Those who surrender freedom for security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.–Benjamin Franklin
Only a little more than a week removed from the deadliest mass shooting in our nation’s history, the United States has been in an uproar over the nitty-gritty details surrounding the terroristic act that took the lives of innocent clubgoers in Orlando. Authorities have been vague and tight-lipped, leaving the media to spin their tales of the terrorist’s background and highlight the fact he was able to legally purchase the weapon he used in the massacre.
Everywhere you look, people agree the weapon should never have made its way into Omar Mateen’s hands. The FBI questioned Marteen twice before, and they twice released him without incident after declaring him non-threatening. Yet Mateen clearly was a threat despite the FBI’s initial conclusions. This despite Mateen’s father’s open support for the Taliban while running for President of Afghanistan. This bizarre fact did not spark additional FBI investigations into the Mateen family.
There are those who would say that being under FBI investigation for terror or landing on the terror watch list is cause for additional scrutiny or even the prohibition of purchasing weapons. While I do not disagree with preventing powerful weapons from being misused by terrorists, at present the terror watchlist violates due process, which must be amended if it is to be used with success.
As it stands now, if you are placed under investigation or added to the terror watch list, you have very few options. There is a lack of due process and the appeals process is lengthy. According to the Congressional Research Service:
The Due Process Clause provides that no person shall be “deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” Accordingly, when a person has been deprived of a constitutionally protected liberty interest, the government must follow certain procedures. Several courts have found that placement on the No Fly list may impair constitutionally protected interests, including the right to travel internationally, and the government’s redress procedures must therefore satisfy due process.”
There is not even any specific criteria that must be met in order to be added to the list, and you may not even know if you are on this list until you attempt to fly or purchase a weapon. These qualities could easily turn this niche of national security into an unstoppable weapon against political enemies of those in power.
Worse still, if the government accidently places someone on the list there is little recourse to remove a name from the list. Mikey Hicks, 8, is a prime example of such negligence. The boy may share a similar name with someone else on the watch list, yet he can’t seem to clear his name, along with 25,000 of his fellow citizens whose appeals are still pending.
This position isn’t a conservative issue or a liberal issue, it is an American issue. The American Civil Liberties Union published an article reinforcing the need to reform the “No Fly” list because of the lack of due process.