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Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) speaks at a news conference with a bipartisan group of senators on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., U.S., to unveil a compromise proposal on gun control measures, June 21, 2016. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas - RTX2HG4B
Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) speaks at a news conference with a bipartisan group of senators on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., U.S., to unveil a compromise proposal on gun control measures, June 21, 2016. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas – RTX2HG4B

In a procedural vote this afternoon the U.S. Senate voted on whether to continue considering Senate Amendment 4858, the proposal by Senator Susan Collins or Maine which would enact the “No Fly, No Buy” legislation. That’s bill the Democrats and others have been pushing in the wake of the Orlando terrorist attack. The vote was close, but some Republican Senators joined with the Dems to create the simple majority needed to allow the proposal to continue to be debated.

As some have pointed out, the FBI already has the power to deny NICS checks for individuals on the “terrorist watchlist” for up to three days. The proposed legislation by Senator Collins would strengthen that power by allowing the FBI to permanently deny any NICS checks for those on the “no fly” and “selectee” lists, a subset of the consolidated “terrorist watchlist.”

In an effort to provide at least some due process protections, Senator Collins has included a mechanism which would allow those denied firearms purchases to sue the government to have that decision reversed. If successful, any legal fees paid by the aggrieved party would be reimbursed by the government.

While the mechanism sounds promising, some have pointed out that this could have a chilling effect on those without the financial means to mount an effective legal defense. It places the burden on the citizen to start the process, requiring time and money to reverse a decision made somewhere in the bureaucracy of the U.S. Government without much initial oversight.

Another issue that has been pointed out is that starting in January the FBI temporarily halted processing NICS denial appeals. Citizens who tried to purchase a firearm and were denied could still petition the FBI to have that reversed, but the FBI claims that it doesn’t have enough staff to actually investigate those petitions. If the NICS denial appeal process remains the same those who find themselves denied firearms sales due to their inclusion on the reduced “terrorist watchlist” might have access to due process protections in theory only.

Senate Republicans introduced an amendment earlier this week which would have had the same impact — prohibiting those on the “terrorist watchlist” from purchasing guns — but would have placed the burden on the Government to prove their case before the NICS denial was permanent. That measure received a majority of the votes but fell short of the necessary 60 votes due to the Senate Democrats rejection of the plan.

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  1. In an effort to insert some due process protections Senator Collins has included a mechanism which would allow those denied firearms sales to sue the government to have that decision reversed. If successful, any legal fees paid by the aggrieved party would be paid by the government.

    Due process comes first, and only then can the government deny otherwise constitutionally protected rights and liberties. The government must respect due process when placing names on the list; otherwise, constitutionally protected due process rights have already been violated.

    Anyone who fails to understand this concept needs to take a basic civics course – if the constitution is even taught anymore.

    • If the Constitution even matters anymore.

      “Due Process” is a bad word to the Progressives, and they’ve openly admitted this.

      WE have been made into the bad guys for even suggesting something like “due process” should be considered in the fight against “gun violence.”

      Seriously…the comments on Twitter last night on the “sit-in” were quite telling.

    • Chip, due process does not always come first. That’s why people are arrested before they are tried and not after.

      Despite that, this bill still sucks.

        • You’re confusing “arrested” for “convicted”.

          What’s the old saying? You can beat the rap, but you can’t beat the ride.

        • Ralph, isn’t that a bit of semantics though?

          Can’t we use as a working definition for due process as any barrier the .gov has to surpass to execute it’s will on a citizen?

          I mean, I take it there is a formal, legal definition of ‘due process,’ but in comparison, what is the spirit of the term?

  2. Why do I get the feeling our “friends” the Repubs are going to roll over and take this “compromise” because they’re a bunch of morons who gave into the b!tch fit the House Dems threw yesterday…

    • Because Mitch wants to protect squishy repubs who got elected in 2010 and did nothing to stop Obama and are now up for reelection. The house isn’t considering any of this crap, right? So even if it passes it dies like the immigration bill did, right?

  3. Sue the government for your right .
    Hehehe , that’s funny now .
    So if the DC whackos decide that little old me should be on a no fly list ( for now ) because I have commented on some discussion about guns or perhaps denied ‘ man made global warming ‘ openly .
    ……………….. and when I cry foul , some other DC whacko simply points me to Joe Schmo attorney .

    • Well…. That Stasi lady from the State Dept wanted every member of the NRA put on the terrorist watch list….5million simultaneous appeals to get off the list would clog up the appeal mechanism and effectively make an appeal meaninglessness…… No deal. Stop this nonsense bill.

      • She wasn’t from the State Department. She was just a reporter that wanted the State Department to label the NRA as a terrorist organization. She was from the NY Daily News, same rag as good ‘ol PTSD suffering Cuntsman.

  4. Collins ( r)ino — Senate Amendment MAY get another vote as S-4578. Toomey ( r ) ino , said he had a bill as well , no # yet. — Tell McConnel – No More Votes , or they will SNEAK something through. ( 202 ) 225-3121
    Gun Owners Of America outlines MAJOR flaws with the bill .

    • All props to GOA, but there is only ONE flaw in this bill – it is UNCONSTITUTIONAL and in violation of at least two amendments contained in the Bill of Rights.

  5. If the “compromise” was simply “enforce existing guns laws” I’d be good with that.
    Otherwise, not so much.
    Sen Ayotte, my Senator, has done everything she could during her term to prove she’s not the conservative she campaigned as. My vote was wasted.

  6. It is somewhat humorous that the Govt creates the problem, Then they tell us how they are going to fix the problem. and how we should pat them on the back. Vote them all out, except Ted

  7. The bigger question is this, let’s say the democrat’s dream bill passes…would it stand up to SCOTUS review?

    • You would think that the Supreme Court would be extremely protective of due process as outlined in the 5th and 14th amendments. No due process means that we don’t need the courts. But with 2nd amendment not being treated like rest and the liberal justices voting in mindless partisan lockstep… things don’t look good for those who believe in liberty and justice.

  8. Since this bill provides payment by the government to the lawyers of successful appellants, I expect that there will be plenty of lawyers who will take these cases. I know that if I was still practicing, I’d be all over it.

    If I’m correct about that, then the complaint that this bill would hurt most those unable to afford counsel is probably incorrect.

    And so what. A bad law is a bad law no matter who it affects.

    • In the immortal words of Han Solo, “Don’t get cocky” 😉

      What are the odds this appeal process will be a criminal trial, something required by due process? Zero? I guaran-damn-tee you it will be treated as a simple administrative hearing, where the burden of proof for .gov could be as low as “an overabundance of caution” for such a hearing to simply wave a hand at you, denying your appeal in the face of scant or no evidence. In light of that, you’d be on the hook for your own legal costs, even if .gov had no real case against you.

      Due process means a criminal trial … discovery … depositions … compulsory witness testimony …

        • Um … why, yes. Yes it is. That’s the whole point. If “criminal trial” seems absurd in this case, it’s precisely because no crime is even alleged to have been committed, much less an arrest made, evidence gathered, witness testimony gathered under deposition, etc. In order to be deprived of your Constitutional rights, it is supposed to happen only after all that I just mentioned … “due process”. Including a trial … right to face your accuser, right to legal counsel, trial by jury of peers, etc. Under those conditions there is a threshold of evidence … “beyond all reasonable doubt”. Remember, they’re not fining you (administrative) or suing you for damages (civil). This is depriving you of a Constitutional right, therefore it would, necessarily, be a criminal trial. To be Constitutional, that is. My point being, it’s not so open-and-shut that if you can demonstrate there’s no “there” there you will win and get your legal bills paid for. If this is an administrative hearing, it can come down to the whim of whomever hears your appeal.

    • This is the process they already put vets through who get crapped on by the VA. About $70k to go to trial to get taken off the NICS list for ptsd or financial counseling. Ostensibly congress says they like and support vets, and they let them die in year long secret waiting lines for suicide counseling and surgery. What makes anyone think they’ll treat regular citizens any better?

  9. This is gross. These people aren’t even hiding their disdain for our civil liberties anymore and these sellout GOPe leaders have proven once again that they don’t represent us or Liberty.

  10. Demobrats to the People: “We’re going to shove a six foot spike up your asses.”

    The People to Demobrats: Oh, no, you’re not!

    Demobrats to the People: Okay, we’ll compromise and only shove it halfway up your asses.

  11. So basically the Dems really don’t give a crap about keeping guns out of the hands of terrorists. They are going after your 5th ammendment as well as your 2nd ammendment rights and will not be satisfied unless they have a bill that violates both. Got it.

  12. Email your senators people! Take 5 minutes to send your senators a message and tell them to fight for your constitutional rights. I’m so sick of hearing my friends and coworkers bitch about the state of our politics and then I find out they aren’t registered to vote or they have never penned a letter to anyone in office. Let us be heard!

  13. civil war
    Definition of civil war for Students
    : a war between opposing groups of citizens of the same country

  14. One of my Senators is up for reelection this year Jonny Isakson is a bit squishy. I hate the fact he used the phrase “common sense gun laws” in his last reply to my email on this subject.


  15. Get involved. Everybody. We can’t leave this in the hands of our so called republicants. Its like giving in to a child who throws a tempertantrum at the store cause they didnt get a Butterfinger. Is that the way you raise your kids? Dumbocrats will take the inch and turn it into a mile. Extremely childlike.

    Politics are extremely sad these days…

  16. Secret lists? Your papers, please……better get out the Nazi arm bands and send them to every congress critter who votes yes to anything resembling this bill.


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