A set of companion measures introduced in the New York state legislature would ban those whose names appear on the terror watch list from obtaining or renewing a firearms permit. The list is maintained by the Terrorist Screening Center within the Federal Bureau of Investigation, according to this story on guns.com.
Proposal A.8693, proposed by Assemblyman Tom Abinanti (D-Greenburgh/Mt. Pleasant), requires those being vetted for a permit in New York first have their identities checked against the combined terror watch list as part of their background check of a license to carry, possess, or repair firearms. Since a permit is required to own most types of guns in the state, an individual would have to relinquish his or her firearms if a permit renewal were refused.
State Sen. Rob Ortt (R,C,I-North Tonawanda) has joined with the regional gun rights group, Shooters Committee on Political Education, to rally against the legislation.
“Citizens have no notice and limited recourse if they are improperly placed on the list,” said Ortt in a joint statement. “It’s annoying to be told you’re unable to enter an aircraft because your name is on a federal no-fly list managed by Washington bureaucrats, and it appears unconstitutional for state police to show up at your house to confiscate your (firearms) because your name appears on such a list.”
There are many ways an individual could wind up on the no-fly list, because the government can add people without adjudication of any kind, and without notifying the person. According to this story on mentalfloss.com, of the more than 47,000 on the no-fly list as of 2013, about 800 don’t know they’re on it.
“If you’re not safe to fly, you’re not safe to have a gun—it’s common sense,” said Abinanti in the story. “This ‘terror gap’ poses a direct threat to the safety and security of all New Yorkers.”
What are some other ways you can get on the list, other than being suspected of terrorism? Travel to certain countries, making critical comments (as did former Princeton University professor Walter Murphy, who gave a high-profile lecture critical of then-president George W. Bush), or having a name similar to someone already on the list.
According to this story on dailymail.com, you can be grounded for sending controversial Tweets or simply because someone made a mistake on a form. Mistakes happen, but there is no appeals process in place for people who have been added to the no-fly list in error, often resulting in long, costly legal battles.