Ever since Omar Mateen walked into the Pulse nightclub in Orlando and shot over a hundred people, killing 49 and injuring 53, the nation has been embroiled in a debate over guns in America and how to make sure they stay out of the hands of terrorists.
After a 15-hour filibuster in the Senate and a 25-hour sit-in in the House, Democrats and gun control advocates were still unsuccessful at moving the needle on gun control in the form of expanding universal background checks and preventing those on the no-fly list from purchasing guns, otherwise known as the “No Fly, No Buy” proposal.
“Let’s understand what the “No Fly, No Buy” proposal is,” Arvin Vohra, vice chairman of the Libertarian Party, explained in an interview with GVH Live. “It’s saying that if you are on a watch list, not convicted of a crime, not even tried for a crime, you can have your constitutional rights suspended.”
The “No Fly, No Buy” proposal has come under heavy fire from gun rights advocates, constitutionalists, Republicans and countless others, as enforcement would deny due process to U.S. citizens. Individuals whose names appear on the no-fly list for any reason could be barred from exercising their rights under the Second Amendment.
The “No Fly, No Buy” proposal could also have the unintended consequence of undermining counter-terrorism efforts.
Just a few days following the Orlando shooting, Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) led a near 15-hour filibuster demanding “common sense” gun control that many activists hoped would be the beginning of the end of mass shootings.
“I’ve had enough. I’ve had enough of the ongoing slaughter of innocents, and I’ve had enough of inaction in this body,” said Murphy during the filibuster. The Senator vowed to remain “until we get some signal, some sign that we can come together.”
Near the 15-hour mark, Murphy ended the filibuster by sending out a tweet announcing that the GOP would hold votes to close the “terror gap” and “universal background checks”. Democrats and Republicans were unable to agree on four separate gun measures, which were all voted down in the Senate.
In the wake of that vote, House Democrats staged a sit-in, led by Georgia Rep. John Lewis, for 25 hours on the House floor to force a vote for gun control. Speaker Paul Ryan dismissed the stunt as political theater and responded by adjourning the House.
Presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton praised Democrats in both the Senate and House for attempting to block suspected terrorists from buying guns. She’s also been critical of Republicans for blocking the gun control measure. In an interview on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Clinton vocalized her outrage, “I still am just totally bewildered by the Republican Congress’ refusal to block suspected terrorists from buying guns who are on the no-fly list.”
Clinton did not acknowledge that Republicans blocked the measure because there has been no adequate process to remove individuals from the government watch lists, including the no-fly list, who are wrongly or mistakenly included.
Vohra believes that Democrats would be singing a different tune if Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee, were commander-in-chief. “Would you be okay with that list if Donald Trump was president?” Vohra rhetorically asked. “Would you be okay with Donald Trump, singlehandedly, saying, ‘this person can have whatever constitutional rights suspended?’”
Trump worried some of his supporters initially by seeming to give the “No Fly, No Buy” proposal consideration via Twitter. He has since clarified his tweet through a spokesman, saying that he doesn’t want to remove Second Amendment rights without due process.
Pointing to a note he saw on social media, Vohra added, “If Hillary Clinton thinks it’s right for just suspicion, just being watched by the FBI, should be a enough to stop you from buying a gun, well, then maybe just being watched by the FBI should be enough to prevent you from running for president.”