GOP Presidential Candidates’ ‘Terror Watchlist’ Positions Important to Gun Owners

By David Codrea

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Unalienable rights should not be up for debate. The “winners” should be the American people who value those rights. (Republican National Committee)
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AmmoLand Gun News

USA –  -(  “So-called ‘terror watchlist’ gun ban poses greatest danger of any current proposal,” this column warned last week.

Obama, Hillary and the Democrats have made it a centerpiece for cowing not just low-information voters, but also some Republican politicians. If imposed, innocent Americans could be denied a fundamental right without due process. And as heated rhetoric and demands have shown, accusations of terror guilt have increasingly been leveled against the NRA and its members.

We know who citizen disarmament is intended for by those intent on a totalitarian monopoly of violence, and any “compromise,” even if well-intended, will be another major step down the road to the end game goal to eliminate the Second Amendment.

With that in mind, what the Republican candidates have publicly stated bears examination by politically-engaged gun owners looking to the GOP for a leader who will defend and advance RKBA.

What follows is a compilation of passages from media reports where “main event” candidates, have demonstrated where they stand. For the purposes of this report, lower-polling “pre-primetime” hopefuls have not been included.

Jeb Bush says he could go along with a Democratic plan to keep people on the no-fly list from buying guns – but only if the list is seriously narrowed,” Newsmax recounted, citing a Fox News Channel appearance by the former Florida governor.  Bush said “he could go along with such a plan if the no-fly list were limited to people who were subject to active investigations.”

Ben Carson says he wants ‘better due process’ for people on terrorism watch lists before banning members of those lists from buying guns,” CNN reported.  While he’s concerned that people on the list need to have a “real hearing,” he does not define what that means.

“The fact is, people should have the right to appeal their way off that list and they should have the ability to challenge the government,” New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was quoted in a New report. “”That list is an important list to have, because there are people we should be watching. But when the list is as faulty as it is now, people should have a real problem with it.”

“[Texas Sen. Ted] Cruz had the chance to vote on an amendment to disarm terrorist combatants in that war. Cruz voted no,” virulently anti-gun Rolling Stone flat-out lied – not about his vote, but in saying he “vot[ed] to preserve the right of known terrorists to buy the weapons they need to wage war in America.” If they’re “known terrorists,” as opposed to suspects or “false positives,” allowing them to exist among innocent Americans they’re intent on murdering is an act of gross dereliction on the part of the government, which is tantamount to aiding and abetting the enemy.

“If somebody is a suspected terrorist on a watch list, they can be indicted at any time, and once you're indicted, you cannot own a firearm,” Carly Fiorina was quoted in a UPI report on her MSNBC “Morning Joe” appearance. “”If I had utter faith in the competence of government, I might agree with that. But do you? I don't.”

“Ohio Gov. John Kasich said … that those on terrorist watch lists shouldn’t be able to buy guns, drawing a distinction with some of his presidential rivals and Republicans in Congress,” Politico reported following the candidate’s appearance on CNN.  Acknowledging they could still get a gun illegally, “Kasich did raise concerns that preventing those on watch lists from buying guns could tip them off that they’re under surveillance.”

“If we're going to take away Second Amendment privileges, nobody wants somebody who's a terrorist to have a gun — myself included — but there has to be a process,” Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul opined in a CNN interview transcribed by MRC Newsbusters. “There needs to be a process, not after the fact, but before the fact. We had a Republican alternative that was similar, but had more due process. And I think there is a middle ground if the other side wants to work with us on this.”

“You're talking about denying people a second amendment, a constitutional right because the federal government made a mistake and there's no due process, there's no due process by which you can go and get your name removed,” Marco Rubio was quoted in an NBC report. “I know, we've tried to help people in our office, it's very difficult.”

“If somebody is on a watch list and an enemy of state and we know it's an enemy of state, I would keep them away, absolutely,” Donald Trump told George Stephanopoulos in an ABC News interview following the Paris terror attacks. “Listen, George, if we have an enemy of state, I don't want to give him anything. I want to have him in jail, that's what I want. I want to have him in jail.”

Terror Watchlist

A terror watchlist being used to deny a fundamental right reverses a presumption of innocence to which all Americans are entitled. That falls far short of being charged with a crime, let alone convicted by a jury. And experience shows us once power is obtained, the government's interest is to push for even more.

That's why any incremental surrender is so insidious and dangerous. So naturally, guess who's gearing up to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

“Republicans have a ‘compromise’ on terrorist watchlist and gun owners should be very concerned,” Greg Campbell of The Politistick warns, citing legislation sponsored by Texas Senator John Cornyn.

“Under Republican legislation sponsored by Senator John Cornyn, the federal government may delay the sale of a firearm to someone on the watch list for up to 72 hours,” The Weekly Standard reports. “During that time, if the government can show a judge there’s “probable cause”–the same legal standard used to obtain a search warrant–that the individual is plotting terrorism, then the gun sale is denied outright. The measure received 55 votes in the Senate.”

“Did you catch it?” Campbell asks. “There is still no due process!”

“The only Republican to oppose it was Mark Kirk,” The Weekly Standard elaborates, meaning Cruz, Paul and Rubio back the measure (and just in case you were wondering, Kirk is no friend to gun owners, so some other motivation must explain his vote). Positions on the Cornyn “compromise” from the GOP presidential contenders who are not in the Senate have not been determined at this writing. Also undetermined is if the NRA believes the Cornyn measure comports with its stated due process concerns.

If you have a candidate you favor, you owe it to yourself to find out where he or she stands on it, and to press them to reconsider if you find their stance objectionable.

David Codrea in his natural habitat.

About David Codrea:

David Codrea is the winner of multiple journalist awards for investigating / defending the RKBA and a long-time gun rights advocate who defiantly challenges the folly of citizen disarmament.

He blogs at “The War on Guns: Notes from the Resistance,” and also posts on Twitter: @dcodrea and Facebook.

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    “If we’re going to take away Second Amendment privileges, nobody wants somebody who’s a terrorist to have a gun — myself included — but there has to be a process,” Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul opined in a CNN interview transcribed by MRC Newsbusters. “There needs to be a process, not after the fact, but before the fact. We had a Republican alternative that was similar, but had more due process. And I think there is a middle ground if the other side wants to work with us on this.”

    Second Amendment privileges Mr. Paul?????

    My Constitutionally protected ‘RIGHTS’ are not ‘privileges.


    I am a gun dealer. I went through the process to get my FFL. There are guide lines I have to follow to stay within the law. I call the FBI while the customer waits and they tell me whether it’s a go or not. I also can reject to sell to anyone I want to. If I feel they are not responsible, I do not sell them anything. The government has the control to put anyone on a list whether it is probable cause or not. It has happened in the past and it will happen in the future.… Read more »


    Well the British believed the colonists to be terrorists and traitors….. And we shot their butts off in Concord and all the way back to Boston because they tried to disarm those they considered enemies of the state.



    By their own admission, the NRA has backed every major gun control legislation since 1943 (NFA ’34, FFA ’38, GCA ’68, Lautenberg, etc.)


    If the gvt has probable cause that a gun buyer is plotting terror, then why is that person: 1. In the USA in the first place? 2. Not in detention or jail, or dead? Codrea is right, this is the most insidious end run around the Constitution we’ve seen … well, since the terror-watch list and no-fly lists were created in the first place — by “staunch conservatives” covering for their gross dereliction and subversion of our most fundamental national defenses — our borders and immigration controls. Trump is the only one boldly challenging the establishment and “staunch conservatives” by… Read more »


    What’s going to happen is that the Anti-Gun advocates will also try at the state level.

    Like Virginia, for instance: