In the wake of a mass shooting at a New Zealand mosque last week that left 49 people dead, at least Democratic 2020 hopefuls are back to hyping stricter gun control laws in the U.S., including reviving calls for a regulation that would ban people who find themselves on the government’s “No Fly” list from buying a gun.
Commonly known as “no fly, no buy,” the rule, also heavily pushed by former President Obama, would restrict anyone who’s been placed on an arbitrary and vague Terror Watch List from purchasing a weapon – even those who land on the list by accident.
However problematic, that’s what Massachusetts Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Kirsten Gillbrand are now touting as “solutions” to gun violence.
“Background checks. 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,” Warren announced at a CNN town hall Monday.
At a separate event, after peddling a host of myths about gun owners and so-called "assault rifles," Gillbrand hyped her own desire to keep anyone on “the terror watch list” from being able to buy a gun.
“Unfortunately, because the gun manufacturers only care about gun sales, they oppose the common sense reforms that can save lives,” Gillibrand said. “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.”
Unfortunately for gun control advocates, “no fly, no buy” isn’t nearly as simple as it seems. Though it’s been categorically denied by TSA, the number of law-abiding Americans who’ve found themselves accidentally placed on the government’s so-called “Terror Watch List” and banned from flights has well documented, including members of Congress like Sen. Ted Kennedy and Rep. John Lewis. In a piece detailing the ridiculously flawed system, CNN documented how in 2012, an 18-month-old girl and her mother were removed from their flight because the toddler’s name was flagged as “no fly.”
On top of creating a slew of logistical problems, Second Amendment proponents have also pointed out that banning someone from buying a gun based on their name appearing on an arbitrary list not only strips them of their legal right to own a firearm, but also deprives them of due legal process.