In Orlando Aftermath, Jones Responds to Bera Challenge to Support 'No Fly, No Buy' Legislation

June 15, 2016 |

In the aftermath of Sunday's tragedy in Orlando, the campaign of Congressman Ami Bera (D - Elk Grove) issued a statement today urging Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones to reverse his position on allowing people on the FBI terrorist watch and no fly list to make gun purchases. Jones is Bera's Republican challenger in this fall's general election race for California's Seventh Congressional District.

Issued late this afternoon, Bera's statement asserted several Republicans and the National Rifle Association support legislation that would restrict sale of guns to people "no fly, no buy" terror watchlist reform bill.

"I've been a strong supporter of preventing suspects on the FBI's terror watch list from buying guns, and I've co-sponsored legislation in Congress to do just that,” Bera said. “I’m proud to co-sponsor the bipartisan bill to close the ‘no fly, no buy’ loophole, and it’s a common-sense step forward in keeping our families safe that is long overdue."

The Bera campaign referenced comments Jones made in a January story posted on McClatchy DC noting his break with several California law enforcement officials who supported legislation introduced by California Sen, Diane Feinstein after the December 2015 San Bernardino, Calif. shooting. In that story Jones said he supports keeping guns out of the hands of terrorists, but noted Feinstein's bill would have given the responsibility of identifying who would be barred by the Attorney General.

In response to the Bera campaign's assertions, Jones reiterated that he does not support allowing terrorist access to guns, but expressed concerns with the Federal government's ability to develop and maintain an adequate screening system.

"My issue is not with keeping weapons out of the hands of terrorists, but rather my lack of faith that the Federal government can develop and maintain a sufficient vetting system," Jones said. "There was a period of time when I myself was inexplicably on a list that precluded unimpeded air travel."

Jones went on to note that as Sacramento County Sheriff, he has been actively involved in local efforts to address terrorism.

"I host the Regional Terrorism Threat Assessment Center and sit as the Chair of the Central California Intelligence Committee," he said. "Our department works hand in hand with regional and federal partners to intervene in and prevent terrorist attacks right here in our region - nobody locally does more or feels more strongly about protecting our cities and neighborhoods from terrorism."

Following Sunday's shootings in Orlando, President Obama has reiterated his desire to ban people placed on the terrorist watch and no fly lists from purchasing guns. The issue has created some unexpected political positions.

In a showing of the surprisingly conflicting views of the matter, the National Rifle Association has offered qualified support for "no fly, no buy," while the American Civil Liberties Union has similarly expressed concerns about the administration of the law in the context of the Fourteenth Amendment. 

In a statement issued today, NRA 's Chris W. Cox said, “Anyone on a terror watchlist who tries to buy a gun should be thoroughly investigated by the FBI and the sale delayed while the investigation is ongoing. If an investigation uncovers evidence of terrorist activity or involvement, the government should be allowed to immediately go to court, block the sale, and arrest the terrorist.”

The ACLU claims that the lists are inaccurate with up to 35-percent of the people on the lists are there improperly, and the process for placing people on the no fly lists deny them due process.

In a posting on their website in the days following the San Bernardino shootings, an ACLU staff member wrote "the standards for inclusion on the No Fly List are unconstitutionally vague, and innocent people are blacklisted without a fair process to correct government error."

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Steve L said...

In the wake of the latest rogue terror attacks in San Bernadino and now in Orlando, the premise of this legislation, if you can't fly due to placement on a potential terrorist list , you certainly shouldn't be able to legally buy a firearm. Isn't that a no-brainer? If the NRA supports such legislation, and let's be honest, they NEVER support ANY gun restrictions, then everyone except a terrorist should get behind it.

I completely understand the ACLU concerns regarding the potential to violate a citizen's right to due process guaranteed by the 14th Amendment, and such legislation must be carefully scripted to protect those rights. But it can be done, it has to be done if any of us are to feel secure from being victimized like so many innocent people in San Bernadino, Orlando, Sandy Hook, Colorado and the list goes on.

How difficult it must be to try and explain to a grief-stricken family their loved one died because a suspected terrorist identified by the federal government was legally able to buy a weapon and kill, but he was restricted from traveling by air by the same entity.

"No Fly - No Buy" must be legislated. We can find ways to protect our due process rights. Demand of ALL our legislators that they support this and work to find ways to correctly and efficiently implement it.

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