(Josep Lago/Agence France-Presse via Getty Images)
By Ana Garcia,
Ana Garcia is an Emmy award-winning TV journalist based in Los Angeles.
I am on a watch list.
And I don’t like it.
It’s not fair. I haven’t done anything, but my name is apparently the same as that of a wanted terrorist.
The authorities won’t tell me what “bad Ana Garcia” has done, but based on the facial expressions of the numerous immigration and customs officers who have questioned me, she’s bad.
Technically, I am on a Transportation Security Administration selectee list. That’s one down from the no-fly list.
I don’t have a constitutional right to board a plane, or reenter the United States without a secondary screening.
I will be the first to tell you, it sucks. It interferes with my ability to do my job as a reporter. I can walk into a jail to have a cup of coffee with the sheriff, but I can’t get on a plane with the same ease. What sense does that make?
My watch list challenges have been documented through news stories. Privately, the Department of Homeland Security has cleared me, but it will not take me off the list. Instead, DHS issued me a redress number. It’s yet another government ID that proves I am not the person the authorities are looking for.
Still, in my view, the debate over whether it is unconstitutional to ban people on watch lists from buying guns is absurd. I have heard emotional arguments from conservatives who are worried innocent people wrongfully placed on watch lists will be denied their Second Amendment right to buy a gun.
All of a sudden, politicians not so worried about my status on a watch list are apparently paralyzed with fear that I might not have the freedom to buy a gun.
That’s awfully thoughtful, but save the sympathy for the families of the victims in Orlando.
Here’s the thing: Innocent people will sometimes be wrongfully put on these lists. I am an example of that. I have a work-around. It’s not ideal, but ultimately I get on that plane.
When I go into secondary screening at the Los Angeles airport, I am always confident that I will get to go home. It costs me a few more minutes of my time. It annoys me. It’s not fair, but I have not lost the right to fly.
It just makes sense that if you are a terrorist on a watch list, you should be banned from buying weapons. And if you are innocent like me, I am sure the government can come up with a redress number specifically to protect your Second Amendment right.
Will it work perfectly? Of course not.
Fair doesn’t mean everyone will be happy, but maybe we will all be safer.
Read more about this topic: David B. Rivkin Jr. and Andrew M. Grossman: Gun control proposals in the wake of Orlando could endanger constitutional rights