Misguided lawmakers want Americans who are on the terror watch list or the no-fly list to be banned from buying guns. Under the “No-Fly, No-Buy” banner, the driving idea is that if someone is not safe enough to ride on a plane, he isn’t safe enough to own a gun.
While the idea has a superficial appeal, it is disastrously wrong-headed in at least two ways. First, it is flatly unconstitutional. Nobody knows how people get on the no-fly list, and the people who are on it don’t even know they’re on it until they try to get on a plane. Sen. Ted Kennedy made his way on this list somehow, as did Stephen Hayes, who writes for a conservative publication (The Weekly Standard) and appears regularly on Fox News as an analyst.
Now Ted Kennedy certainly represented a danger to waitresses and female campaign workers, but the thought that he was a threat to commandeer a passenger plane and fly it into a building was preposterous. It is even more ludicrous to think that Hayes would be capable of such a thing.
And once you get on this list, it’s virtually impossible to get off. I’m familiar with one individual who was wrongly placed on the no-fly list in 2004 and wasn’t able to get her name scrubbed until 2014. This “No-Fly, No-Buy” nonsense is so bad even the ACLU is opposed to it.
According to the Founders, God has given us at least three fundamental, unalienable rights. The second of these is “liberty,” the right as a law-abiding citizen to move freely about the United States, including on airplanes. It’s not the government’s job to grant us that right - God has already taken care of that - but it is government’s job to “secure” that right.
The Constitution is clear that we can indeed forfeit constitutional rights through criminal behavior. According to both the 5th and 14th Amendments, we cannot be “deprived of life, liberty or property, without due process of law.” But what that does mean is that only if we have been charged with a crime, received a fair trial in open court with the assistance of counsel, had the opportunity to face our accusers, to summon witnesses in our defense, and received a verdict from a jury of our peers, can we be deprived legitimately and legally of any constitutional right.
Depending on the seriousness of the crime, we can be deprived of our right to life through capital punishment, our right to liberty through incarceration or being kept off planes, and our right to property, through fines or asset forfeiture.
But absolutely none of these constitutional safeguards are in place with adding names to the no-fly list. Names are mysteriously added to this list by bureaucrats holed up in some cubicle somewhere. And yet lawmakers who have sworn to uphold the Constitution want to allow that same bureaucrat to deprive citizens of their right to keep and bear arms.
Thus citizens are to be deprived of two foundational rights, the right to liberty and self-protection, by some nameless, faceless functionary mindlessly toiling away in the bowels of some government office building.
I have no problem with someone’s name being added to a terror watch list, or a no-fly list, after they have received due process of law. If they have been convicted of a crime that identifies them as a threat to airline safety and America’s national security, I have no problem keeping them off airplanes and from owning guns.
But, my friends, if it has been determined in a court of law that they represent a genuine threat to national security, they should not even be allowed to be on the loose in America. If the convicted is an alien, he not only must not be allowed to fly, he must not be allowed even to remain in the country. He should be deported to his country of origin so fast it’ll give you a nosebleed.
And if a citizen has been determined in a court of law to be an existential threat to national security because of his penchant for violent criminal behavior, then he ought to be executed or locked up for the rest of his natural life.
Either way, our problem of travel safety is solved. A citizen locked up in a penitentiary can’t get on a plane or shoot innocent civilians with a gun, and a deported alien can’t fly or shoot either.
All of this illustrates an additional implication of our head-in-the-sand refusal to suspend Islamic immigration as a way of protecting American citizens in the air and on the ground. If Omar Mateen’s parents had not been allowed to immigrate from Afghanistan, 49 Americans would be alive today, and nobody would be staging juvenile sit-ins on the House floor in an attempt to disarm law-abiding American citizens.
The dismal truth is that if we do not suspend Islamic immigration, we will end up suspending the Constitution. We’re already doing it.