One of the more popular anti-gun proposals floating around after the Orlando Pulse shooting was to bar people on the no-fly list from being able to buy guns. The proposal was batted down at the time, and that should have been the end of it.
Unfortunately, it’s not. Now, a group of senators are resurrecting it from the dead.
A bipartisan group of senators on Tuesday introduced legislation that would prohibit individuals on certain terrorist watch lists from purchasing a gun, an idea that has rankled civil-rights groups.
The senators revived the Terrorist Firearms Prevention Act, describing the bill as a common-sense measure that would make Americans safer, the Hillreported.
Sen. Susan Collins (R., Maine) said in a statement that the legislation would not infringe upon the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens.
“If you are considered to be too dangerous to fly on an airplane, you should not be able to buy a firearm,” Collins said. “This bill is a sensible step we can take right now to reform our nation’s gun laws while protecting the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Americans.”
The bill would allow the attorney general to deny the sale of a firearm to individuals on the no-fly list, a collection of names of people who are not allowed to board commercial flights into or out of the U.S., and the selectee list, which subjects airline passengers to additional screening.
Both lists are in the FBI-led Terrorist Screening Database, which receives its information from the Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment (TIDE), the U.S. government’s central repository of “information on international terrorist identities.”
Civil-rights groups and commentators across the political spectrum have criticized the bill in the past for curtailing a constitutional right through secret government lists. They say the legislation raises questions about due process, in part because the process by which one is placed on or off the lists is not transparent.
And those due process concerns are still there.
The no-fly list is notorious for containing the names of innocent people who may share a name with a terrorist or have a similar name to one. Everything from babies in strollers to sitting United States senators have found their name on the list, and there’s no process for getting your name off of it once it’s there.
These senators who are making this proposal can talk about how this will supposedly keep the guns out of the wrong hands, but they’re completely ignoring the thousands of people who are included who have done nothing wrong. These are people who would be barred from exercising their constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms simply because their name wrongly showed up on a list.
If you can’t see the problem with this, you’re willfully blind to the reality.
There’s absolutely no way this should ever pass, and this proposal is one that shows just how squishy a handful of Republicans are on guns. After all, Sens. Tammy Baldwin (D., Wis.), Jeff Flake (R., Ariz.), and Pat Toomey (R., Pa.) joined Democrats Martin Heinrich (D., N.M.), Heidi Heitkamp (D., N.D.), Angus King (I., Maine), and Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.) in backing this abomination.