Why the No Fly List Gun Ban Won’t Go Anywhere

This evening President Obama asked how anybody can reasonably object to the proposal that people on the No-Fly list (a.k.a the Terrorist Watch List) be forbidden from obtaining firearms. Evidently he is piqued that the Republican Senate had rejected the Democrat proposal two days ago to institute such a policy.

There are two separate Constitutional problems with the proposal and both are fatal – a 2nd Amendment problem, and a lack of Due Process. In layman’s terms what is being proposed is to ban the sale of an otherwise legal product to certain persons based on a “suspicion” that they might abuse it. The ban is implemented with no notice, no hearing, vague substantive and evidentiary standards and a very difficult process to undo it.

Let’s reflect on this example: suppose the Democrats proposed that anyone suspected of terrorism may not purchase fertilizer (which has been used in some terrorist bombings, including the first World Trade Center bombing and the Oklahoma bombing). Can a constitutionally serious person argue that there is a 2nd Amendment right to buy fertilizer. But the fact that a bureaucrat can bar me from buying a legal product that my neighbor remains free to buy, under the same procedures as the No Fly List, is a serious Due Process problem.

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