Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump suggested on Wednesday that he may be open to denying those placed on U.S. government’s secretive no-fly list the right to purchase guns.
President Obama renewed his call this week, which he first made last fall, for Congress to pass a law empowering the federal government to implement this change.
Many conservatives oppose the move because of the lack of due process and transparency involved in the no-fly list.
Trump tweeted on Wednesday:
I will be meeting with the NRA, who has endorsed me, about not allowing people on the terrorist watch list, or the no fly list, to buy guns.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 15, 2016
The National Rifle Association quickly tweeted back:
Happy to meet @realdonaldtrump. Our position is no guns for terrorists—period. Due process & right to self-defense for law-abiding Americans
— NRA (@NRA) June 15, 2016
The NRA followed with another tweet explaining its views on Americans on the list being denied the right to buy guns.
— NRA (@NRA) June 15, 2016
The statement reads, in part:
The NRA’s position on this issue has not changed. The NRA believes that terrorists should not be allowed to purchase or possess firearms, period. Anyone on a terror watchlist who tries to buy a gun should be thoroughly investigated by the FBI and the sale delayed while the investigation is ongoing.
If an investigation uncovers evidence of terrorist activity or involvement, the government should be allowed to immediately go to court, block the sale, and arrest the terrorist. At the same time, due process protections should be put in place that allow law-abiding Americans who are wrongly put on a watchlist to be removed.
As reported by Western Journalism, Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., questioned an Obama administration official in December about exactly what due process those placed on the no-fly list are afforded.
“Sir, there are strict criteria before anybody…,” Kelli Ann Burriesci, deputy assistant secretary of homeland security, hesitantly began to reply.
Gowdy stopped her. “That is not my question, ma’am,” he said. “My question is what process is afforded a United States citizen before that person’s constitutional right is infringed?”
He continued, “[President Obama] is fine with doing it with the Second Amendment. How about the First?”
“Is there another constitutional right that we treat the same way for American citizens that we do the Second Amendment?” the congressman also wanted to know. “Can you think of one?”
An awkward pause followed. Gowdy asked again, “Can you think of one?”
Finally, Burriesci meekly responded, “I don’t have an answer for you, sir.”
Townhall’s Katie Pavlich pointed out that even the liberal American Civil Liberties Union has called for reform and more transparency in how the government decides who is on the no-fly list, noting the danger of and numerous real world examples of Americans wrongfully losing their rights.
As reported by Western Journalism, the Obama administration placed Weekly Standard writer and Fox News contributor Stephen Hayes on the list for a period of time.
Trump received high praise in the fall from gun rights advocates when he released his gun plan, entitled “Protecting Our Second Amendment Rights Will Make America Great Again.” Among other proposals, it called for a national right to carry and modernization of the national background checks system.
Trump also stated his opposition to gun and high capacity magazine bans. “Gun and magazine bans are a total failure. That’s been proven every time it’s been tried. Opponents of gun rights try to come up with scary sounding phrases like ‘assault weapons,’ ‘military-style weapons’ and ‘high capacity magazines’ to confuse people. … The government has no business dictating what types of firearms good, honest people are allowed to own,” according to the Trump plan.
The NRA endorsed the presidential candidate in May.