Connecticut, once a state rich in gun culture and manufacturing, will likely block anyone on a federal government terrorist watchlist from obtaining a firearms permit.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy announced Thursday that he will sign an executive order blocking those individuals from exercising their constitutional rights.
Opponents of the measure have cited the fact that people can be arbitrarily added to federal watch lists for a variety of reasons, without due process. The reasons for which are government secrets, along with the lists themselves, and if you’re added to one, you don’t find out about it until you try to fly somewhere. Also, since it’s run by the federal government, mistakes are often made, according to this story posted by courant.com.
“The governor knows full well that law-abiding Americans who pose no threat to national security are mistakenly on the terror watch list,” said Jennifer Baker, the NRA’s director of public affairs. “The NRA’s only objective is to ensure that law-abiding American citizens who were mistakenly put on the list are afforded their constitutional right to due process. Due process is a pillar of the American justice system and cannot be discarded for a talking point that makes people feel safer.”
The American Civil Liberties Union is also challenging the constitutionality of the no-fly list, arguing in federal court that standards for inclusion in the database are vague, shrouded in secrecy, and prone to error.
“The ACLU of Connecticut has severe reservations about the reliability and constitutionality of government watch lists like the no-fly list,” said Stephen Glassman, the group’s executive director, in the story. “While we acknowledge that the governor’s intentions are admirable, the government’s watch list system is notorious for including innocent people, and the ACLU was in court this week fighting to fix the inadequate process for people wrongly blacklisted on the no-fly list to clear their names.”
Scott Wilson, president of the Connecticut Citizens Defense League, had this to say:
“Gov. Malloy is planning to take, what is in our view, unconstitutional executive action that would prohibit firearms purchases and seize firearms of individuals who have not been indicted or convicted for any crime,” Wilson said in the story. “While we are all concerned about terrorism, this approach is very un-American and shameful.”
Courant.com also ran this op-ed piece from its sister media outlet, the Los Angeles Times on December 7, with the headline: “Should people on the no-fly list be able to buy guns? Yes.”
“What could possibly the the argument for allowing a terrorist suspect to buy a semiautomatic weapon?” (President Obama) asked.
“When he puts it that way, it does sound pretty stupid. But, in fact, there are several strong arguments against the proposal.
“One problem is that the people on the no-fly list (as well as the broader terror watch list from which it is drawn) have not been convicted of doing anything wrong. They are merely suspected of having terror connections. And the United States doesn’t generally punish or penalize people unless and until they have been charged and convicted of a crime. In this case, the government would be infringing on a right guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution — and yes, like it or not, the right to buy a gun is a constitutional right according to the U.S. Supreme Court.
“How certain is it that the people on the two lists are dangerous? Well, we don’t really know, because the no-fly-list and the broader watch list are government secrets.” People are not notified when they are put on, nor why, and they usually don’t discover they have been branded suspected terrorists until they try to travel somewhere.”
A federal measure similar to the proposal in Connecticut was proposed by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) last week. It was rejected by the Senate, but resuscitated by Obama in his Oval Office address Sunday evening.