The Constitution and Bill of Rights exist to protect our civil liberties from government. And that’s true whether the attack on our rights is legislative or bureaucratic. For instance:
- Our 1st Amendment rights to participate in the political process are – or at least should be – inviolate, even if some politicians think they can magically legislate away our rights to political speech.
- Our 2nd Amendment right to keep and bear arms is – or at least should be – inviolate, even though many politicians want to curtail our ability to defend ourselves.
- Our 4th Amendment right to block the government from spying on us without a search warrant is – or at least should be – inviolate, even though it has been unfortunately narrowed.
- Our 5th Amendment rights against the government taking our life, liberty, and property without due process are – or at least should be – inviolate, notwithstanding politicians who want more power for government.
As a lawyer, Hillary Clinton should these simple facts about the Bill of Rights.
But if this tweet is any indication, she must have slept through those lectures while at law school.
Yup, her position is that you lose your constitutional rights if some bureaucrat puts you on a secret list. Sort of like the Department of PreCrime from Minority Report.
If you wonder why this matters, check out Congressman Trey Gowdy’s brilliant evisceration of one of Obama’s political appointees.
Though it’s important to note that this isn’t – or shouldn’t be – a partisan or ideological issue. There are some honest folks on the left who very much support the right to due process and are very critical of the White House’s agenda.
For what it’s worth, at least some pro-gun control politicians admit that the Constitution is an obstacle.
As reported by the Washington Examiner, Senator Manchin of West Virginia is honest about his desire to run roughshod over the Bill of Rights.
Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., said Thursday that due process is one of the “big problems” standing in the way of lawmakers passing legislation that would keep suspected terrorists from purchasing firearms, and argued that the Fifth Amendment is “killing us right now.” “The problem we have, and really the firewall we have right now, is due process. It’s all due process,” he said Thursday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
Then again, if Hillary and her supporters think that merely being a suspect of wrongdoing is sufficient to take away people’s rights, then perhaps this sarcastic response to Mrs. Clinton should be a serious proposal.
By the way, the Orlando terrorist apparently wasn’t on the no-fly list, according to Bloomberg, so Obama, Clinton, and others don’t even have a factual basis for this latest assault on the Bill of Rights.
Interestingly, the White House admitted late last year that no mass shootings would have been stopped by any of the Administration’s anti-gun proposals, and it appears that is still the case today.
Now let’s look at the practical case against more gun control, especially with regards to the campaign against so-called assault weapons (which, other than some cosmetic features, are the same as traditional rifles).
John Lott and Larry Correia already have produced very powerful evidence in defense of these weapons.
Now here’s a video on the topic from a former Navy Seal.
The Wall Street Journal also is appropriately dismissive of calls for additional gun control.
Hillary Clinton and other Democrats have called for reinstating Bill Clinton’s ban on “assault weapons.” If her version works as well as her husband’s did, the terrorists will have won. From 1994 to 2002 Congress barred the sale of 18 types of rifles and shotguns that had “military style” attributes. This definition was purely political…the ban had a negligible impact on gun crime. So-called assault rifles accounted for about 2% of gun crimes prior to the ban, and the percentage of murders committed with rifles today (2% in 2014) is less than the 3% in the last year of the ban. …numerous studies, including one commissioned by the Department of Justice, …found no link to the ban and reduced crime.
For what it’s worth, places with lots of gun control (such as Europe) don’t get good results.
The media this week are full of stories about gun-death rates, without bothering to note that most of the surge is occurring in cities like Chicago that have the strictest gun laws. …As for stopping terrorism, California is among the states that continued to ban assault weapons after the federal version expired. But that didn’t stop the San Bernardino killers, who used modified rifles that violated the law. France’s strict gun laws also didn’t stop the Paris assailants.
Also writing for the Wall Street Journal, a lawyer from Florida, Ms. Ashley Lukis, is understandably irked by those who want to use terrorism as an excuse for gun control.
Instead of blaming the perverse militants who have formed a “caliphate” in Iraq and Syria, who are burning people alive, who are raping and murdering women and children, and who are engaging in an aggressive global propaganda campaign to encourage precisely the murderous behavior that we saw in Orlando, in San Bernardino, in Brussels and in Paris—many Americans are attacking other law-abiding citizens who happen to hold a different interpretation of the Constitution. …We are dealing with terrorism. We are talking about evil individuals who will happily strap bombs to their bodies or hijack a commercial airliner or set off homemade explosives in the middle of a crowded street. And the best solution you can come up with is domestic gun control? …The solution to terrorism is not to pass imperfect laws that will palliate the masses until next time. Nor is the solution to look inward, to make speeches, to tweet about your grief or start a hashtag. The solution to terrorism is not to blame the gun lobby.
But let’s not stop there, because there are some people who deserve to be blamed.
Kevin Williamson’s National Review column is must reading. He starts by dismissing the left’s proposals.
The Democrats’…proposal — having police agencies compile secret lists of possible subversives and revoking their legal rights with nothing resembling due process — is plainly unconstitutional, and wouldn’t withstand five minutes’ legal examination. …they’re talking about: keeping a list of people who have been identified by police agencies as possible threats, but who never have been charged with, much less convicted of, any crime, and rescinding their ordinary constitutional rights without so much as a court hearing. We cannot prohibit people from buying guns with no due process for the same reason we cannot subject them to arbitrary incarceration or hunt them for sport. …Study after study after study has shown that the assault-weapon ban had zero effect on violent crime when it was in effect, and it almost certainly wouldn’t have one now, either. …Democrats keep saying that they don’t want to take away our guns, but that is, in fact, what this policy would demand.
But what we can do – but don’t – is actually enforce existing laws.
Such as those against “straw buyers.”
These cases are lots of work and generally don’t ensnare big-time criminals, but rather the idiot nephews, girlfriends, and grandmothers of big-time criminals. Putting those people in federal penitentiaries for ten years isn’t going to win anybody any friends. But they are the people who render our current background-check laws ineffective against the criminals who have turned parts of Chicago into a free-fire zone. Putting a few dozen of them away for a few dozen years might provide a strong disincentive for other would-be straw buyers, particularly those who (as is not uncommon) engage in straw buying as a commercial endeavor.
Or when the government botches the background check.
In tens of thousands of cases each year, the FBI discovers, after the fact, that the sale should not have proceeded. At this point, it issues an alert to the ATF, which in most cases then . . . does nothing at all. In a study of the 2000 data, there were about 45,000 sales that the FBI wrongly allowed to proceed, and in about 38,000 of those cases, no effort was made to recover the firearm. …Picking up wrongly sold guns isn’t that big a chore. In fact, since most of these prohibited buyers have committed a serious crime in buying a gun (though many of them may not have known it — otherwise, why go to a licensed dealer?) a strongly worded letter (“Return your gun to the dealer or go to federal prison”) and a bit of follow-up ought to do the trick.
And that gets us to Kevin’s main point.
The government does a crappy job of stopping bad guys for the simple reason that government does a crappy job of doing anything.
…killers and future killers are on the street committing their crimes because our criminal-justice system, with its vast resources, does not do its job. The police, the prosecutors, the jailers, and the parole-and-probation authorities all must answer for the fact that such a large share of our murders are committed by people already well known to law enforcement. …a fair number of crimes that could be prevented, if the people we pay to prevent them were willing to do the old-fashioned police work necessary: running down criminals, prosecuting unglamorous cases, properly managing parolees. But those jobs are entrusted to government employees, whose unions are irreplaceable benefactors of Democratic political campaigns. …expecting the generously compensated and gorgeously pensioned employees of the public sector to do their goddamned jobs…is, if you’re a scheming, opportunistic lowlife like Chuck Schumer, unthinkable.
Exactly. As Mark Steyn has noted, what’s the point of having a bloated and sclerotic public sector if it doesn’t even do the small handful of things that are legitimate functions of government?
No wonder researchers have found that small government is more efficient.
P.S. In addition to the gentleman cited above, there are other honest folks on the left.
In 2012, I shared some important observations from Jeffrey Goldberg, a left-leaning writer for The Atlantic. In his column, he basically admitted his side was wrong about gun control.
Then, in 2013, I wrote about a column by Justin Cronin in the New York Times. He self-identified as a liberal, but explained how real-world events have led him to become a supporter of private gun ownership.
P.P.S. If you like pro-Second Amendment videos, here’s a great collection.
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