Donald Trump used the opportunity of the recent tragic shooting in Orlando to reiterate his support for preventing those on a terror watch list or no-fly list from purchasing guns. His position sounds good, and makes for a nice soundbite after a mass public shooting, but in reality it’s nothing more than tyranny in disguise.
The trouble is, the terror watch lists maintained by the FBI are entirely at the discretion of the executive branch, with no recourse possible for those accused. All that’s needed to be included on such a list is a “reasonable suspicion,” as defined by the government, of being a terrorist. Concrete facts are not needed here; a suspicious tweet could be more than enough, or making the wrong person dislike you, or just sharing a name with a terrorist.
The reality of Trump position is that it gives the executive branch absolute, unchallenged authority over who can and cannot buy a gun, with no possibility for review. According to Trump previous statements, anyone deemed an “enemy of the state” would be barred from purchasing guns. In practice, that means that should the president—President Trump? or perhaps President Clinton?—chose could be added to the list.
This is not due process, and not a government of laws. It would give unprecedented power to the national government, concentrated in the executive branch, and fundamentally undermine the right to keep and bear arms. Coming from Trump, fascist that he is, harsh action against “enemies of the state,” even without due process, should hardly be surprising, but for those who value liberty or a government of laws, not men, such proposals should be rejected emphatically.