Man's Story Proves Banning Guns From No-Fly List Names Is Bad Idea


This is one story every American who believes in the Constitution needs to hear.

About a decade ago, when California Republican Congressman Tom McClintock was still a state senator in Sacramento, he found himself unable to board a plane to his home district because his name had popped up on a terrorist watch list.

Ridiculous as it was, it took McClintock months of work – with the help of the California Senate’s sergeant at arms – to get his name off the Terrorist Screening Center’s super-secret no-fly list. That’s not the kind of help that’s available to most Americans, but that’s exactly the kind of list liberals want to use to infringe on Americans’ constitutionally guaranteed right to bear arms.

As recounted in a Daily Signal piece by writer Philip Wegman in 2016, McClintock’s exchange with the transportation security staff in Sacramento sounded like something out of an existentialist theater of the absurd:

McClintock: “Why am I on the list?”

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Official: “We can’t tell you.”

McClintock: “Well what criteria did you use?”

Official: “That is classified.”

McClintock: “How can I get off that list?”

Official: “You can’t.”

Those words should be the background of every discussion that involves federal lawmakers resurrecting the “no fly, no buy” bill House Democrats staged a disgraceful sit-in for back in June of 2016.

Wegman described McClintock’s story in a piece published Tuesday by the Washington Examiner, criticizing a “bipartisan” bill co-sponsored by Democrat Sen. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine.

(It’s “bipartisan” because Collins is officially a member of the GOP, the way John McCain is.)

According The Hill, Collins justified the measure with a simple statement:

“If you are considered to be too dangerous to fly on an airplane, you should not be able to buy a firearm.”

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That might sound sensible enough. But it depends a lot on who’s the one who has the authority to decide of an American citizen is “considered” too dangerous.

Do you oppose the no-fly, no buy bill?
Liberals would love to see that authority invested in bureaucrats, faceless operatives of the state wielding unquestioned – and unquestionable – authority over men and women who were born with God-given rights.

Some Republicans – like Collins, Arizona’s Jeff Flake, and Pennsylvania’s Pat Toomey – apparently agree.

The problem is that keeping terrorists from enjoying the liberties guaranteed by the Bill of Rights sounds like a laudable goal. But the very real danger is that ordinary Americans might find themselves on a terror watch list too – and without the pull of a state senator, as McClintock was at the time when he was stopped in Sacramento, or the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, who was denied a flight in 2004 because his name resembled a suspected terrorist, according to The New York Times.

But assume liberals are willing to sacrifice Second Amendment rights in order to prevent future mass shootings. What other parts of the Bill of Rights do they consider expendable?

Suspend the Third Amendment, and quarter toops in private homes on the chance of preventing a shooting? Get rid of the Fourth Amendment for a while, so anyone can be searched any time, for any reason, if it means stopping a school massacre? How about the right against self-incrimination? How can that be important if even one child’s life could be saved.

In a rare moment of clarity, even the American Civil Liberties Union is on the side of constitutional conservatives on this question. The ACLU opposed the 2016 version of the “Terrorist Firearms Prevention Act,” as The Daily Signal reported at the time.

It’s likely to oppose it again. If the liberals at the ACLU wouldn’t trust an administration run by their hero, Barack Obama, to wield that kind of control over citizens, it’s a good bet they would never consider it for a president they oppose the way they oppose Donald Trump.

It’s a sorry state of affairs when Americans can depend more on the ACLU to respect the Constitution than lawmakers of the Republican Party.

But McClintock’s story is one Republican story every American needs to hear.

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Joe has spent more than 30 years as a reporter, copy editor and metro desk editor in newsrooms in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Florida. He's been with Liftable Media since 2015.
Joe has spent more than 30 years as a reporter, copy editor and metro editor in newsrooms in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Florida. He's been with Liftable Media since 2015. Largely a product of Catholic schools, who discovered Ayn Rand in college, Joe is a lifelong newspaperman who learned enough about the trade to be skeptical of every word ever written. He was also lucky enough to have a job that didn't need a printing press to do it.