The Bill of Rights (courtesy constitutioncenter.org)

The New York Times is virulently anti-gun rights. Every day they publish a news article or screed attacking Americans’ natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms. So Jeffrey Kahn’s article A ‘No Buy’ List for Guns Is a Bad Idea is a breath of fresh air in the fetid swamp of their civilian disarmament jihad. It goes a little something like this:

According to an estimate provided by the director of the Terrorist Screening Center in 2014, about 9 out of 10 identities on that list are neither United States citizens nor lawful residents. Thus, they are already largely unable, or not permitted, to buy guns here . . .

Of course, you might think that eliminating even just one gun sale to a suspected terrorist is worth the effort. But that assumes these lists should be trusted in the first place. And they shouldn’t be.

The threats that the terrorist watch list and no-fly list pose to civil liberties — indeed, to the very idea of citizenship — are enormous. Watch lists are designed to circumvent the protections of due process and the separation of powers. They subvert a principle of our free society: Our rights aren’t held on loan until a government official labels us suspect, at which point they are easily stripped away; our rights are ours unless and until a court concludes that we have violated the law.

This is not the case with a watch list, which relies on the predictive judgments of anonymous analysts predisposed to err on the side of caution. Their job is to stop something horrible from happening. Why would they be inclined to err the other way? Their decisions require no judicial approval, and their standard for labeling someone a suspected terrorist to be watch-listed is very low, a mere “reasonable suspicion.”

Pinch me. I’m dreaming. Not only because The Grey Lady is defending the Constitution of the United States but also because Mr. Kahn’s flying in the face of public support for a gun control measure. qe.edu:

People on the government’s terrorist watch list should not be allowed by purchase guns, American voters say 86 – 12 percent, including 83 – 14 percent among voters in households where there is a gun, according to a Quinnipiac University National poll.

Mr. Kahn has his rhetorical hands in the air like he just don’t care.

Don’t expect a no-gun list to be the stopping point. We already have a no-fly list, and there is also a no-maritime list (because the destruction of a cruise liner at sea is no less terrifying than terrorism in the skies). A suicide bomber in a sports stadium could spawn a “no Super Bowl” list. A “no X” list will always tempt lawmakers. But rights lose their value when they can be emptied of meaning by an easily affixed terrorist label.

Supporters dismiss the costs of watch lists as inconveniences, trade-offs warranted by the protection they provide us from a deadly rampage. Such sentiments — typically advanced by those unlikely to bear the burden of being labeled a suspected terrorist — trivialize the liberty lost.

“Experience should teach us,” Justice Louis D. Brandeis wrote in 1928, “to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government’s purposes are beneficent.”

Needless to say, many commentators underneath the NYT post are appalled at the idea of their favorite news source torpedoing a popular gun control measure. Bob:

Blah, blah, blah Mr. Kahn, your article forgot to mention one thing: if we don’t like the law blocking suspected terrorists from obtaining deadly weapons, we can always get rid of it.

So let’s try it for a while and if the spectre of suspected terrorists being unable to slaughter scores of Americans is too much for you and your NRA pals to deal with we can change the law again.

We did it with Prohibition and the Earth didn’t stop spinning so let’s try it with suspected terrorists seeking to slaughter Americans. Deal?

No deal. Am I really at a point where I hope the Democrats kill a Republican gun control measure– no matter how many “safeguards” they add to their No Fly, No Buy bill? Yes. Yes I am.

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42 Responses to New York Times: No-Fly, No Buy for Suspected Terrorists Is a Bad Idea

    • I see what you did there!!!
      I am against it as well. I think when it is brought to light it will fall flat on it’s face. Even the FBI is against it.
      All a would be terrorists need to do it try to buy a gun to see if they are watched. It defeats the entire purpose of the list.

    • Aside from the fact that it’s “Khan” (like Genghis) not “Kahn.” (But I see that mistake a LOT.)

  1. “Am I really at a point where I hope the Democrats kill a Republican gun control measure– no matter how many “safeguards” they add to their No Fly, No Buy bill? Yes. Yes I am.”

    Agree. This is like when the NRA and the ACLU cooperated to challenge Bloomberg’s “Stop and Frisk” policy. Strange bedfellows.

      • No surprise, the NRA *loves* them some background check. After all, they want to make sure only upstanding Americans can have guns. (Their opposition to UBC last time around was an anomaly, and they had no leg to stand on, given that they were and are perfectly fine with background checks under some circumstances.)

        At least, once you clear their bar for owning a gun, they don’t mind what kind of gun it is. Much.

  2. We did it with Prohibition and the Earth didn’t stop spinning so let’s try it with suspected terrorists seeking to slaughter Americans. Deal?

    Right, because Prohibition only created modern American organized crime and the first wide-ranging Federal law enforcement agency. Not to mention much murder and misery. So let’s roll those dice again!

    • Right? I mean, you’d think that “Bob” would have taken a moment- just one moment- to think about it objectively before forming an opinion. People are so determined to prove themselves right that they fear and refuse to take even the most blatantly obvious points into consideration.

      Nevermind the fact that if this were passed, it would NEVER, EVER be repealed. You think the government would ever dream of giving up that kind of power out of “respect” for the people? The thought alone is laughable.

  3. Um, Robert – this is a piece by one contributor to the Op-Ed pages. It’s not an Editorial. It’s not the position of the newspaper itself. I suppose it’s nice that it was published at all, but let’s not go overboard here.

    • No doubt allowed through by an editor who was already anticipating leaving or being let go.

      Funniest thing about the “Bob” comment – the automatic assumption that if ANYTHING pro-gun appears the New York Times has now been subverted by the NRA!

  4. If someone is too dangerous to buy a gun, get on an airplane or board a ship then they are too dangerous to be free in public. So, go to court and have them stripped of their rights though due process and incarcerated/deported.

    What’s that? Oh, you don’t have actual evidence that they’re too dangerous for any of these things? Well, then… shut the fuck up!

  5. The terror watch list no-fly no buy would not have effected the 2nd or 4th amendment.

    There were clauses in the bills( If they had passed) laws that would have citizens to go through a process to get their rights back.

    But it was stomped down by the NRA.

    The NRA continues it’s terror of brainwashing and selling weapons to people who shouldn’t have them.

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  6. New York Times: No-Fly, No Buy for Suspected Terrorists Is a Bad Idea, But No Guns for Everyone is Commonsense!

    FIFY

  7. It is all about the guns. Gun ARE dangerous. I support the 2A but, guns are the problem. Ar15’s are bad.

    There was a lower sitting in a case all lonely. It hypnotized me I am telling ya. I bought it, then had to but more stuff to build it. Now I have built 2. They are evil, the way they look at you. Was in a LGS the other day just to get some boxes of ammo. And what do you know I bought another gun. They have a way of making me open my wallet. They are steel wizards. Spelling their magic on me. I just wanted a 22 plinker one time and BAM magic, walked out with a .357

    They have taken over my house, I built a floor lamp out of an old 1910 12 guage. I just got finished building a desk lamp out of a non firing Thompson 45 built the WWII ammo box it sits on. And wouldn’t you know it it has a hidden drawer and inside is a GUN. They are evil. Maybe I am also. But its their fault I tell you.

    • Hehehehehehehhe. You Sir, have been consumed by the evil power of the “Lure of the gun”, Bwahahahahaha (ala Vincent Price rip)

    • I feel your pain. We have to sleep in the garage now because our guns have taken over most of the house. Oh, the humanity!

  8. A broken clock is still a broken clock, you just have the opportunity to give it the benefit of the doubt two too many times a day.

    Stick it NYT, NY, N.E. . . .

  9. Jeff Kahn was my professor at SMU Law for Constitutional Law I and II. He’s a brilliant, well-spoken man, but I fear he’s done nothing but cast pearls before swine with his NY Times piece. The comment section there truly makes me think our nation is not long for this earth. It’s astonishing how many commenters value their enumerated rights so little that they are practically begging the government to curtail those rights based on secret lists and mere suspicion of wrongdoing.

    • Sometimes people have to choose — do they want their enumerated rights, or do they want their free sh!t. Free sh!t often wins. Especially among children.

    • When people who actually cherish their unalienable rights speak out, even some gun owners try to silence them; using terms like moron, stupid, idealistic, absolutist, radical, etc. But the dirty little truth is that once we start violating rights, the die is cast. It will eventually catch up with us.

      For example, infringing on the rights of former felons to keep and bear arms after they have completed their prison sentences and are once again back in public. This is akin to watch lists in that the present and future exercise of their rights are infringed based upon a suspicion that they may commit further crimes even though there is no concrete evidence that they will. You want tyranny? This is how we get tyranny. Step by step. Drip by drip. Group by group.

      This country is broken. It will never be mended. It will either slide united into greater tyranny or it will break up and there will be at least a glimmer that the light of liberty that America once was will shine brightly again through one or more of the fragments. The longer it takes for this to happen the less likely anything salvageable will emerge.

    • The value of that article isn’t convincing the anti advocates, it’s letting them look stupid, mean, and dishonest. People will remember that.

      The aeticle helps. The comments help more.

  10. With Prohibition, we enacted and the states ratified the 18th Amendment. It was fully constitutional.

    The no-fly list is not constitutional. It isn’t even a little bit constitutional.

  11. Sure, keep pushing, “Bob”. Like it or not, day by day, we’re getting ever closer to living the events of “Unintended Consequences”. I don’t think you will be a big fan of the outcome.

    You clearly fail to understand the dangers of backing (armed) people into corners. But I suspect you will come to learn (the hard way).

  12. Sweet Lord in heaven, it’s terrifying to know you’re among only 15% of the population that still favors sanity in government…guess I should just establish a hermitage somewhere remote, and try to ride out my life as best I am able while the rest of you devour each other. Unlike the background checks, you can believe that 15% number; it seems like a good third to even half of proud ‘gun people’ can’t figure out that this will be used against them if they ever even think of stepping out of line, and of course the rest of the Republicans and nearly all of the Democrats eagerly clamor for a tighter leash. I guess all we like-minded lovers of freedom can do is try to segregate ourselves into sturdy enclaves & keep the flame alive as long as we are allowed to.

    • Some of us do that. Most of the people I’ve known for decades who jealously guarded liberty (and are still breathing) have retreated into their own strongholds.

    • “can’t figure out that this will be used against them if they ever even think of stepping out of line”

      No kidding. It takes very little imagination to foresee some crazed, middle aged white Presbyterian shooting up a mall, immediately followed by a president like Osama declaring that just ANYONE might be a terrorist these days, and putting the entire nation on the terrorist watch list. No more guns, ever, for anyone. FINALLY! Mission accomplished, aren’t I sly?

  13. “Supporters dismiss the costs of watch lists as inconveniences, trade-offs warranted by the protection they provide us from a deadly rampage.”

    Yet that is the exact same logic they use to pimp their desire for universal background checks, since that creates a list for our (non) benevolent government to confiscate guns…

  14. I know many people in favor of no restrictions on guns think all liberals are uniformly in favor of taking away guns from everybody. However, there are many of us, like Jeffrey Kahn, who think this kind of “No Buy” list is a terrible idea, especially under the current questionable way that these lists are created, Even many of us liberals who favor increased background checks oppose “No Buy” lists. Some of us also oppose banning specific types of guns. Our objective in supporting increased, universal background checks on a uniform basis nationally is to reduce the potential for guns to get into the hands of irresponsible, criminal, or mentally incapable people. We know it won’t eliminate that happening, but reducing it significantly from happening is a worthwhile objective. We also realize that it is a dream idea at present, considering the current state of the background check databases available, which have more holes than a slice of Swiss cheese when it comes to the quality, accuracy, completeness, and reliability of the data. That is why most of us are pushing for better data as part of the background check process. However, that “better data” is not these kinds of questionable government created lists that have people added to them based on rumor and accusation, often without proof, and always without the individual being given a chance to defend himself/herself. At least some of us are not interested in ramming through ill conceived legislation, such as the New York No Buy List law, just as a knee jerk reaction to an emotionally charged event.

    • “Our objective in supporting increased, universal background checks on a uniform basis nationally is to reduce the potential for guns to get into the hands of irresponsible, criminal, or mentally incapable people”

      Thinking is good, but I believe you need to do more. Rarely (in several decades) has the number of convictions for violating gun laws by attempting to purchase a firearm while prohibited exceeded 20. If it is in fact catching thousands, then they are deliberately not being prosecuted. I suspect it is actually catching vey few. But the point is, how much does it COST? I suspect billions upon billions for a law which accomplishes essentially nothing except inconveniencing normal people involved in lawful commerce. If prohibited persons are detected attempting to purchase firearms and are not arrested immediately, they will probably have purchased a gun by the end of the day, out of a burglar’s trunk or whatever. Which translates to “the law accomplished nothing at monumental cost!”

      You recognize that the list currently has many flaws. You apparently believe that it should somehow be “improved”, just forget about the cost. After that, everyone denied a gun will still have one by sundown, unless incarcerated. Why not start with PROSECUTIONS, rather than more moronic restrictions? None of the 48 mass shootings since Columbine would have been affected by UBC, why expand it, and how much would expansion cost? The only thing which UBC can possibly accomplish is to justify a national firearm registry, without which UBC is meaningless. After that we can prosecute innocent citizens for selling a gun to their cousins, while still not prosecuting the damn CRIMINALS! And, the only thing a registry can actually accomplish is to facilitate door-to-door confiscation/civil war. Otherwise, please describe how it could do anything else!

  15. “Experience should teach us,” Justice Louis D. Brandeis wrote in 1928, “to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government’s purposes are beneficent.”
    That is an understatement.

  16. The No Fly – No Buy secret list has endless possibilities. If I was Obonzo, I could just have my minions start with organizational electronic lists of all the groups I do not like; and put all the members on it. I could get all of those lists because a Federal Court has ruled that data on computers is not protected by the Constitution. Hitlery, DiFi, and Pisslousy would have an orgasm! High fives all around!

  17. “Am I really at a point where I hope the Democrats kill a Republican gun control measure– no matter how many “safeguards” they add to their No Fly, No Buy bill? Yes. Yes I am.”

    I’m against any and all gun control bills, no matter who is behind them. It’s an easy answer for me. No. Always no.

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