Sometimes there are policies or laws that need to go into effect if for no other reason than to create the most bizarre legal and political battles imaginable. One of those laws would be to ban those on the FBI's terror watch list from purchasing handguns. The belief is that having such a law would have prevented the Orlando nightclub shooter from purchasing his firearm because the Bureau had been looking into his activities in the past. Of course, the FBI will neither confirm nor deny that the gunman was on their list because the list is secret--with no known ways to get on it--or on how to get off of it.
But let's say Congress finally "did something about mass shootings" and passed the gun ban for those on the terror watch list. You know the first group to legally challenge such a law would be the National Rifle Association. They would argue that getting on the terror watch list requires no due process on the part of the Government and that the list can result in people who share names with suspected terrorists being denied their constitutional right to keep and bear arms. All they would have to do is call to the witness stand those who face a huge hassle trying to fly because a suspected terrorist has the same name--and that's not a constitutionally protected right.
But in taking up this legal fight, the NRA would have to also defend people exactly like the Orlando shooter--American citizens with constitutional rights but a strong desire to do harm to the country. And for some reason, I doubt many of the people sharing the background of the nightclub gunman are card-carrying NRA members or are invited to go sport shooting with those who do belong.
Meanwhile, liberals could find themselves defending a position they too hate. I doubt there are a whole lot of Christian Caucasians of European descent on that terrorist watch list. And those on it--who can now find out if they are on it by trying to purchase a weapon--could certainly argue that the Federal Government is engaging in racial profiling. The ACLU would never take up a gun rights case, but a racial discrimination case? They would be all over that in a heartbeat--even if the legal remedy would ultimately allow someone like the Orlando shooter to buy a gun.
So what do you say we add a little spice to the "national conversation" by giving this terror watch list gun ban a try--and then sit back and watch heads explode on both sides of the political aisle.