Anti-Gun State Leaders Push Watch List Gun Bans

posted on December 31, 2015

We’ve chronicled the desire of President Barack Obama and other anti-gun federal officials to use secret government lists to deny law-abiding citizens’ Second Amendment rights here, here and here.

It’s easy to explain why doing so violates the very rule of law our nation was founded upon: Banning Americans from buying guns because they are placed on a secret government list by an unknown bureaucrat denies them of an explicit constitutional right with absolutely no due process. There’s no “presumed innocent until proven guilty,” no hearing to learn of charges or confront accusers. And there’s no easy—or even difficult—way to get off the list. As we’ve pointed out in the past, individuals on the list who attempt to purchase a firearm are already flagged for law enforcement consideration.

Of course, as with any other terrible anti-gun idea floated at the federal level, there are gun-hating politicians in some states who will try to subvert the constitutionally protected rights of their citizens, regardless of whether the federal proposals make legislative headway. 

It will probably come as little surprise that two of the states where governors are pushing a gun ban based on the watch lists are Connecticut and New York.

With Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy having announced an executive order to institute such a ban in his state—that is, if he can get the FBI to send the list his way—others are beginning to follow his lead. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., have called for New York to close what they falsely call the “Terror Gap” by prohibiting anyone on an FBI list from buying guns.

Meanwhile, Illinois Rep. Gregory Harris has introduced a measure to take away gun licenses from people who appear on the terrorist watch list, and Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker has expressed interest in a similar project.

More recently, Nevada Democratic state Sen. Ruben Kihuen announced that he has submitted a Bill Draft Request that would “prohibit those on the Federal No-Fly List from purchasing firearms in Nevada.” Sen. Kihuen even went a step further by calling on his fellow legislators to return for an additional special session, following the Special Legislative Session called by Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval regarding unrelated matters, to consider this proposal.

Of course, despite what gun-ban groups and anti-gunners in the so-called “mainstream” media say, the NRA does not want terrorists or other dangerous people to have firearms. Any suggestion to the contrary is offensive and wrong. However, if enacted into law, these various pieces of legislation would result in Americans being denied fundamental, constitutional rights without due process. 

NRA-ILA said in a recent feature story at, “NRA is strongly opposed to the idea of a secret government list being used to strip law-abiding individuals of their constitutional rights without due process.”Banning Americans from buying guns because they are placed on a secret government list by an unknown bureaucrat denies them of an explicit constitutional right with absolutely no due process. 

As we’ve pointed out in the past, individuals on the list who attempt to purchase a firearm are already flagged for law enforcement consideration.

“Under the current system, law enforcement is notified every time a person on the list attempts to purchase a firearm,” said Jennifer Baker, NRA-ILA spokesperson. “Law enforcement then makes a case-by-case decision on the appropriate follow-up for each circumstance.

“The NRA’s only objective is to ensure that Americans who are wrongly on the list are afforded their constitutional right to due process. It is appalling that anti-gun politicians are exploiting the Paris terrorist attacks to push their gun-control agenda and distract from President Obama’s failed foreign policy.”

Interestingly, a high-level federal official recently admitted while testifying before Congress that banning Americans on such lists from buying guns would likely be ineffective, since that wasn’t what the lists were produced for—that is, until his bosses apparently cracked down on him. 

“I believe it would be apples and oranges,” said Department of Homeland Security’s Assistant Secretary for International Affairs Alan Bersin, in testimony before the House Oversight Committee. He was responding to a question from Rep. Blake Farenthold on whether it was appropriate that these lists be used outside of what they were designed for.

Apparently, however, Bersin’s superiors within the Obama administration must have gotten to him, as he quickly changed his tune. 

“To be clear, it is the administration’s position that Congress should act to make sure no one on a no-fly list is able to buy a gun,” Bersin said just two days later. “This is a matter of national security and common sense, and it is a position I and the department support.” 

Despite what many anti-gun politicians and gun-ban groups claim, banning gun purchases by individuals who find themselves on secret government lists won’t reduce violent crime. Most Americans realize that. And NRA will continue to speak the truth on the subject, regardless of how many states push such unconstitutional measures.


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