a New Hampshire campaign stop.
“Unfortunately, because the gun manufacturers only care about gun sales, they oppose the commonsense reforms that can save lives,” she said. “They want to oppose universal background checks because they want to sell an assault rifle to a teenager in a Walmart. Or to someone on the terror watch list or to someone who’s gravely mentally ill with a violent background.”
On its face it sounds reasonable. If you’re on a no fly list you shouldn’t be able to purchase a firearm. Gillibrand prefaced the above remarks with a swipe directed at the National Rifle Association.
“We have to take on the corporate corruption and greed that the NRA stands for. The reason why we’ve been unable to pass any commonsense gun reform ever is because the NRA is largely funded by the gun manufacturers.”
The NRA released a statement after terrorist attacks in Paris, when a similar “no fly, no buy” proposal was advanced.
“The NRA does not want terrorists or dangerous people to have firearms, any suggestion otherwise is offensive and wrong. Under the current system, law enforcement is notified every time a person on the list attempts to purchase a firearm. Law Enforcement then makes a case by case decision on the appropriate follow-up for each circumstance,” said Jennifer Baker, director of public affairs.
"The NRA’s only objective is to ensure that Americans who are wrongly on the list are afforded their constitutional right to due process. It is appalling that anti-gun politicians are exploiting the Paris terrorist attacks to push their gun-control agenda and distract from President Obama’s failed foreign policy.”
And therein lies the rub. It turns out that it’s incredibly easy to get your name on the no fly list; once on, it’s excruciatingly difficult to get your name removed. Just ask conservative journalist and frequent Fox News contributor Stephen Hayes.
He was never officially informed why he was placed on the no fly list, but he has his suspicions. He believes it was triggered when he flew into Istanbul on a one-way ticket in order to board a cruise ship headed to a different destination.
“I believe they're flagging people who are flying in and out of Turkey — Americans, in particular — because it's the main transit point for potential jihadists going to Syria,” Hayes told NPR’s Arun Rath.
Having political clout doesn’t matter either. Both the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., and Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., found their names on no fly lists in 2004. In Kennedy’s case it was because the name “T. Kennedy” was a popular pseudonym with terror suspects. As of 2015 Lewis was still on the list and in the dark as to why.
Before an American citizen can be deprived of his constitutional rights, he must be afforded due process which, in its most basic form, requires a notice of the charges against him and a hearing where he can confront his accusers.
It’s patently clear that persons on the no fly list are given neither, and that cannot form the basis, on its own, to deprive a person of his Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.
But that won’t stop the Democrats from trying.
Michael Dorstewitz is a retired lawyer and has been a frequent contributor to BizPac Review and Liberty Unyielding. He’s also a former U.S. Merchant Marine officer and an enthusiastic Second Amendment supporter, who can often be found honing his skills at the range. To read more of his reports - Click Here.
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