The Daily Show’s Trevor Noah thinks that banning suspected terrorists from buying guns may not be that good of an idea, even if it sounds like it is.
In the wake of the recent Orlando massacre, Sen. Chris Murphy and other Democratic lawmakers filibustered for 15 hours in order to force a vote on a new gun bill. If passed, the bill would give the government broad authority to block the sale of guns to individuals investigated for terrorist activity up to five years before the attempted purchase. The bill is widely backed by Senate Democrats, and the terrorist list ban has previously garnered support from President Obama.
But perhaps it isn’t so cut and dried, Noah points out.
Last night, in a segment about the Senate filibuster, he explained why the idea is actually pretty troubling. "It sounds like something that shouldn’t be up for discussion," he said. "But it’s not as formal as it sounds. It’s a secret list that anyone could be put on at any time."
Noah acknowledged that though the legislation might seem comforting now, we might want to think twice before consenting to such a large expansion of governmental discretionary power. His fears may be well-grounded. According to watch list guidelines published in the Intercept in 2014, adding a person’s name to the list requires neither "concrete facts" nor "irrefutable evidence."
Noah’s sentiment has been echoed by both Republican and Democratic lawmakers. On Friday, a spokesperson for Sen. Ron Johnson stated that the senator has concerns about "using very large classified government lists with undefined criteria as the basis for removing an American’s constitutional rights."
Republicans have come up with a couple of alternatives to this bill, but as Vox’s Dara Lind and Jeff Stein pointed out, some of the backstops proposed may be nearly unworkable.
The Senate has not yet decided on a date to vote on the bill Murphy filibustered for, though some reports say it could be as early as Monday.