DHS official throws cold water on using no-fly list for gun control

We’ve heard plenty of talk from Barack Obama and leading Democrats about using the terror no-fly list to block certain people from exercising their 2nd Amendment rights. Today, though, it became clear that no one at the White House has bothered talking to the people who would have to implement such a policy. In an appearance today at a House Oversight Committee hearing, a DHS official said that the use of the list for any other purposes would be “apples and oranges”:

A top official at the Department of Homeland Security on Thursday appeared to break with the White House’s call for Congress to ban people on the federal no-fly list from buying guns.

“I believe it would be apples and oranges” to use the watch list for anything other than its designed purpose, Assistant Secretary for International Affairs Alan Bersin told House lawmakers in an Oversight Committee hearing on Thursday. …

Bersin did not seem to be aware of the Obama administration’s proposal on Thursday.

Not aware at all? Given that this was a major component of Obama’s response to the terrorist attack in San Bernardino, it’s either a measure of Obama’s importance to bureaucrats, the White House’s research skills, or both. Besides, the no-fly list isn’t exactly burgeoning with potential applications of this new policy, either.

“Less than 0.1 percent” of the tens of thousands of people on the federal no-fly list are Americans, Bersin told lawmakers.

So how many would that be, anyway? If the no-fly list has 50,000 people on it — the exact number has not been revealed — then “less than 0.1%” would be fewer than fifty people. Can’t they just investigate those fifty or so people and charge them with whatever crimes they commit that would substantiate revocation of their constitutional rights?

Wait, though — Syed Farook was an American citizen, so having his name on the list would have prevented him from getting firearms! Except, of course, that Farook wasn’t on the no-fly list, and neither was his wife Tashfeen Malik. She flew into the country in July 2014. Neither were any of the other perpetrators of terror attacks in the US, including Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev, not even a year after the Russians warned the FBI of his potential radicalization.

As I’ve written before, the proposal to use the no-fly list is nothing more than a red herring — a way to change the subject from a terrorist attack to gun control. The fact that the White House and leading Democrats aren’t even bothering to discuss this with Homeland Security leadership only makes it more painfully obvious.

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