Via the Alabama Media Group:
Even the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) thinks there’s a problem using the No Fly List to prohibit gun purchases.
According to ACLU National Security Project director Hina Shamsi, “The standards for inclusion on the No Fly List are unconstitutionally vague, and innocent people are blacklisted without a fair process to correct government error.”
If there is a time to adhere to our principles of constitutional due process, it’s when we’re reacting to horrific attacks. As emotions run high, procedural protections help us keep our wits—and our liberties.
Forget about the gun issue for a minute.
Should we allow association, religious belief, or some other combination of non-criminal factors to sever a constitutionally protected right? Under Attorney General Eric Holder, the government argued that the No Fly List requires “predictive judgments about individuals who may pose threats to civil aviation and national security.”
That means the government takes actions based on its determination that someone might commit a crime in the future. Even if that’s a highly educated and informed guess, we’re still talking projections rather than realities. And because it’s related to national security, individuals finding themselves on the No Fly List have a tough time responding to or even understanding the circumstances that landed them there in the first place.
“If you’re too dangerous to get on a plane, you are too dangerous to buy a gun in America,” said presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
If it’s as simple as a catchy political slogan, why stop there?
We know that ISIS and other terrorist groups use social media and the internet to recruit and radicalize. If they’re too dangerous to fly, then they are probably too dangerous to espouse their radical religious views on Facebook or YouTube. Right?
You know what else all these mass shooters and terrorists seem to have in common? Cell phones. Those phones clearly pose a threat because they improve the communications capabilities of aspiring terrorists. If they’re too dangerous to fly, they are likely too dangerous to purchase a phone.
And what about gatherings of people whose names are on the No Fly List? It stands to reason that such meetings pose a risk to national security. If they’re too dangerous to fly, then they’re probably too dangerous to associate freely.
We can keep playing this game with the postal service, vehicle purchases, and even acquiring certain types of fertilizer.
There is one place where we already restrict travel, association, phone use, commerce and mailings in the United States: Prison. Even there, due process requirements have been met through the legal process.
We shouldn’t revoke ANY constitutional right based on “predictive judgments” of the government—that includes the Second Amendment. What’s at stake here isn’t just national security; it’s the bedrock of our liberty.
If we’re going to treat American citizens like criminals before they’re even charged with a crime, we’ve stepped into dangerous territory. We’ll continue to debate gun issues, but we must not throw out constitutional safeguards in the name of election year political expediency.