It was not going to be long before Democratic presidential candidates weighed in on the gun debate and how they would regulate gun ownership from the executive branch and a pair of candidates did just that.
Democrats Elizabeth Warren and Kirsten Gillibrand took to their respective campaign trails and voiced support for the controversial “no fly, no buy” rule, the Daily Wire reports.
Warren endorsed the plan on Monday night during a campaign stop in Mississippi where she plainly argued a person on a terrorist watch list that is not allowed to fly should similarly not be allowed to buy a firearm.
“Background checks,” Warren said in Jackson when asked how she would address gun reform and control. “At the federal level. No fly, no buy. Like if you’re on the terrorist watchlist, maybe you shouldn’t be able to buy a gun.”
Gillibrand announced the official start to her presidential campaign over the weekend where she similarly backed the “no fly, no buy” rule.
“Unfortunately, because the gun manufacturers only care about gun sales, they oppose the common sense reforms that can save lives,” Gillibrand told the crowd, the Daily Wire reports. “They want to oppose universal background checks because they want to sell an assault rifle to a teenager in a Walmart. Or to someone on the terror watch list or to someone who’s gravely mentally ill with a violent background.”
The “no fly, no buy” rule has been abandoned several times, the Daily Wire reports, most recently when it was pitched by former President Obama.
As the Daily Wire reports, the rule has been proposed several times in the past but has been repeatedly rejected by courts amid civil rights concerns:
The Obama administration tried to prevent those who had a qualified diagnosis of mental illness from purchasing firearms. But while a number of legislators — including plenty of Democrats — agreed that the policy was well-meaning, according to the Chicago Tribune, it failed to take into consideration that mental illness diagnoses are common, but that most people who are diagnosed with a mental illness are not homicidal or suicidal.
The policy also failed to follow the Constitution’s mandate for a due process hearing when a “life, liberty, or property’ right is revoked.
The same is true for the “no fly, no buy” rule Warren and Gillbrand are so much in favor of.
The “no fly” list and the “terrorist watch list” are two different things, but as the ACLU notes, it’s impossible for any American to know if they are on either one, until they run up against law enforcement. There is no transparency in how the government decides who is on the list, no process for discovering if a citizen is among the targeted individuals, and no opportunity for redress if a citizen feels they should not be prevented from flying — or, in this case, purchasing a firearm.
The rule itself makes the government an autonomous being in determining who can own a firearm as a person can be added to the terror watch list and subsequently, the “no fly, no buy” list, for any reason or for no reason at all. Even members of Congress have been accidentally added.
The review process for getting a person’s name removed from the list is troublesome and can take years, Politico reported in January:
A federal appeals court has excoriated U.S. government lawyers for their handling of decadelong litigation over a former Stanford graduate student’s complaint that she was unjustifiably included on the U.S. no-fly list for terrorists.
Malaysian citizen Rahinah Ibrahim won her lawsuit nearly five years ago when U.S. District Court Judge William Alsup ruled, following a trial, that her due process rights were violated by her placement on the list. An FBI agent testified at the trial that he misunderstood a form he filled out back in 2004, marking the wrong boxes and leading to the scholar being placed on the no-fly list.
The litigation has dragged on since over Ibrahim’s attorneys applied for about $3.6 million in legal fees and roughly $300,000 in expenses. The ruling from an 11-member en banc panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday faulted Alsup for a series of errors that led to him slashing the fee request by nearly 90 percent.
Eight of the 11 9th Circuit judges on the case said there was strong evidence that Justice Department attorneys acted in “bad faith” by prolonging the litigation even after they knew that Ibrahim’s placement on the list was erroneous. Writing for the majority, Judge Kim Wardlaw said Alsup was too quick to set aside Ibrahim’s claims of bad faith on the government’s part and was far too stingy in awarding fees.