Marco Rubio wants you to know he is very, very concerned with the rights of Americans.
Appearing on CNN's State of the Union (transcript and video of the segment below), Rubio understands that the effort of congressional Democrats to prevent a suspicious individual from possessing or buying a firearm applies not only to the FBI's no-fly list but also to the agency's Terrorist Screening Database, of which the no-fly list is a subset.
He maintains also, however, that "the majority of people on the no-fly list are oftentimes people that basically just have the same name as somebody else who don't (sic) belong on the no-fly list." Translated into English ("the majority are oftentimes"?), the Florida Senator is inferring that most individuals on the no-fly list have the same name as someone justifiably on the list, a starkly insupportable claim.
The watch lists, Rubio argued, "shouldn't be used as a tool to impede 700,000 Americans or potential Americans -- people on that list from having access to be able to fully utilize their Second Amendment rights." That would be a strong argument, if there were an individual right to own a firearm under the US Constitution, people on the list were routinely denied a weapon, and there were roughly 700,000 Americans on the Terrorist Screening Database.
But there is no constitutional, individual right to own a firearm. Further, according to this source, "people denied a gun are either convicted felons, undocumented immmigrants, under indictment, fleeing justice, or mentally ill."
Moreover, there are nowhere near 700,000 American citizens or legal residents on the list. Politifact explains
The number of Americans on the list likely doesn’t exceed 10,000, said Martin Reardon, former chief of the FBI Terrorist Screening Center’s operations branch.
Some innocent people have been wrongly included in the terrorist watch list or the no-fly list, which can affect their lives in ways such as having to go through extra airport security or being stopped from boarding a plane. But for an American to get on that list by accident is "harder than people think," added Reardon, who is now a vice president at the Soufan Group, a consulting firm.
To be fair, Rubio never has been good at math, making it more difficult for him a few years back to get by without charging to his state party various trips to gas stations, restaurants, drugstores, book stores, and florists.
Still, the Senator's concern for individual liberties would be admirable if, for instance, he were concerned about individual liberties. However
In the wake of Wednesday's massacre in San Bernardino, California, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio on Friday dinged Ted Cruz and his other fellow senators and GOP presidential rivals for their votes to end the National Security Agency's bulk collection of phone metadata.
“A couple points. First of all, we have to have robust intelligence gathering capabilities to disrupt plots. It’s one of the reasons why I was opposed to this law that even some of my opponents running for president voted for, this USA [Freedom] Act that passed a few months ago. It took away the right to collect metadata, which means that we can now not access the phone records of individuals that we either suspect of being involved in terrorism or who carry out an attack to see who they were coordinating or talking to," Rubio told "CBS This Morning."
Cruz, one of Rubio's closest competitors in most national polling, voted to pass the USA Freedom Act in June, which sought to reform the NSA in part by ending the federal government's collection of bulk metadata. Rubio co-sponsored legislation on Wednesday with Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton that would reinstate the NSA's ability to collect phone metadata, among other powers that fell away last week with the expiration of the agency's ability to collect such information.
Marco Rubio, it turns out, is less dedicated to civil liberties than... Ted Cruz, the man who wants admitted to the USA refugees from Syria, as long as they're Christian. Rubio's tears of concern for individuals improperly placed on the watch list would be more credible if, for instance, he joined American Civil Liberties Union affiliates in advocating a simplification of the process of challenging inclusion on the No Fly List.
But he won't, will he? He won't, because the rights of American citizens are among the furthest things from Rubio's mind, except when it comes to owing or possessing a firearm. Then, he supports the (mythical) right to arm bears, even for the 15,000+ non-Americans whom the Federal Bureau of Investigation has identified as potential terrorists. It tuns out that Marco Rubio really wants you to know that liberty begins and ends with the Second Amendment.
Because there are -- the majority of people on the no-fly list are oftentimes people that basically just have the same name as somebody else who don't belong on the no-fly list.
The -- former Senator Kennedy -- Ted Kennedy once said he was on a no- fly list. I mean, there are -- I -- we -- there are journalists on the no-fly list. There are others involved in the no-fly list that wind up there.
These are everyday Americans that have nothing to with terrorism. They wind up on the no-fly list. There's no due process or any way to get your name removed from it in a timely fashion. And now they're having their Second Amendment right being impeded upon.
If these were perfect lists, that would be one thing. But there are over 700,000 Americans on some watch list or another that would all be captured under this amendment the Democrats offered. And that's the problem.
The vast -- there aren't 700,000 terrorists operating in America openly on watch lists. They include vast numbers of Americans who have names similar to someone we're looking for. Sometimes, you're only on that list because the FBI wants to talk to you about someone you know, not because you're a suspect. And, again, now your Second Amendment right is being impeded with.
TAPPER: I don't think it's accurate to say that a majority of them are on the list by accident, but let me... RUBIO: A very significant number of people on those lists are on there because they have names similar to somebody else. My office deals with dozens of calls every year from people that are on no-fly lists or identified lists of watch lists. It's not just the no-fly lists. That's not just the no-fly lists.
TAPPER: So, these watch lists should just be -- these watch lists should just be ignored?
RUBIO: No, they shouldn't be ignored. But they shouldn't be used as a tool to impede 700,000 Americans or potential Americans -- people on that list from having access to be able to fully utilize their Second Amendment rights.
There are many people on no-fly lists that are not terrorists, not just no-fly lists -- I apologize -- on any of these terror watch lists, because that amendment was not just limited to the no-fly list. That's not a perfect database. And it has a significant number of errors.