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.
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.
[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.]