Democrat sit-in protests Constitution’s due process on gun rights
Yes, you read that correctly.
Democrats want to use the government’s “No Fly List” to prohibit gun purchases. Republicans are busy explaining how the list is rife with problems and agreeing with the American Civil Liberties Union’s position raising serious constitutional questions.
The partisan roles are mirror opposites from a decade ago, when former Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., found himself prohibited from air travel because of a clerical error on the No Fly List. ”How are [average citizens] going to be able to get to be treated fairly and not have their rights abused?” he asked during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in 2004.
Now Democrats are sitting, singing and screaming in favor of government power to divest Americans of a constitutional right because their names appear in a government database.
Yes, I’m aware that it’s a sophisticated database based on American intelligence to render “predictive judgments” about future crimes. It’s so sophisticated that even Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga.—the leader of the current sit-in on the House floor—found himself erroneously captured on it. If Americans on the No Fly List are actually terrorists who have broken our laws, we should arrest and prosecute them. If not…well, that’s the whole point of Due Process. Removing individual liberties based on anticipation of future crimes isn’t something we do; it’s the plot of the 2002 science-fiction movie “Minority Report.”
The same Democrats now congratulating themselves about the “historic” nature of their current protest also clamored for the closure of the government’s Guantanamo Bay facility on grounds that even the world’s most dangerous terrorists should have Due Process rights. The idea even made it into the Democratic Party’s 2008 platform.
My, my, how the times have changed.
The Democrats’ current sit-in is more akin to the constitutionally “creative” anti-terror policies of the Bush administration than the civil-rights protests of the 1960s. Champions of civil rights like Lewis previously fought to limit government’s power over individual liberties. Now Democrats advocate the exact opposite approach because the issue involves guns instead of race.
We have options for gun-policy changes that actually address firearms access for people whose gun rights have already been legally removed by our judicial system. Improve the quality of and access to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). That list needs as much work as any, but at least it’s based on gun prohibitions that include Due Process, such as criminal convictions and mental health adjudications. Once we improve the list, how about allowing private gun sellers to voluntarily submit transactions to NICS and giving them legal liability protection for doing so?
The truth is that Democrats could put forth a wide range of gun-control measures that don’t involve the No Fly List. Some might be successful, most won’t. Imposing new restraints on any constitutionally protected right isn’t easy and it shouldn’t be.
Democrats can’t be bothered with that protracted process. They’re too busy sitting on the floor, begging for an emotional political response and blatantly ignoring the Constitution.