Let’s talk for a bit about the so-called “narrow” and “common sense” compromise being put forward by Democrats — and a few Republicans, notably Susan Collins (R-ME), to block people from buying guns if they’re “on a terror watch list.”
Sounds reasonable, right?
Well, it’s not.
And the reason it’s not has nothing to do with letting terrorists have guns. Nobody in their right mind wants to have someone who is an actual terrorist walk into a gun store and buy a firearm — or 10.
Rather, we blew it when we allowed the creation of “watch lists” that are (1) secret, (2) constrain people (e.g. “no-fly” lists) and (3) have no due process protections of any sort associated with them.
These are all unconstitutional, I remind you, to the extent they apply to American citizens.
Now it happens to be completely constitutional for The President (via the State Department) to bar anyone that is not a US Citizen from entering the country — whether by air, train, boat, car, walking or teleportation. Not only is there no Constitutional problem with doing so it is explicitly authorized by statute and no less than Jimmy Carter did exactly that during the Iranian Hostage Crisis (I’ll bet you know what group of people he banned too, right?)
Today politicians on both sides of the aisle — including Obama — like to claim that this is not “who we are.” Did they forget Carter?
It sure sounds like it.
The problem with “Secret Lists” is that there is no way to know if you’re on one up front and, if you discover you are (while trying to board a plane or buy a gun, for example) your liberties are infringed without due process of law and, often, without any means of challenge.
The government claims that disclosing this information means that their investigations may be “thwarted.” And? The issue isn’t that they have a list of people they’re watching — that’s called investigation and is part and parcel of any legitimate law enforcement agency. No, it’s the disability they impose without due process, without trial and without, in many cases, anything that would be regarded as actionable evidence of a crime.
If the government wishes to conduct investigations before getting warrants, that’s part of police work.
But imposing disabilities, including barring people from getting on a plane or buying a gun when you cannot make the case that a crime is in the process of being committed is unconstitutional, impermissible in a free society and must be stopped in its entirety.
Those who argue otherwise are IMHO not Americans and to the extent they’re in positions of political power they are not only not American they’re violating long-standing law (18 USC 242 and 42 USC 1983) and must be both civilly sued and criminally prosecuted for their crimes. (For more from the author of “How We Lost the Constitution” please click HERE)