Investigating the No Fly list should also be a No Buy list for guns

Posted: 6:36 PM, Jul 04, 2016
Updated: 2016-07-05 23:43:23-04

It's the most controversial issue facing America following numerous mass shootings - the need for a solution to stop the rise in gun violence.

The new push is to keep people on the government's No Fly list from getting guns. But some say it’s a huge violation of our freedoms.

The government calls its No Fly list a necessary tool to keep Americans safe from potential terror threats.

Each day, thousands of people are unable to board a plane because they're on that list. But this powerful story might change your mind about them owning guns.

For Saed Mokdad the past several years have been a fierce battle with the federal government.

Mokdad is a Muslim American US citizen originally from Lebanon, and until a few months ago prohibited from boarding a plane.

He recalls what happened as he prepared to fly from Paris to the US in October 2012.

"They called my name, they took me to a room and said you can't board the flight,” he says. “I asked why and they said sorry, we don't know."

For Mokdad it was also the start of a rapid decline in his business. The entertainment and music promoter, who represents top Lebanese artists, was completely restricted from air travel.

"After that I couldn't even fly. I couldn't go to different states and my business is flying all the time," he says. "I lost my business and it put me away from my family for years."

Now fast forward to present day, deadly mass shootings like the one in Orlando have President Obama and other lawmakers calling for much tougher gun legislation.
A controversial "no fly no buy" proposal would keep guns out of the hands of people on the "no fly" list.

A few days back long time Congressman John Conyers from Detroit spoke about it a town hall in Berkley.

"No fly. No buy,” Conyers said. “If you are too dangerous to fly I don't want you having a weapon."

Another leading voice in Congress, US Rep. Debbie Dingell, also strongly believes something must be done.

"The 3 people I don't want to see with guns are a terrorist, convicted felon and someone who has been convicted of domestic abuse," she said.

Today, people on the no fly list aren't banned from buying guns, but Saed Mokdad says passing a new law would only rob people of their 2nd Amendment rights.

In his case a lengthy court battle led to a twist. Six months ago a letter from the federal government:

"From Homeland Security, it said I'm off the list. You can fly,” Mokdad said. “I was happy but all that time got wasted for nothing."

Never charged with any crimes, to this day Saed doesn't know why he made the list his attorney, civil rights pioneer Nabih Ayad, calls it unfair and un-American.

"It's unjust to place someone on the list without due process or way to challenge it," Ayad says. "You don't know you're on the list till you pack your bags. Kiss your family goodbye and get to the airport and they say get out of here."

Ayad says you might be surprised about some others still on the "no fly" list.

"People who worked on the Mars mission are on the list, people who have sat at the White House with Obama are on the list. 5-years-old. Clergy. A whole host of people from all walks of life on that list," Ayad says.

We asked Congresswoman Dingell for her reaction.

"We can protect each other's basic rights, and also not accept a level of violence we are beginning to accept," Dingell says. "I will not support something that doesn't also protect due process. I feel very strongly about that."

Dingell is also pushing to close loopholes in unchecked gun sales online and at gun shows.
In the meantime, Ayad is urging our leaders to carefully consider our freedoms at stake before jumping the gun.

"What's to prevent the government from adding all gun owners on the list and saying you can't challenge it or buy a gun," Ayad says. "There are individuals who own business who have crime around them and need to have protection and what have you."

"If they found anything on me they would not take me off. They can't remove someone who is a danger," says Mokad. "It's not fair. As a U.S. citizen, I don't think it's fair not having a gun. I should be treated like everyone else."

Ayad says in every single case of a person removed from the No Fly list, a federal lawsuit was filed. So far, no clear solution has been agreed upon in Washington.