Legality of using terrorist watch lists to deny firearms tranfers to otherwise eligible individuals

Continuing the discussion from Every time there's a mass shooting, gun execs & investors gloat about future earnings:

Are you sure that is because Congress is “unwilling to vote against gun rights”, and not because voting to make sure people on terrorist watch lists (No-Fly or the less selective “watch” lists) can’t get guns is pretty much the worst idea ever? Not to mention unconstitutional.

The most likely outcome of voting to make sure people on the No-Fly List can’t get guns would be the court determining that not only is using the No-Fly list to deny firearms unconstitutional, but likely also overturning the No-Fly feature as well.

At least that would be consistent. Isn’t restricting a person’s ability to travel at least as fundamental a violation of their civil rights as restricting their ability to buy certain kinds of weapons?

As it stands now the government’s position can be summed up thusly:

GOVERNMENT: “No, you can’t get on an airplane—even after a thorough security screening. We have reason to believe you may be plotting an act of mass murder.”
TERROR SUSPECT: “Well can I at least buy some guns then?”
GOVERNMENT: “Oh, of course. Have all you want. We’re not tyrants.


that result might actually make it worthwhile for congress to go ahead and do it.


This is why I’m a big fan of the ‘make a co-operative corporation designed to act as a personal civilization for people to live in’ approach. There’s no point in even TRYING to make the nation model work anymore. A generic one-size-fits-all-and-everyone-has-to-agree solution is silly, and we have lots of data points indicating failure.

When you stand back and look at it, this is kind of a batshit crazy conversation…and those of us who are willing to act like civilized adults would have a society of choice with lots of convenient ways to separate into groups where everyone’s on the same page.

(Be sure to double-check before assuming something’s not covered in the design or I and those who’ve helped beat the idea to death presumably missed…it’s possible but not likely if it’s something that quickly comes to mind)

You would think, but no. The right to fly on planes is not an explicit constitutional right, unlike the right to bear arms, which is. I’m thinking this is a little backwards, but I suspect that the right to travel was so fundamentally, stupidly obvious they didn’t think it needed to be enumerated as something the government couldn’t prohibit based on mere suspicion…


Freedom of movement was recognized as a fundamental Constitutional right by the Supreme Court as early as 1823.


Movement, yes, but not the right to any specific mode of transportation, even though restricting the right to air travel (and now the TSA also delves into inspecting people on trains, buses and cars) may effectively curtail a person’s freedom of travel.

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Yeah, Travel just doesn’t have a massive lobby that’s amazing at scaring people with so many politicians in their pockets.

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OK, but by that same logic we wouldn’t be violating someone’s right to bear arms by banning them from buying firearms as long as we allowed them to have a wooden club.


I think you could make that argument, sort of, or more more likely, the opposite. Why are states allowed to ban reduced lethality weapons like tasers if they can’t ban guns? That is really backwards, and IIRC a state supreme court found that to do so is unreasonable.

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President Obama, in his prime time presidential address, has once again called for congress to prohibit persons listed on the “No Fly List” from purchasing firearms. Not “watch lists” in general, but the No-Fly list specifically.

It’d be an impressive bit of prescience if it had been.


It’s right there in the First Amendment as “the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” Can’t assemble to petition the government if you can’t travel.

If you’re going to claim that as merely implied, I’d point out that right to bear arms, other than in support of the “well regulated Militia”, was considered only dubiously implied until the mid 1970s, so it’s in good company.

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