Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Guns and the no-fly list


On Sunday night the Prez suggested that

"Congress should act to make sure no one on a no-fly list is able to buy a gun. What could possibly be the argument for allowing a terrorist suspect to buy a semi-automatic weapon? This is a matter of national security."

I have to admit that I momentarily enjoyed the politics behind the suggestion. When Republicans are pissing in their pants at the idea of admitting desperate escapees from the Syrian war and ISIS, they refuse to vote to prevent people designated as dangerous from acquiring guns? That's low.

But hey, I was once told I was on the no fly list which was always a crock. Certainly I was never any danger to aviation or much of anything else. And much as the spooks like to tout their "success" at preventing terrorism, people who actually know something about security have long thought watch lists were mere "theater."

So I don't mind that that Jamelle Bouie has reminded anyone inclined to enjoy the Prez's thrust against gun lovers' hypocrisy that we're putting ourselves on the wrong side of rights we normally care about.

... civil libertarians—and liberals, at least during the Bush administration—think [the terrorist watch list] is constitutionally dubious. They’re right. “The list contains the names of people who the government thinks are a threat to civil aviation—terrorists,” writes University of Chicago law professor Eric Posner for Slate. “These people are denied passage. … Yet the government does not have proof that these people have committed crimes nor, since it can’t see into the future, that they will commit crimes.” If you’re on these lists, you’re presumed guilty until proven innocent, with no due process and little recourse.

The list is conceptually flawed, and using it to deny gun ownership is wrong on its face. Add racial and religious profiling to the mix—the people on the list, including Americans, are disproportionately Arab or from Muslim countries—and you have an anti-gun measure with deep disparate impact.

He's right; my politically convenient pleasure is wrong. Schadenfreude at Republican discomfiture is no excuse.

1 comment:

Rain Trueax said...

It's important to remember there are degrees on that list. A firm no fly means no, not under any circumstances. Right after 9/11, my husband, who flew quite a lot for business, was put on a list that limited your ability to get a boarding pass. He would have to go in each time and always they let him fly but with more checks. We could not figure out why except he has an Irish sounding name and maybe it related to past, similar IRA terrorist names. At that time, Ted Kennedy was also on that list. If this proposed ban on buying guns relates to the firm no-fly and FBI terrorist watch lists, it would make sense. If it's vague and overly broad, with no way to get off (he couldn't back then because there were so many and they didn't have to have a reason. It was though more an inconvenience than a ban.)

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