Time and again, I warn sometimes apathetic gun owners that we can never let down our guards. The anti-self-defense contingent is relentlessly seeking new and ingenious ways to attack our rights. The most recent example is a new bill (S.551) that would ban anyone whose name appears on a “terror watch list” from purchasing, or even possessing, a firearm.

Democrat authors have cleverly named the bill the “Denying Firearms and Explosives to Dangerous Terrorists Act of 2015.” This is typical “beltway-speak”—“Obamacare” was deceptively titled the “Affordable Care Act” when, in fact, it has made healthcare even less affordable than ever before. Like most such proposals, the measure sounds almost reasonable, pretending to plug yet another imaginary “loophole” in current firearms law.

But writing in The Federalist online, Sean Davis dubbed the bill “a shocking assault on the constitutional right to due process.” According to Davis and others who have looked at the language, this new bill would give the U.S. Attorney General authority to “deny the sale, delivery, or transfer of a firearm or the issuance of a firearms or explosives license or permit to dangerous terrorists.”

Unfortunately, the average American has little familiarity with the intricacies (and often unintended consequences) of complex legislative proposals. As a result, such noble sounding measures can seem to them like a good idea, or at the very least, harmless. And if you oppose it, you will be attacked in the media for “wanting terrorists to be able to buy guns.” Democrats and gun control lobbying groups are already running ads that accuse opponents, the NRA, and other gun rights advocates of doing precisely that.

Yet even Democratic sponsors of the bill have admitted that the proposed law would allow the Attorney General to “deny a criminal background check clearance to any individual whose name appears on the national terror watch list.” OK, but how does one end up on the list?

That’s the problem: there are no clearly defined statutory criteria for inclusion on this massive list (nearly 900,000 names at last count). In fact, Congress already gave sole and complete discretion in determining the criteria for inclusion in the watch list to unelected, unaccountable government bureaucrats. As a result, if some anonymous government bureaucrat sitting in a cubicle in front of a computer screen decides (for whatever reason) that you “might” be a terrorist, you’re on it!

What’s even worse is that if your name erroneously appears on that watch list, the proposed legislation renders you virtually powerless to find out why your name is on there, let alone have it removed. Remember, you don’t have to be convicted of any crime, or even be charged with a crime. Perhaps you recall those government reports that categorized Christians, gun owners, and even combat veterans as “right-wing threats” to the nation.

Just as “universal background checks” and other gun control measures will fail to prevent inner-city gangs from getting all the firepower they want, this latest boondoggle will not prevent any terrorist from getting weapons. But it could very easily wind up costing you your rights to buy or own a gun, or potentially becoming a target of surveillance by any number of agencies.

For a more expanded discussion of S.551:


In the meantime, tell your Congressional Representative and your U.S. Senator that you oppose S.551 as a clear violation of due process. Make your voice heard. Do it now