What "No Fly, No Buy" Means

Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts has been photographed bringing donuts to her colleagues in the House who are currently staging a nonviolent protest against congressional inaction on gun sense legislation. Even though the proposal up for debate was first introduced almost ten years ago, it seems as if Speaker Ryan and the rest of the GOP are determined to obstruct any additional dialogue on the matter. So, what does "No Fly, No Buy" mean? The concept is pretty simple, and should be a no-brainer.

"No Fly, No Buy" simply means that people who are on the F.B.I.'s "No Fly" list would be prohibited from purchasing or owning firearms. It isn't a particularly difficult concept to understand: individuals under investigation for possible links to terrorist organizations shouldn't have access to guns.

The first draft of this bill was written by Carolyn McCarthy, who served as a representative from New York's 4th congressional district from 1997-2015. McCarthy originally introduced the bill in 2007, during the 110th Congress. The document was just three pages long, but ended up dying in session — a vote on the bill was never called. McCarthy reintroduced the bill in the next session of Congress, but it met the same fate at the end of the session. McCarthy retired in 2015, without seeing her measure go forward.

The current version of the "No Fly, No Buy" bill was introduced by Sen. Martin Heinrich, a Democrat from New Mexico, and Sen. Susan Collins, a Republican from Maine. The reason why Rep. John Lewis, a Democrat from Georgia, has been leading a sit-in on the floor of the house is because the Republican Speaker of the House, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, is refusing to allow for the bill to be considered in the House.

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House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat from California told Joe Seyton of that “87 percent of the American people say ‘pass no-fly, no-buy. 70-some percent of those are Republicans, 70-some of them are members of the NRA. I don’t think it has anything to do with the Second Amendment. I think it has everything to do with our oath of office to keep the American people safe.”

The ball is now in Speaker Ryan's court. If he allows this bill to come to the floor of the House, members will then have the opportunity to debate the merits and demerits of the bill before voting on whether or not to pass it. Should the bill pass the House with no additional amendments, it would then be signed off on by the Senate before going to President Obama's desk for his signature. The President has indicated his strong support of the measure, calling it "insane" that people who are on the no-fly list are able to purchase firearms.


"If you're too dangerous to board a plane, you're too dangerous, by definition, to buy a gun," President Obama said in the wake of the San Bernardino shooting which left 14 dead and 17 wounded. Here's hoping that Speaker Ryan will have a change of heart, and allow this almost-decade old gun sense proposal get a vote on the House floor.