To the Editor,
The San Antonio Express News’ support for depriving law-abiding Americans of a constitutional right without due process based on a secret government “watch” list is both disappointing and disturbing. (“Suspects can’t fly, but can buy guns,” May 18, 2010). Those placed on the list have no idea why they might be on it, or how to get off of it should they happen to be one of the tens of thousands wrongfully listed. This should ring alarm bells within any individual or institution that values Constitutional protections.
Anyone attempting to purchase a firearm from a firearms retailer must undergo an FBI background check. The prospective buyer’s name is also cross-referenced against government “watch” lists. If there is a match, the FBI is contacted and provided an opportunity to determine any legal basis to deny the transfer of the firearm and to take whatever law enforcement measures they deem appropriate. This could include calling the firearms retailer and asking him to voluntarily decline to sell the firearm or to delay the sale so law enforcement can monitor the person, etc. These measures properly balance and respect both national security and the Second Amendment rights of law abiding Americans.
If those on the terrorist watch list are so dangerous why aren’t they in custody? Because being on an error-filled list for nothing more than arbitrary reasons doesn’t negate one’s Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights. It also doesn’t negate one’s Second Amendment rights.
Lawrence G. Keane, NSSF Senior Vice President and General Counsel