Following the Paris terror attacks, a trickle turned to a stream, which turned to a torrent of Democrats and Democrat surrogates attacking the NRA for continuing to oppose the inclusion of the no-fly list in the prohibited categories for background checks in the United States.
And although the NRA has spent a decade explaining that their opposition rests on the fact that the no-fly list is imprecise, and just about anyone could end up on it by happenstance–just like the late Senator Ted Kennedy did in 2004, according to The Washington Post—Democrats and anti-gun publications are ganging up in hopes of forcing the gun rights giant to cower down and say uncle.
So here is an interesting point–in July 2014, a time when the concerted attack against the NRA was at a lull, the Huffington Post ran a column highlighting how imprecise the no-fly list is and showing seven ways citizens can end up on the list. And whether they intended to or not, the HuffPo succeeded in making the NRA’s point.
According to the Huff Po, there are “7 ways that you (yes, you) could end up on a terrorist watch list.” They are:
1. “You could raise ‘reasonable suspicion’ that you’re involved in terrorism. ‘Irrefutable evidence or concrete facts’ are not required.”
2. “You could post something on Facebook or Twitter that raises ‘reasonable suspicion.'”
3. “Or somebody else could just think you’re a potential terror threat.”
4. ” You could be a little terrorist-ish, at least according to someone.”
5. “Or you could just know someone terrorist-y, maybe.”
6. “And if you’re in a ‘category’ of people determined to be a threat, your threat status could be ‘upgraded’ at the snap of a finger.”
7. “Finally, you could just be unlucky.”
The HuffPo elaborated on point 7 by explaining that the process of adding and removing people from the no-fly list is as flawed and “imperfect as the intelligence officials tasked with doing it.” Thus, “There have been reports of ‘false positives,’ or instances in which an innocent passenger has been subject to treatment under a no-fly or selectee list because his or her name was similar to that of another individual. In one highly publicized incident in 2005, a 4-year-old boy was nearly barred from boarding a plane to visit his grandmother.”
The NRA could not have said it better. And this is exactly why expanding background checks to include the no-fly list would be a huge mistake; a mistake that would result in innocent citizens forfeiting their Second Amendments rights for being inadvertently included in the no-fly database.
Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.