Via a friend on Facebook I came across this article advocating that people on certain government watch lists be denied the right to own firearms. I will add that the friend who posted this fell for the anti-gunner bullshit and thought this was a good idea to which I pointed out why it wasn’t. I figured it would be worthwhile to bring up my arguments against this whole idea.
First my friend pointed out that people on some government watch lists aren’t allowed to fly and thus the government obviously doesn’t care about being consistent with rights. This seems to be a common argument made by those who wish to prohibit some people from exercising a constitutionally guaranteed right. In legal terms the important thing to note is the fact that the right to keep and bear arms is guaranteed by the United States Constitution while flying on a plane is not. The truth of the matter is airplanes are owned by private companies and thus they can deny you their service for whatever reason they desire (unless legally prohibited of course). There is no legal protection guaranteeing you the right to get on a plane and fly from one place to another. Thus comparing the right to own firearms to the ability to fly is like comparing apples to oranges. With that said I don’t believe the government should have the ability to interfere with an exchange between a private airliner and its customers but that’s a whole different argument.
The second major problem with taking rights from people on government watch lists is the simple fact no due process is required to place a name on any of the government’s lists. A jury trial isn’t required to get placed on the list just some bureaucrat in Washington D.C. claiming to have evidence that potentially ties you to a terrorist organization… maybe. In all seriousness we don’t know what criteria is considered before putting somebody on a government watch list because that information is kept secret for reasons of “national security.” There very well could be a criteria that says somebody wearing two different colored socks at the same time makes somebody a potential terrorist. Thus those who advocating barring people on a government watch list from owning firearm are advocating the arbitrary removal of constitutionally protected rights. Hell senators (who I argue rightfully belong on these lists) have had their names placed on some of these lists.
But the article I linked to has another twist:
In a video released [June 3rd] Al Qaeda spokesman Adam Gadahn encourages terrorists to use American gun shows to arm themselves for potential Mumbai-style attacks. Gadahn’s video laid out a new tactic for Al Qaeda to continue their murderous terrorist agenda:
This whole argument is another scheme to end person to person sales in the United States under the guise of “terrorism.” Let’s consider two points here; first members of Al Qaeda seem to have the ability to obtain fully automatic AK-style rifles so why would they even bother trying to obtain semi-automatic rifles and second what right does the government have in interfering with a voluntary transaction between two individuals? The government claims the power to regulate firearm sales because such sales fall under the category of interstate commerce. This criteria is completely meaningless when two people in the same state decide to make a transaction where one sells his or her property and the other buys it for a mutually agreed price. If the government can interfere with the private sale of firearms why not the private sale of automobiles? I’m sure Al Qaeda members would be far less effective if they were unable to travel from one point to another via vehicle. Shouldn’t the government require similar background checks for automobile sales?
The bottom line is there are no good arguments for ending legal private transactions between individuals. Al Qaeda isn’t going to flood to American gun shows to obtain firearms as they have access to far better firearms for cheaper prices in the nations they operate. Why the Hell would somebody come to America to obtain an semi-automatic AR-15 when they could just stay in their country and buy fully automatic AK-47s and string missile launchers? Likewise nobody in this country should have their rights taken away just because their name appears on a secret list controlled solely by government agents.