Secret Lists That Bar Gun Ownership A Big Problem

(AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

There are a handful of people who are legally forbidden to own a firearm. These include convicted felons, domestic abusers, and those the courts have determined are mentally unfit for firearm ownership. The names of those are essentially kept on a list, one you can’t really look to see if you’re on. That makes it a secret list, one you can only find out you’re on by trying to buy a gun and being denied.

Oh, and trying to buy a gun when you’re prohibited is illegal, so the only way you can find out if you’re going to break the law or not is to break the law.

Makes perfect sense.

In that way, it’s kind of like the No-Fly List. If you’re on it, you’re on it and you don’t get to find out you’re on it until you try to fly. At least buying a plane ticket while on the No-Fly List isn’t illegal. Yet.

Still, it’s another secret list, one that some would like to also apply to buying a firearm.

Frankly, some on the pro-gun side of things are a little sick of these lists.

“Between the No-Fly List and the NICS List, there are two secret lists the government uses to strip American citizens of their constitutional rights,” Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) tweeted. “But they do so in secret. With no charges. No hearing. No due process. It is a remnant from Soviet Russia, and it needs to end.”

He was referring to an October 28 letter that he wrote to Attorney General Merrick Garland about reports the government was denying guns to citizens who don’t fit into any of the 10 classes of legally enacted “prohibited persons” categories, including convictions for crimes punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year, fugitives from justice, and the like. His concern was that people not so prohibited by law were still being denied their rights, including through “false positives.”

“The background check system confuses the names of law-abiding individuals with those of criminals, resulting in thousands of ‘false positives’ every year,” author and Crime Prevention Research Center President John Lott argues. Rather than refute that it happens or demand that it stops, the antis came out in furious force to smear and try to discredit Lott.

The thing about Gosar writing to Garland is he was reacting to something that happened recently to Republican activist (pejoratively described as “far right” by leftist media) and former congressional candidate Laura Loomer, who had her Florida Concealed Carry permit denied, “despite the fact that she had a gun at the time she was in the NICS database.”

“Even after being denied, Loomer had to make several more inquiries as to why she was denied,” Gosar explained. “If she had not contested her application denial, Loomer could have still legally had a gun in Florida without carrying, and she never would have known that the FBI had banned her from being able to own a firearm. This begs the question, was the FBI trying to entrap Ms. Loomer, and how many other American citizens who are also in the FBI NICS database have not been notified that they have also been banned from owning and possessing firearms?”

I get that Loomer may not be everyone’s favorite person, but her rights should be as unassailable as anyone else’s. For her to have run afoul of something like this means that any of us could well be next.

And some people want these lists expanded. They want more people on secret lists that bar them from exercising their constitutionally protected rights.

Sorry, this is a big problem for me.

What’s more, the gun control crowd should be just as terrified of secret lists as we are. After all, these kinds of lists can be used by nefarious actors in our government to deny people any other right. For example, imagine showing up to vote and being told that your name is on a list as ineligible to cast your ballot?

Right now, the secret lists are “just” messing with gun rights, but whenever someone finds a way around the courts in one regard, they’ll use it for something else.

Plus, it seems that some of these secret lists completely skip due process. Your name can appear on one and you not only not be aware of it, but the judicial system is also completely unaware of it as well. No judge looks at these lists and at the evidence against you and decides that yes, you belong on these lists.

Oh, in theory, that happens with the NICS lists, but not really. A judge pronounces a sentence and the name gets added to the list as a result of that, but there’s no real mechanism for just limiting it to those people.

As we’ve apparently seen.

I don’t know about you, but I’m not remotely comfortable with anyone being denied their right to keep and bear arms without a really, really good reason, and I damn sure don’t want some list compiled by bureaucrats to be the determining factor as to whether I can exercise my rights.