While it’s not the most popular anti-gun proposal out there, many gun control advocates are fans of the idea of “no fly, no buy.” In other words, if your name is on a terrorist watch list, you don’t get to exercise your Second Amendment rights, even if it’s not really you. It didn’t take much to look at that and see the problems, yet a surprising number of Democrats have supported such a measure in the not so distant past.
Yet when you change the script just a bit and make the list something like, say, the gang database, suddenly it’s an issue.
Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee amended the measure during a Wednesday mark-up to authorize the federal government to issue extreme risk protection orders in some instances, but they rejected an amendment that would have red-flagged anyone who law enforcement lists as a gang member.
“The majority of violent crime, including gun violence, in the United States is linked to gangs,” Rep. Ken Buck, a Colorado Republican who sponsored the amendment, said Wednesday. “My amendment is quite simple. It would allow the issuance of a red flag order against anyone whose name appears in a gang database if there was probable cause to include that individual in the database.”
Democrats objected with reasons that sounded very familiar to Republicans.
GOP lawmakers have staunchly opposed “No Fly, No Buy” proposals Democrats have tried to pass in the House in recent years because the lists flag the wrong people.
Like the no-fly lists, which have erroneously flagged many innocent individuals as terrorists (including the late Sen. Ted Kennedy), the gang databases are often inaccurate, Democrats said.
“You know, California had these databases, and they finally stopped when they discovered that they had 3-year-olds on the databases as gang members,” Rep. Zoe Lofgren of California said. “I mean, so some of these are reliable, a lot of them are not.”
Yeah, that does sound awfully familiar, doesn’t it?
However, there are some key differences. For one, the number of terrorist attacks in the United States are remarkably minor while gangs account for the lion’s share of violent crime in the United States, particularly homicides.
I’m not saying we should pursue something like this, only that there are some key differences which suggest using the gang database makes a bit more sense than the No Fly List.
In an effort to try and score some point, Rep. Eric “Nuke ’em All” Swalwell had to offer his two cents and said he’d back it if white supremacists were added to the database.
It didn’t go like he thought it would.
Democratic Rep. Eric Swalwell of California offered to support the amendment if Buck agreed to include those listed “individuals affiliated with white nationalism.”
Buck agreed, but he said the language should include “any type of supremacy.”
“Let’s add Cosa Nostra to this,” Buck added.
Of course, this illustrates a problem with this kind of thing. Groups can keep being added, denying people of their Second Amendment rights on the mere suspicion of them being involved with criminal activity. This is especially problematic when you consider how anyone and everyone who refuses to toe the progressive line these days is labeled a racist, even for just being concerned about your child’s education. Being part of a parent’s group that opposes so-called “desegregation” efforts could be enough to get one labeled as a white nationalist these days, despite it not being remotely applicable.
To be fair, the Democrats were right in killing this, but they did it for all the wrong reasons.
At the end of the day, no one should be denied their constitutionally-protected right to keep and bear arms without due process of law. A name on a list or in a database without such due process shouldn’t be enough to deny someone those rights.
For Democrats, though, this is of pandering to particular demographics rather than a principled stand on due process. Had the amendment been about “no fly, no buy,” they’d have been all over it and we all know it.