In the aftermath of the Orlando shootings, there have been a number of proposals made by the left to fundamentally change the US constitution to limit, our outright ban, the ownership of firearms. This is done with the view to making us safer. Because, as you well know, nothing makes you safer than being stripped of the ability to defend yourself. A particularly silly one comes via Rolling Stone (Why It’s Time to Repeal the Second Amendment), which, when they aren’t running fanciful stories about non-existent rapes by imaginary characters busy themselves by imagining the Bill of Rights rewritten.
At this point, bickering about the niceties of textual interpretation, whether the history of the amendment supports this view or that, and how legislators can solve this problem within the confines of the constitution is useless drivel that will lead to more of the same. We need a mass movement of those who are fed up with the long-dead Founders’ view of the world ruling current day politics. A mass movement of those who will stand up and say that our founding document was wrong and needs to be changed. A mass movement of those who will thumb their nose at the NRA, an organization that is nothing more than the political wing of the country’s gun manufacturers, and say enough is enough.
The Second Amendment must be repealed, and it is the essence of American democracy to say so.
It is safe to say that this, though it is the goal of Obama and Hillary Clinton, is not going to happen unless the process for amending the Constitution is changed radically.
More dangerous is the tiny “reasonable” steps, such as the one being advocated today by presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump
I will be meeting with the NRA, who has endorsed me, about not allowing people on the terrorist watch list, or the no fly list, to buy guns.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 15, 2016
On the surface this sounds reasonable. Why would anyone want to allow anyone on a terror watch list purchase a weapon? Tempting, yes. But how would it be administered? A “law professor” named Adam Winkler proposes special secret courts to strip citizens of their constitutional rights:
THE massacre in Florida is a horrifying reminder that terrorists don’t need airplanes to kill scores of people: All they need are commonplace firearms. Gun-control groups are already issuing calls to do more to keep suspected terrorists from buying guns, while those against stricter gun laws say we shouldn’t deny people their constitutional rights on the basis of mere suspicion. They are both correct. But there is a solution.
Congress should authorize no-buy lists but mandate that appropriate protections be put in place. If the attorney general believes a suspected terrorist should be added to the list, she should have to go to court first and offer up evidence. Only after concluding that the attorney general has probable cause should the court approve the denial of the suspect’s right to buy a gun.
This court proceeding, of course, would be secret. Although that denies the person included on the no-buy list the opportunity to rebut the attorney general’s evidence, we do the same thing every day with search warrants and wiretaps for criminal suspects. Our right to bear arms is no more fundamental than our right to privacy, and treating them similarly can help keep us safer from terrorists.
For maximum secrecy, Congress could assign these probable cause determinations to the jurisdiction of the existing Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. The judges on this court have a deep understanding of the nation’s national security threats.
If you liked the interment of Japanese-Americans during World War II, then you will love this idea. It sets up a system in which evidence you will never be allowed to see is presented, without your knowledge, by an unelected and unaccountable federal lawyer to an anonymous (to you), unelected and unaccountable federal judge with lifetime tenure to decide if you will, probably for the rest of your life, be forbidden to own a firearm. In this proceeding there is virtually zero chance that anyone will care about you because that judge does not want to be known as the guy who let the next Orlando shooter buy a weapon. The odds of the federal lawyer actually caring about the accuracy of the information approaches zero because a) he is on the same team as the investigators, b) his performance evaluation will be based on the number of listings he makes, not the number he determines are unwarranted, and c) he does not want to be known as the guy who let the next Orlando shooter buy a weapon.
And the sophistry of this guy is really amazing. Yes, search warrant and wiretap applications may be sealed but you have the right to challenge the use of anything obtained by those warrants in court. Winkler is proposing a system whereby you never get the chance to challenge either the information used against you or the product, in this case being banned from gun ownership, of the government’s action. (See Trey Gowdy’s response to this after the San Bernardino shooting)
The fact remains that had this policy been in effect it would have done nothing. Omar Mateen, despite having been interviewed three times by the FBI, was not on a watch list.
The left is trying to excuse the lack of political courage on the part of Obama and his cronies in confronting a danger they cannot even speak of, radical Islam, by blaming an administrative procedure. And they are using this to attack the very foundations of liberty in the United States.