A snarling fight immediately broke out on the left, with centrist liberals and loyal Democratic partisans on one side, and civil liberties-focused groups and leftists on the other. The ACLU came out against the bill, and so did the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the nation’s biggest Muslim advocacy group, while practically every big-shot Democrat went the other way.

Yet again, Democrats split their own base with conservative policy, and for what? Apparently so they can accuse Republicans of being weak on terrorism during the upcoming election — or even supporting the sale of weapons to ISIS.

This is grotesque political malpractice. Aside from the straight-up violation of due process that is inherent in the very idea of a secret list which can strip away people’s constitutional rights, this further entrenches the political legitimacy of Bush-era authoritarian terror politics. We will unquestionably hear about this the next time there is a terrorist attack done by a Muslim and conservatives start shrieking for more dragnet surveillance and torture and secret prisons…

Furthermore, as Dylan Matthews points out, even on the most generous of estimates “No Fly, No Buy” will accomplish approximately nothing on gun violence writ large. At best, it will stop a few hundred gun purchases per year — in a country with something like 360 million guns.