Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., left a Department of Homeland Security official without a response to a question regarding Pres. Obama’s proposed denial of Second Amendment rights to those on the No Fly List.
As reported by Western Journalism, following the attacks in San Bernardino earlier this month, Obama immediately called for banning those on the government’s No Fly List from being able to purchase firearms. The president said, “People can’t get on planes but those same people who we don’t allow to fly could go into a store right now in the United States and buy a firearm and there’s nothing that we can do to stop them. …That’s a law that needs to be changed.”
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Last Thursday, Gowdy questioned the Department of Homeland Security’s Deputy Assistant Secretary Kelli Ann Burriesci, who was appearing before a subcommittee of the House Oversight Committee, about what due process rights are afforded American citizens before they are placed on the list.
“What process is afforded a U.S. citizen, not someone who has overstayed a visa, not someone who crossed the border without permission, but an American citizen; what process is currently afforded an American citizen before they go on that list?” Gowdy asked. The vast majority of the nearly 300,000 people thought to be on the list do not live in the United States, according to Townhall. There are no more than 10,000 U.S. citizens on the No-Fly List.
After a long pause, Burriesci responded, “I’m sorry, um, there’s not a process afforded the citizen prior to getting on the list; there is a process should someone feel they are unduly placed on the list.”
“Yes, there is,” interjected Gowdy.
“When I say process, I’m actually using half of the term due process, which is a phrase we find in the Constitution–that you cannot deprive people of certain things without due process. So I understand Mr. Gude’s [liberal with Center for American Progress] idea, which is wait until your right has taken from you, and then you petition the government to get it back; I understand that’s his idea. My question is can you name another constitutional right that we have that is chilled, until you find out it’s chilled–and then you have to petition the government to get it back. Is that true with the First Amendment?”
“Sir, there are strict criteria before anybody…” Burriesci hesitantly began to reply.
Gowdy stopped her. “That is not my question, ma’am. My question is what process is afforded a United States citizen before that person’s constitutional right is infringed?”
The former federal prosecutor continued, “[President Obama] is fine with doing it with the Second Amendment. How about the First?”
Would the president support taking American citizens’ rights away, without out any form of due process first, to set up a website or a Google account or prevent them from joining a church if his administration placed them on the list, Gowdy wondered. The result is the burden being placed on citizens to prove they are worthy of those rights.
“How about not get a lawyer? How about the Sixth Amendment? How about you can’t get a lawyer until you petition the government to get off the list?” Gowdy asked, as he went forward with his line of questioning.
“Is there another constitutional right that we treat the same way for American citizens that we do the Second Amendment?” the congressman 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 ACLU has called for reform and more transparency in how the government decides who is on the secretive 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.
The ACLU wrote regarding the list:
The government has emphasized that it is making predictive judgments that people like our clients — who have never been charged let alone convicted of a crime — might nevertheless pose a threat…If the government is going to predict that Americans pose a threat and blacklist them, that’s even more reason for the fundamental safeguards we seek.
People in this country have due process rights. We want to see them respected.
h/t: Independent Journal