DAILY SIGNAL — If the news reports are correct, the latest “gun control” proposal being put forward by Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, is a “measure that would block people on the Transportation Security Administration’s no–fly list from buying firearms,” according to ABC News.
There is one major problem with that proposal: It is potentially unconstitutional since it would take away a constitutional right—your Second Amendment right to bear arms—at the discretion of a government official in a secret, nontransparent process that has no adequate due process protections.
Let’s be clear—we don’t want terrorists buying guns in this country. Nor do we think that they have a Second Amendment right to do so. But this blunt instrument is not the right solution.
The Terrorism Screening Database is the official name for the “Terrorist Watchlist” maintained by the FBI’s Terrorist Screening Center. This database is the U.S.’s central repository of foreign and domestic known and suspected terrorists. How individuals get onto this list is classified, as is the process for individuals getting from that list onto the no-fly list maintained by TSA.
We don’t know what evidence is required by the government or what the standards are for the government having a “reasonable suspicion” that would place any American citizen on the no-fly list. And more than one court has held that the procedures for an American who may have mistakenly gotten onto the list to get off are inadequate. The ACLU complains that the government often fails to “provide meaningful notice“ and to explain why an individual is listed
We certainly know that the government makes mistakes. Rahinah Ibraham was a scholar and doctoral candidate at Stanford University with a valid student visa who ended up on the list through a clerical error by an FBI agent. As an alien, she would not be entitled to purchase a gun, but the mistake that landed her on the list and the ten years of litigation she went through to get off of the list shows the problem with the lack of transparency and due process involved in the maintenance of the no-fly list
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