Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump disagreed on virtually everything during the first presidential debate Monday night. However, one of the few things they seemingly agreed on was gun control in regards to the TSA’s no-fly list.
“I agree with you,” Trump told Hillary. “When a person is on a watch list or a no-fly list. I have the endorsement of the NRA, which I’m very proud of. These are very, very good people, and they’re protecting the Second Amendment.”
“But,” he continued, “I think we have to look very strongly at no-fly lists and watch lists. And when people are on there, even if they shouldn’t be on there, we’ll help them, we’ll help them legally, we’ll help them get off. But I tend to agree with that quite strongly.”
The Huffington Post saw this as yet another opportunity to slam Trump. In an article posted the day after the debate, the Huffington post wrote that this is the first time Trump has advocated any type of gun control. “He doesn’t support tighter background checks. He’s opposed to an assault weapons ban. The NRA is strongly opposed to the so-called ‘No Fly, No Buy’ proposal, which means that Trump, perhaps not surprisingly, went a bit off script in backing it.” Clearly, the Huffington Post didn’t do much research before hitting “post.”
The “no fly, no buy” proposal gained traction after the Orlando nightclub shooting back in early June. The Wednesday after the shooting, Trump tweeted the following message:
I will be meeting with the NRA, who has endorsed me, about not allowing people on the terrorist watch list, or the no fly list, to buy guns.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 15, 2016
To which the NRA responded:
Happy to meet @realdonaldtrump. Our position is no guns for terrorists—period. Due process & right to self-defense for law-abiding Americans
— NRA (@NRA) June 15, 2016
That same day, Chris W. Cox, executive director of the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action, made a statement to the public.
“The NRA’s position on this issue has not changed. The NRA believes that terrorists should not be allowed to purchase or possess firearms, period. Anyone on a terror watch list who tries to buy a gun should be thoroughly investigated by the FBI and the sale delayed while the investigation is ongoing. If an investigation uncovers evidence of terrorist activity or involvement, the government should be allowed to immediately go to court, block the sale, and arrest the terrorist.
At the same time, due process protections should be put in place that allow law-abiding Americans who are wrongly put on a watch list to be removed. That has been the position of Sen. John Cornyn (R.-Tex.) and a majority of the U.S. Senate. Sadly, President Obama and his allies would prefer to play politics with this issue.”
So, when Trump says he supports “no fly, no buy,” it’s more likely he’s referring to something similar to Sen. John Cornyn’s proposal. After the Orlando shooting, four bills were presented to Congress, including Cornyn’s. The Texas senator’s bill would require that law enforcement be alerted when anyone on the terrorist watch list attempts to buy a firearm from a licensed dealer. If the buyer is on the list, meaning he has been investigated for terrorism within the past five years, then the sale can be blocked for up to 72 hours. During that time, a court would review the buyer and the sale. In order to deny the sale, the court would have to show probable cause that the person is, in fact, involved in terrorist activities.
On June 20, Cornyn’s bill failed in the Senate. The vote: 53-47, seven votes short of the 60 needed. Like Cox said, a majority of the U.S. senate agreed with the position. Unfortunately, Obama and his allies would rather play politics than make any real progress on the issue.
Regardless of all this, Trump did agree with Hillary on “no fly, no buy” during Monday night’s debate—to what extent, and if he actually plans to try and implement it should he take office, is still unclear. What we do know is that, for those closely following this election cycle, Trump’s debate declaration is nothing new or “surprising.”