The New! Improved! Bipartisan! Gun Bill Is ALSO Unconstitutional…And The Statements Of The Senators About It Are Nauseating

Collins et al

The New York Times, which apparently only respects that part of the Constitution that protects biased and dishonest newspapers, cheers a newly  proposed anti-gun measure as one that “puts new muscle and momentum behind what would be one of the few restrictions placed on gun ownership in the past 20 years.”

It also takes away the rights of citizens without due process of law.

The compromise bill, proposed by Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) and backed by Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), was cooked up a day after the Senate, in the words of the Times, “refused to advance any of four measures intended to make it harder for suspected terrorists to buy guns.”

No, that’s U.S. citizens who have not been convicted of any crime, not “suspected terrorists.” It is not a crime to be suspected of anything. The government cannot take away your rights because it suspects something, or fears you might do something in the future.

Is that really such a difficult concept from elected officials and journalists? Why is that?

“Surely the terrorist attacks in San Bernardino and Orlando that took so many lives are a call for compromise, a plea for bipartisan action…Essentially, we believe if you are too dangerous to fly on an airplane, you are too dangerous to buy a gun,” Collins said in a news conference.

I call on my fellow citizens in Maine to remove this incompetent woman from her high office, for she is unfit to serve:

1. People who are on no-fly lists are NOT too dangerous to fly on an airplane. The government says they are, without a judicial finding or a public hearing. That’s a material difference.

2. Tragic events do not justify “compromising” a nation’s civil rights, and officials that believe that cannot be trusted to defend those rights, as they are sworn to do.

3. Again, the primary right being compromised in all of these measures is the right to due process, as assured  in the Fifth Amendment in the Bill of Rights.

4. Essentially, I believe if a U.S. Senator are too ignorant to recognize an obvious breach of due process in a bill she’s proposing, she is too incompetent to be trusted to represent a state in the U.S. Senate.

Senator Collins’ proposal would prohibit gun sales to citizens the FBI suspects might commit terrorist acts  and who are placed on the government’s “no-fly” list or its “selectee” list.

“Those lists, containing a total of about 109,000 people, of whom just 2,700 are American citizens,” says the Times. Oh, well that’s okay then! As long as we’re only  unconstitutionally abridging the rights of 2,700 citizens.  The Times approvingly notes that this is a smaller group than the federal terrorist screening database, “which includes about one million names and was the focus of a proposal sponsored by Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California.”

Rationalization #22: “It’s not the worst thing.”

The Maine Senator’s  bill would bar gun sales to anyone on the two lists, but—now this is the beauty part!—allow for an appeal by any citizen or green card holder blocked from making a purchase and it would award lawyer’s fees if the appeal is successful.

That’s not how rights work, Senator, Senators, gun-hating zealots and post-Orlando hysterics. We have the rights, now, solidly, and the government needs to prove that we can’t be trusted with them to take them away. Collins’ bill places the burden of proof on citizens to show they can have their rights restored after the government removes them. Doesn’t everybody see that? If the bill allowed the government to put you on a no-speech list, making it a crime to express your opinion, would that be fine with you as long as you could appeal the decision, spend thousands for a lawyer, upend your life for a year or more, and hope that you could recover your expenses—but not your time and reputation—if you prevailed?

This could only pass through the flawed ethics alarms of those who don’t believe the Second Amendment describes a real civil right. It is, though. And if one right can be removed without due process, any right can. All you need, for addled and pandering officials like Collins, are enough constitutionally ignorant people screaming that we have to “do something.”

Collins’ bill would also  federal and local law enforcement agencies to be notified if anyone who had been on the lists in the previous five years seeks to buy a weapon, since Omar Mateen once was on a no-fly list but had been removed. Does that mean that you could sue to get your rights back, win, be taken off the lists, and still be penalized for exercising your Second Amendment rights? Oh, sure, why not? The whole exercise is designed to make people feel like Matten won’t kill all those people in a parallel universe after the bill is passed and we go back in time.

Meanwhile, the statements by the Senators of both parties are shockingly deficient of ethical instincts or proper respect for the Constitution:

Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) : “I think it’s a slippery slope when an American citizen is denied a constitutional right without forcing the government to come forward with some evidence on the front end, as opposed to leaving that on the back end. But we’ll see how the vote comes out.”

GOP Senate Leader Mitch McConnell:  “I’m going to be working to make sure she gets a vote on that proposal.”

No, no. The proposal is unconstitutional, under the Fifth Amendment. It is irresponsible to bring it to a vote.

Senator Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), while admitting that the the bill “has flaws”: “It’ll be the first time that in a bipartisan way, with significant Republican support, the N.R.A. is told, ‘You’re way off-base.”

Ah, yes, it is worth defying the Constitution and the guarantee of due process to stick it to a private organization that exists to defend another civil right, the curs. Thus stands the maturity and motivations of our legislators.

Incredible.

Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA): “I am sick of the shootings. I am sick of the vigils. I am sick of the homicide victims’ support groups. I am sick of the claims that we’ll do something about it. I am sick of the partisan rhetoric and I am really sick of getting to the end of all of it and not doing something about it, and seeing that happen again and again and again and again.”

So now you’re sick of the Constitution.

Got it.

[Note: Ethics Alarms is officially designating the post-Orlando freak-out an ethics train wreck, henceforth called “The Orlando Terrorist Ethics Train Wreck.” It is arguably just a continuation of the Sandy Hook Ethics Train Wreck, but I think it deserves its own title.]

33 thoughts on “The New! Improved! Bipartisan! Gun Bill Is ALSO Unconstitutional…And The Statements Of The Senators About It Are Nauseating

  1. Was failing by 1 vote, so McConnell switched his vote to “No” so he could use a procedural move to bring it up for a vote again this afternoon. That gives him a couple of hours to figure out how to ram it through.

  2. First they wanted to ban firearms outright, but the 2nd Amendment stopped them.

    Then they wanted to stop anyone who had an openly holstered sidearm for interrogation, but the 4th Amendment stopped them.

    Next they wanted to prevent their opposition from speaking and associating by labeling the NRA and other groups as “terror groups”, but the 1st Amendment stopped them.

    Now they want to stop sales by placing people on a secret list without due process, and the 5th Amendment will stop them….right?

    In the future, they’ll want to keep an officer in your home to ensure you aren’t planning a crime with a gun, and I’ll be glad we have the 3rd Amendment.

    • At times like these I am amazed that the Bill of Rights was only added out of a cautious desire to explicitly outline the rights which the framers thought were obvious.

      • The 3rd Amendment really seems obvious, like, who would even do that…and yet…I wouldn’t be surprised anymore. I would have been surprised 10 years ago, but now….no surprise if it happens.

      • I’m surprised they haven’t tried to regulate “the punch” of ammunition yet. i.e. take enough gun powder out of the cartridges available for sale that the velocity is reduced and is less impactful. (Not even sure that’s possible…)

        Of course, that’s just another failed idea because people press their own ammunition all day long as a means of saving money on bulk ammunition.

  3. The due process of law clause within the 5th Amendment is being trashed! If this is allowed to continue, the future of our Constitution will be in serious jeopardy!

    These people need to be stopped in their tracks, right here, and right now! If this is signed into law, this warrants an immediate hearing in the Supreme Court of the United States.

    As my father has said many, many times, “I’m getting damned sick and tired of being damned sick and tired.”

      • Tim LeVier said, “Your blood pressure seems to be elevated. Let’s see if this puts you into cardiac arrest or brings you back down: “Civil Asset Forfeiture” “

        That’s depriving someone of their property without due process of law and in my opinion it’s unconstitutional – period.

        P.S. No change in blood pressure.

  4. “It is not a crime to be suspected of anything.”

    Correct, and I blame the mass ignorance of many Americans who seem to forget the concept of “innocent until proven guilty” once the authorities have someone — not necessarily the perpetrator, but someone — in custody. If they seem guilty to the mob, it doesn’t matter if the evidence does not support their guilt. The mob wants “justice.” Often they just want vengeance. The slippery slope from this problem to restricting rights based on suspicion is short.

      • Michael Ejercito said, “Twelve Angry Men should be required for high school civics.”

        Civics is not required for many High Schools and when a Conservative states that passing a Civics course should be an actual requirement for graduating seniors, the Progressives & Liberals in the left scream bloody murder about government overreach! Imagine that, the left screaming about government overreach. In some cases, it appears that the left wants to continue the dumbing down of society; after all, the less these High School graduates know about civics, the less these future ignorant adults will oppose the boneheaded actions of the political left.

  5. I would disagree about your first comment about no-fly lists. Somebody who has engaged in terrorist activities and could possibly sneak a bomb on a commercial airliner, especially if they are a foreign national from a country that promotes terrorism belongs on such a list. This is a different matter than an common criminal who might be trying to escape US justice by flying to another country. They are entitled to judicial hearing before being put on a no-fly list. Here’s an interesting article on who currently winds up on a no-fly list: http://www.foxnews.com/travel/2015/09/09/8-ways-can-end-up-on-no-fly-list.html

    • *does some finger stretching exercises* Do you feel lucky, punk? Do ya?

      Seriously though, in order:

      “Somebody who has engaged in terrorist activities and could possibly sneak a bomb on a commercial airliner”

      Define ‘terrorist activities’, because the no-fly list doesn’t. Anything that should warrant removal of constitutional rights should also by it’s very nature warrant arrest, no?

      “especially if they are a foreign national from a country that promotes terrorism belongs on such a list.”

      Complete red herring, foreign nationals do not have second amendment rights. .

      “This is a different matter than an common criminal who might be trying to escape US justice by flying to another country.”

      This is true. So is “the sky is blue”, both have about the same amount of relevance to this situation.

      “They are entitled to judicial hearing before being put on a no-fly list.”

      Absolutely untrue. Ignorantly so. The time your average citizen finds out they are on the list is when they’re denied entry onto a plane. Once you’re told you’re on the list, you have to prove your innocence to get off it, which is a complete reversal of the way due process is supposed to work, and then it takes time, effort and lawyers to get your name off it, which disproportionately effects the poor.

      “Here’s an interesting article on who currently winds up on a no-fly list:”

      Did you read it? I don’t think you did. Because if you did, you would have read: “That number reportedly includes 800 Americans, many of whom don’t even know they’re on it. The government sends no official notification to those on the list; many times, people don’t find out until they’re denied boarding at the airport.” and then been less ignorant and not typed: “They are entitled to judicial hearing before being put on a no-fly list.”, but I digress.

      • Yes, I do “feel lucky”. You are wrong about 2nd Amendment right not applying to foreign nationals. Here’s an article about a recent court case that affirmed foreign nationals have 2nd Amendment rights you should look at: http://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/2015/04/johannes-paulsen/non-citizens-right-keep-bear-arms/ Kind of scary eh? Anyway, I tried to provide some information re: the no-fly list I don’t have to define what terrorist activities are. That needs to be clarified by the Federal Courts.

        • It is not up to the courts to fill in the blanks on vague statutes. That turns the judges into legislators rather the adjudicators. I wish we still had Scalia around to explain the obvious. Summary of every one of his opinions: “Can’t you people read? It says right here….” [Disclosure: Scalia was my faculty adviser at UVA Law.)

        • “Kind of scary eh?”

          It might be, but it gets caught up by my firewall, which usually means that it’s bull. I can think of a couple examples (18 U.S.C. 922(g)(5)(B) and 922(y)(2); 27 CFR 478.11 and 478.32 which vastly restrict non-Americans in America on a visa from purchasing firearms or 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(5) which makes it illegal for illegal immigrants to buy arms) which directly contradict what you’re saying, but even assuming you’re right, there is one HELL of an asterisk after the point.

          “Anyway, I tried to provide some information re: the no-fly list”

          No, you linked an article you’d never read and then contradicted it. That’s different.

          “I don’t have to define what terrorist activities are. That needs to be clarified by the Federal Courts.”

          He says, having just made a statement of fact the post previous requiring the term to be defined. I mean… Really…

          “Somebody who has engaged in terrorist activities and could possibly sneak a bomb on a commercial airliner, especially if they are a foreign national from a country that promotes terrorism belongs on such a list.”

          “I don’t have to define what terrorist activities are. That needs to be clarified by the Federal Courts.”

          Go hide your head in a sack.

          • You just can’t admit you’re wrong can you. The number of commercial aircraft brought down by bombs isn’t a small number. So what the hell do you propose we do about that? As far as foreign nationals having 2nd Amendment rights, I think it’s a terrible prescitent in the case I referred to. Don’t you realize that in many states, getting a phony I.d. Is as easy as walking to your neighborhood liquor store? Illegal aliens caught with them should be immediately prosecuted and deported if possible. This will stop many of them from buying guns.

            • “The number of commercial aircraft brought down by bombs isn’t a small number. So what the hell do you propose we do about that?”

              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_airliner_bombing_attacks

              4. 4 in the last DECADE, on the entire PLANET. “Not a small number” my ass, And what does this have to do with anything? I can’t admit I’m wrong? Get your head back in that sack.

              “As far as foreign nationals having 2nd Amendment rights, I think it’s a terrible prescitent in the case I referred to. Don’t you realize that in many states, getting a phony I.d. Is as easy as walking to your neighborhood liquor store? Illegal aliens caught with them should be immediately prosecuted and deported if possible. This will stop many of them from buying guns.”

              Are you off your meds? What the hell does any of this have to do with anything?

  6. Here’s the thing: the left is generally of the opinion that the Constitution is a living document which can be interpreted and reinterpreted until it reached the desired result, at which point it becomes “settled law.” The only difference between a bad interpretation and an unconstitutional interpretation is one vote either way.

    We already lost one conservative vote. If, as I suspect will be the case, Hilary is going to be the 45th president, she is going to STACK SCOTUS with like-minded jurists. It would be very easy for the new Supreme Court to say oops, we got it wrong in Heller, just like they said oops, we got it wrong in Bowers v. Hardwick when they threw it out the window seventeen years later in Lawrence v. Texas. The difference wasn’t the law, the difference wasn’t the morality, the difference was that they now had two more reliable votes on the left in the form of Breyer and Ginsburg.

    So, let’s say Hillary gets elected, and the Senate has to ultimately confirm a much more liberal replacement for Scalia right off the bat. Thomas is rumored to be planning to retire end of 2016, so now the court is 6-3 liberals, which won’t change if Ginsburg is replaced by another liberal. That leaves Kennedy the swing voter and Alito and Roberts of the dedicated conservatives. Kennedy is 79 and may well go soon also. Alito is 66 and Roberts is 61, so they both have some time to go, but frankly, I can’t see either of them sticking it out for four more years, leave alone eight, surrounded by seven justices who are either semi-collegial liberals who profoundly disagree with them or newly appointed ultra-liberals who may not just disagree with them but hold them in not-so-thinly-veiled contempt. They can either retire gracefully (or perhaps just quietly) or be on the losing end of many 7-2 decisions, looking increasingly like relics from a time of silly thinking that the rest of the world has long moved past.

    I believe that under such a court we would see a seismic shift in American jurisprudence. Chief among the changes would be the end of capital punishment on any level, the reclassification of the right to bear arms as a collective, not an individual right, tremendous expansion of the role of government in the individual’s life, and significant curtailment of the First, Fourth, and Fifth Amendment protections.

    The fact is I also think the majority of Americans, or at least a sizable plurality, would be all right with this, or at least that is how the media seems to be playing it. Conservatives are becoming a minority and the conservative ideology – including the right to bear arms – just doesn’t sell with a large segment of the population. Women, single women especially, but also many married women and almost all women with young kids are generally not comfortable with guns. They see them as a greater danger to the owners or their families than to any would-be criminal. Young people, i.e. the same crop of jobless guys lounging around coffee shop tables sporting man-buns and scruffy facial hair and gals posting goofy selfies on pinterest between Pilates classes, know plenty about condoms, homosexuality, and abortion, or at least they think they can all be boiled down to a hashtag, but they haven’t got a clue about what the Bill of Rights says, leave alone how it came to be, or why. As long as the cool dude or the first woman is in charge, it’ll all be ok – the real enemy, in fact the only enemy, is hate, which means anyone who opposes the cool dude of the first woman.

  7. I’m tired of these pusillanimous half measures which would do nothing to prevent terrorism.

    Anyone who pays attention knows that terrorists don’t need firearms, they probably only buy firearms for attacks in the US because they are legally allowed to buy them. If prohibited from legally buying firearms, they will just do like the Paris terrorists did and use illegal firearms or use pressure cooker bombs like the Boston Marathon bombers did. Even if you could somehow keep firearms and bombs out of the hands of people on the terrorist suspect list they will use machetes (Woolrich Barracks, London) or knives (Kunming Rail Station, China). If deprived access to firearms, explosives, pressure cookers, knives, and even pointy sticks, terrorist scould still carry out attacks using their bare hands and teeth. The only way to be safe is to lock these people in prison. As a bonus if the terrorists make a attack the victims will be convictss and no one really cares if convicts die in prison.

    Therefore I demand that congress immediately pass a law that anyone on any of the various terror watch lists/no fly list be immediately thrown in prison and kept in prison until five years after they prove their innocence and are removed from the list (Mahteen was on a watch list but was removed before he bought his guns, so we need the extra five years to be sure).

    /sarc

      • How tone deaf are they? do they want the American people to turn against them- let alone gays in general? I mean, gun control is not a core issue with them. (As far as I know, no jurisdiction ever attempted to restrict firearm ownership on the basis of sexual orientation.)

        https://groups.google.com/forum/#!original/soc.culture.israel/Q0EthNQHxzo/shUE1ocxBwAJ

        How can you tell if someone has corrupt values? This is so simple. All you have to do is ask said such person the following question: Do you condone homosexuality? If their answer is yes, they are corrupt. It doesn’t matter if they are a Christian, a Jew, a Muslim or any other religious faith or people, if they condone homosexuality they are corrupt.

        – American Jewish israeli Hebrew

        I wonder how many people will agree with “American Jewish Israeli Hebrew” because of what the Human Rights Campaign is doing? People may have to find common cause with him if the Human Rights Campaign campaigns against human rights.

      • I was kind of hoping the LGBT community would place the blame for this shooting where it belongs, but I guess that was too much to hope for.

  8. Funny how the left wants anyone in the country illegally to be fully protected by the constitution as soon as they’re here. But it’s okay to deny foreigners a gun. Only a few citizens will be inconvenienced.

    Why isn’t anyone in the Congress or the Executive branch up in arms about ISIS and terrorists? There oughta be a law. Valerie Jarrett has completely succeeded in steering “the conversation” to guns. “Just ignore the man behind the curtain….” You know, the crazy ass Islamic terrorist.

  9. I think we are all barking up the wrong tree; the root problem are the actions associated with unacceptable thoughts. If we want to stop people from killing others then we must control human thoughts by banning unacceptable thoughts and reprogramming the minds of the entire population of the Earth.

    There, all the problems are solved; out with the old thoughts and in with the new and improved thoughts.

    Utopia does exist.

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