November 24, 2015
The Terrorist Watch List: Political Pandering Over Due Process
The latest example comes in response to Americans’ well-founded fears that Jihadi terrorism emanating from the self-proclaimed Islamic State and most recently exported to Paris is, in fact, real and not contained. But rather than seriously discuss the military and security policy issues with the American people, what we are witnessing instead is a public-relations play that sounds good to their political base, but that is misleading and that again sets up domestic strawman enemies instead of facing up to the real threat posed by real-world terrorists.
So, in this pursuit, recently introduced on Capitol Hill is legislation that would ban anyone whose name appears on a secret government terrorist watch list from purchasing a firearm. Sounds good, right? Well, no, is the answer in a single word. We and others have been talking about the problems with this “Terrorist Watch List” for a few years now. Even the liberal Huffington Post decried this list for its lack of due process and the ease with which almost anyone could have their name added to it.
As we explain in our Terrorist List Fast Facts, we all support the goal of preventing terrorist acts. But terrorist and criminals should be on law enforcement wanted lists or charged with appropriate crimes. These actions would effectively prohibit dangerous individuals from purchasing firearms. It is, quite simply, unacceptable to deny Americans their Second Amendment rights without due process because their name was placed on an error-prone secret government list for which there is no underlying statutory authority.
Further, under the Democrats’ plan, federal authorities would not even have to tell you why your name is on the list. Even the American Civil Liberties Union has taken umbrage and rightly so. The late lion of liberalism, Sen. Ted Kennedy, was prevented from flying by having his name on the so called “no fly list because an alleged terrorist was using the name Edward Kennedy. Providing equal opportunity in its inaccuracy, Weekly Standard writer and Fox News Channel contributor Steven Hayes also was listed, apparently for going on a cruise. The Federalist details all this and it’s worth reading.
But in what was the all-too-predictable capper for this holiday week, White House Spokesman Josh Earnest took the daily opportunity the taxpayers provide him at the White House press room podium to blame the Obama administration’s favorite strawman enemy, the NRA, for questioning the wisdom and efficacy of shunting even more Americans’ names to a list that would prevent them from being able to buy a gun on mere suspicion and without due process. We call that political pandering and it’s shameful. But, it’s also in keeping with their campaign of denying more Americans their Second Amendment rights. It’s pursuing gun control by other means.