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No Fly, No Guns? Everything You Need to Know about the 'No-Fly List'...
The No-Fly list. It's a term which is bandied about with much frequency. Spoken by a wide range of ninnymuggins, from the uneducated to the intellectual elitist who knows so much about all things bureaucracy. Most of the time, though, the No Fly list is brought up by glowing gems such as this:
Based on how it's been marketed to the, let's be honest, undereducated, largely ignorant voter base who doesn't know what a semi-automatic gun even is, it's not hard to understand how "No-Fly List" sounds like a perfect anti-terrorist strategy. Because of September 11, no one wants a terrorist on an airplane. Terrorists on the "No-Fly List," it stands to reason, shouldn't be allowed weaponry. Common sense, right?
To quote Bill Clinton, it all depends on what the definition of "is" is. In this case, how are we defining "terrorist"? Because Democrats like Hillary Clinton have referred to pro-life people as "terrorists."
But let's go through this point by point. What exactly is the "No-Fly List"?
Prior to September 11, 2001, the government's Terrorist Screening Center had a "no transport list" with 16 people on it. After 9/11, there were 400 names added. The list grew from there. Yes, the list grew under the Bush Administration. The list was retained by the Obama Administration. Did the list at one time have "honorable" intentions? Perhaps. But guess what? I don't care so much about intentions if the results are disastrous. In fact I'm pretty sure there's an adage about good intentions leading someplace hot and steamy.
As of 2013 there were 41,000 names on the No-Fly List. Not to be confused with the Terrorist Watch List, which has over one million names.
Before letting you in on nitty gritty of how you might land on this list, bear this in mind:
The No Fly List program came to public light "when prominent antiwar activists, such as Jan Adams and Rebecca Gordan, and political opponents of the Bush administration, such as Senator Edward Kennedy and the civil rights attorney David Cole, found themselves included."
Which means if someone in the government doesn't like you, you could wind up on the list. Remember administrations change. Hence the bipartisan opposition to the list.
So, how can you wind up on it? Yes you could land on the list. Or you may already be on it. Because guess what? The government doesn't have to tell you you're on the list. Here are the top 7 ways you can land on the list. By the way, the source for this list? HuffPo. Yes, leftist HuffPo is none too pleased with the No-Fly List either.
- You raise “reasonable suspicion” that you’re involved in terrorism. “Irrefutable evidence or concrete facts” are not required. "Reasonable suspicion" is left undefined. It is purposefully vague.
- You post something on Facebook or Twitter that raises “reasonable suspicion.” According to a document published by The Intercept, “postings on social media sites ... should not be discounted merely because of the manner in which it was received.” Instead, those investigating the individual should “evaluate the credibility of the source” and, if they judge the content to pose a “reasonable suspicion” of a link to terrorism, nominate the person to the watch list, even if that source is “uncorroborated.”
- Somebody could just think you’re a potential terror threat. Your threat level to be determined by, you guessed it, not totally concrete qualifications. Scared yet?
- Somebody could think you're acting a bit like a terrorist. What does this mean? Excellent question. Again, not clearly defined. But if someone thinks you're associated with a terrorist group (again, not defined), even if you're neither a member or affiliated with the "terrorist group" you could be on the list.
- You know someone who might be a terrorist (based on number 3 or 4 above totally counts). This falls under the guilty by association category. Even though the person in question may not even be a terrorist.
- You're a member of a certain category which government bureaucrats deem questionable. Here's where you pro-lifers or government skeptics fall in. Member of the NRA? How does the government not know you're a kind of terrorist? You're banned from flights. Gun nut.
- You have a terrorist name. Or you share a name with a terrorist. Shame on your parents. Don't you dare blame the government for being epic failures of suck, though.
"But if the No-Fly list keeps people safe, shouldn't we err on the side of caution?"
"But hasn't it stopped terrorists? Shouldn't we ban people from the No-Fly list from having guns? GUNS ARE EVIL!"
"But, but, terrorists! We should put our rights on hold to be safe!"
Let me make this super simple for you purveyors of idiocy. This is not just a Second Amendment issue, it's also a Fifth Amendment issue. Yes, the Fifth Amendment. If you're scratching your head in confusion, or you think the Fifth is just that thing you plead while on the stand in a super photogenic court you see on TV, worry not. I've pulled it up for you. #Love
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
Yeah, it's a bit longer than the Second Amendment, so lemme pull the money quote for you:
...nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
Due process. See, the Founding Fathers knew that government tends to favor corruption, power, and depriving people of their rights. See the vast majority of human history. In order to protect the people of the United States, the Founding Fathers outlined what the government could NOT do to the people, in order to protect the rights of the people. What the Founding Fathers didn't want was a government arbitrarily removing people's rights for arbitrary reasons.
See the No-Fly list.
The No-Fly list deprives people of their right to due process as outlined in the Fifth Amendment. This same No-Fly list is what leftists want to use to strip American citizens of their Second Amendment rights.
You can see why we take issue with this one. Even the ACLU, yes THAT ACLU, takes umbrage with the list.
...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. Our lawsuit seeks a meaningful opportunity for our clients to challenge their placement on the No Fly List because it is so error-prone and the consequences for their lives have been devastating.
They're not wrong.
In summary, no, the No-Fly list is not constitutional. No, the list should not be used to strip rights from Americans. No, due process should not be tossed aside for the sake of "public safety," that all encompassing ambiguous term the government uses to commander rights.
Let me close with this quotation from one of my favorite Americans, Benjamin Franklin:
"Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."