MSI Position on Utilization of the Terrorist Watch List for Gun Sales
Maryland Shall Issue is opposed to the Terrorist Watch List for the same reasons the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is opposed to the Terrorist Watch List, it lacks due process as required under the 5 th and 14 th Amendments to the Constitution. The Terrorist Watch List was created as an investigative tool, and was never intended to provide due process. The government does not disclose to people that they are under investigation.
Neither irrefutable evidence nor concrete facts are necessary for a person to be included on the Terrorist Watch List. The Terrorist Watch List has no oversight by any court or entity, and is generated by those in the counterterrorism community at their sole discretion. Something as simple as a social media posting or being reported by an “originator” (who can be an ordinary citizen), is enough for inclusion on the Terrorist Watch List. Even the ultra-liberal and virulently anti-gun Huntington Post admits that anyone can end up on the Terrorist Watch List through no fault of their own. The Terrorist Watch List lacks any means for a person to challenge their inclusion on the list, or for a person improperly added to list to facilitate their removal from the list. The Terrorist Watch List is a list of names, not identities. If you have the misfortune to have the same name as a person on the list such as Mickey Hicks (an 8 year old boy), your rights may be inappropriately restricted. The Terrorist Watch List is woefully inaccurate. Nearly 40% of those on the government's terrorist watch list have no affiliation with recognized terrorism groups. Infants, small children, and prominent federal politicians have mistakenly been included on the Terrorist Watch List. Last, you will never know that you are on the Terrorist Watch List until it is too late because the government maintains a general policy to neither confirm nor deny an individual’s watch list status. Imagine if a list could be compiled in secret that would deny people the right to free speech, freedom of assembly, or freedom of religion. The Terrorist Watch List in its current implementation is wholly unsuitable for use as a mechanism by which individuals can have their civil rights suspended without recourse. Until such time as the list can provide: (a) timely due process, (b) a mechanism for removal for those wrongly included, (c) identify individuals and not simply names, (d) shown to be reasonably accurate, and (e) administered with public and judicial oversight, we cannot support its utilization to restrict citizens civil rights.