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The Terror Watch List And Due Process Of Law

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The Terror Watch List And Due Process Of Law

This feature appears in the September ‘16 issue of NRA America’s 1st Freedom, one of the official journals of the National Rifle Association. 

The NRA is the nation’s oldest civil rights organization. For more than 145 years, we have fought to protect the freedoms that make the United States the world’s most enduring democracy.

The core mission of the NRA is, of course, to protect our fundamental right to keep and bear arms. In doing so, we also fight to ensure that our firearm freedom is not restricted without due process of law. Our opponents, however, never miss a chance to try to eliminate our Second Amendment-protected rights and would freely discard the rest of the Bill of Rights to do so. 

In June, our country was shaken to the core by another terrorist attack on U.S. soil—this time in Orlando, Fla. This was another in an increasing number of domestic terrorist attacks by radical Islamic jihadists.

Some irresponsible media and political figures went so far as to suggest that the NRA or our members want to make it easier for terrorists to obtain firearms.

This isn’t just wrong, it’s infuriating. NRA members have given their lives fighting the war on terror. When it comes to national security, we take a backseat to no one.

Let’s set the record straight right now: The NRA believes that terrorists should not be allowed to purchase or possess firearms. Period.

Anyone on a terror watch list who tries to buy a gun should be thoroughly investigated by the FBI. If the investigation uncovers evidence of terrorist activity or involvement with terror groups, the government should be allowed to immediately go to court, block the sale and arrest the terrorist. 

At the same time, due process protections must be put in place that allow law-abiding Americans who are wrongly put on a watch list to be removed from it. Constitutional rights should not be denied without due process of law. 

Sadly, President Barack Obama and his allies would prefer to play politics by using a tragedy to advance their personal agenda.

Let’s be clear. Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s proposal—which has been around for 15 years and was again recently discussed in Congress—would not have prevented the Orlando terrorist attack. The argument that one more gun control law would have prevented this or any other terrorist attack is not just absurd, it’s dangerous.

The NRA will not let Obama and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton deflect attention away from their repeated failure to keep us safe. When we are attacked, do they blame the jihadists who kill innocent Americans? No. They blame you and me, law-abiding gun owners.

For Obama and Clinton, it is perfectly reasonable to use secret government lists to deny American citizens their fundamental rights with no due process protections in place. They want the power to strip away your Second Amendment-protected freedoms unless you can first prove that you can be trusted with your own inalienable rights. This guilty-until-proven-innocent standard is completely incompatible with our American system of justice and will do nothing to keep us safe.

But unfortunately, this is how Obama and Clinton operate. They apologize for America and our way of life. If you dare to use the words “radical Islamic terrorism,” they accuse you of attacking all Muslims. If you believe we should secure our borders, they call you a bigot. Their goal is simple—they want to shame you into surrendering your freedoms.

But make no mistake, the NRA will fight without apology to protect the rights of law-abiding Americans to defend themselves. We will not back down one inch in the face of those who want to eliminate our freedoms. 

This fight is likely to continue for the foreseeable future. So please, continue to call your congressional representatives  and senators and let them know that our freedom isn’t to blame for Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton’s failed policies. Ask them to support due process for law-abiding Americans and to respect our right—and our need—for self-defense. 

The threat to our freedoms has never been more dangerous. If she is given the opportunity, Hillary Clinton will not only eviscerate the Second Amendment, she will threaten all of our constitutional rights. We all need to do our part and make sure that she does not win the presidency this November. The future of our freedom is at stake.

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Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.