A media drumbeat is steadily building to keep those on the government’s terrorist watch list from buying firearms. A month ago, Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D‑NY) introduced a bill to bar them from purchasing a gun even if they had no legally disqualifying criminal conviction. Now Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D‑NJ) has introduced his own legislation to achieve the same goal.
This is arbitrary government at its best. The “no‐fly” list used to prevent suspected terrorists from boarding aircraft has tagged Nelson Mandela, Sen. Ted Kennedy (D‑MA), Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D‑CA), Rep. Don Young (R‑AK), Rep. John Lewis (D‑GA), a retired general, a Marine reservist returning from Iraq, the President of Bolivia and dead 9/11 hijackers, a former federal prosecutor, and over twenty men named John Thompson as threats to our national security. The list now contains over 1 million names. This prompted calls for probes into the watch list, and the ACLU filed suit to challenge the list.
The push to prevent firearms purchases by persons on this list is nothing new. Here is White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel saying in 2007 that, “if you’re on that no‐fly list, your access to the right to bear arms is cancelled, because you’re not part of the American family; you don’t deserve that right. There is no right for you if you’re on that terrorist list.”
If the government can take an enumerated liberty away from selected citizens by placing them on a “no‐rights” list without due process, the rule of law is dead.