September 28, 2016

DONALD TRUMP, GUNS, AND THE “NO-FLY LIST.”

Trump’s stance on this issue should be deeply troubling to those who care about gun rights – and also to people concerned about constitutional rights generally, even if they don’t care much about this one.

As both the ACLU and conservative commentators point out, the no fly list is notoriously inaccurate. It is also provides little or no due process protections. The process is secret, people are not told the reasons why they were placed on the list, and they are not given any advance opportunity to challenge the designation. And, once on the list, even a completely innocent person might find it difficult and time-consuming to get off it.

If Trump is committed to the idea that your Second Amendment rights can be stripped on such a flimsy basis, with so little due process, then virtually any other politically feasible limitation on gun rights is also acceptable. . . .

Commenters on Twitter point to Trump’s seeming support of a GOP bill sponsored by Sen. John Cornyn that would allow the government to ban people on the “no fly list” from buying guns for only 72 hours, after which they would have to go to court to provide evidence of links to terrorism, in order to extend the ban. It’s a fair point, and one I should have addressed in the original post. But I don’t think it much changes the bottom line on the dangerous implications of Trump’s position on this issue.

While it is entirely possibly that Trump would sign the Cornyn bill if it passes, he has never clearly stated that he supports it. Much more significantly he has never said that he will only support the “no fly, no buy” policy if it includes a right to a judicial hearing.

The good and the bad news about Trump is you figure he probably doesn’t mean half of what he’s saying. But which half?

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