Gun “Laws” and the Constitution

We the people American Constitution with feather pen

Some states intend to “explore” ways to block those on terror watch lists from buying guns. Already, according to this story, the state of New Jersey blocks people on the list from purchasing guns, something which would seem to be unconstitutional. Consider the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution:

A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

Owning a gun is a Constitutional right, not just a privilege, like driving a car. In addition, the Constitution requires “due process”, which is not something that occurs when someone is added to terror watch lists by anonymous bureaucrats.

As the Huffington Post points out:

  • “[I]rrefutable evidence or concrete facts are not necessary” to make a final determination as to whether a suspicion is “reasonable” [enough to place one on the list].
  • [P]ostings on social media sites … should not be discounted” …  Instead, … [anonymous investigators] should “evaluate the credibility of the source” and, if they judge the content to pose a “reasonable suspicion” of a link to terrorism, nominate the person to the watch list, even if that source is “uncorroborated.”
  • [S]omebody else could just think you’re a potential terror threat.
  • You could be a little terrorist-ish, at least according to someone.
  • [Y]ou could just know someone terrorist-y, maybe.
  • [There’s] a process by which the assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism can move an entire “category of individuals” to an elevated threat status.
  • There have been reports of “false positives,” or instances in which an innocent passenger has been subject to treatment under a no-fly or selectee list because his or her name was similar to that of another individual.

According to this story,

Congress may have declined to ban the sale of guns to people on federal terrorism watch lists, but one state — New Jersey — has, at least theoretically, been stopping such purchases since 2013.

… [T]he system could potentially serve as a model for a handful of other states, including New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Illinois and California, where lawmakers have been exploring ways to restrict sales without an act of Congress [and despite the Constitution].

Under a law signed by Gov. Chris Christie, people buying guns or applying for a firearm permit in New Jersey can be blocked as part of the routine criminal history check, conducted through the National Crime Information Center.

In every state, that NCIC review leads to purchases and permits being rejected if it reveals a disqualifying factor under state or federal law. In most states, that means someone who has a felony conviction, is not a U.S. citizen, or is subject to certain court orders.

Buyers in New Jersey, however, also are rejected if the applicant’s name appears on the NCIC’s “known or appropriately suspected terrorist” list, one of several such terror watch lists maintained by U.S. law enforcement.

There’s a new “law” going into effect in California that similarly bans people, at least for 21 days, from “owning” guns if someone believes they’re a threat to themselves or others. The person believed to be a potential threat has his weapons confiscated!

As three new gun laws go into effect Friday in California, gun purveyors worry that the well-meaning efforts of lawmakers will have a detrimental impact on society.

The most groundbreaking of these laws will allow people to obtain a 21-day restraining order barring a family member from owning guns if it is believed that they are in danger of committing a violent act. [How does one determine the credibility of belief? How can the government violate a person’s constitutional rights based upon another person’s alleged belief?]

A person concerned about the mental state of a family member will be able to make a request to police, who after investigating the claim would submit the petition for a temporary restraining order to a court. [So now police will be required to have medical degrees in psychiatry?] If granted, police will require the subject of the order to surrender any guns and ammunition they already have.

After 21 days, the court holds a hearing to determine if a new year-long order should be instituted.

Now I’m no lawyer but I have been tested multiple times on the Constitution in grade school, high school, and college, so I know in my gut that you can’t punish someone or infringe upon his constitutional rights before a trial and a conviction. Yet in California, if the precogs say so, punishment shall ensue (confiscation without a hearing) and then a judge might have a hearing (not a trial) to determine if punishment should continue for a year, and then maybe another year, ad infinitum? A temporary restraining order can result in loss of a constitutional right? Due process? Hardly.

Consider the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

I’d like to ask all the progressives in places like Soviet California this question:

Will you also be okay with taking away, without due process, the fundamental Constitutional rights to freedom of speech, freedom of the press, or freedom of assembly from persons whom someone else “believes” may become violent, based solely upon that belief–punishment first, hearing after 3 weeks, maybe?

Imagine a President Trump who becomes concerned about potential violence that could RECUR at Black Lives Matter protests, pro-abortion rallies, or pro-illegal-immigration demonstrations. Since such potentially violent protests are organized on social media, should ringleaders’ accounts be suspended, when someone decides that their words or plans might become a danger to the public? Should ringleaders, perhaps, be forced to stay inside their homes, wearing ankle bracelets to ensure that they do–incommunicado–until the potentially violent situation blows over? Should we keep them there for 21 days and then maybe hold a hearing to see if they still remain a threat to the public peace?

When protests become violent, as in Ferguson in 2014, should the media be forbidden from reporting upon the violence or from repeating the rhetoric of the protest ringleaders, to ensure public peace and to protect lives and property?  Prior restraint by judicial injunction is traditionally frowned upon, but so what? If a judge can order someone’s weapons and ammo to be seized based upon opinions, if someone can be forbidden to buy guns based upon speculation by nameless bureaucrats, then what’s to protect the media from prior restraint?

I began writing this post before doing any research to see what’s already been written and said about this issue, which is a very serious issue, given Obama’s intent to go full speed ahead in his final-year effort to “fundamentally transform” our country. I subsequently found a story that repeats much of what I said above, but which says it better, I think. An excerpt:

By now, you’ve heard and read about the schemes proposed by everyone from President Barack Obama to U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., that would ban firearms sales to anyone on the so-called “Terror Watch List.”

And as you probably already know, Republican leaders—and some, but not enough, Democrats—oppose this reckless and dangerous policy, because it violates:

  • the principle of due process under the law, a foundation of American jurisprudence;
  • the notion of “innocent until proven guilty;”
  • the right to hear any charges and confront any witnesses against you;
  • the right to an open trial by a jury of your peers; and
  • the very rule of law upon which this nation was founded.

What you may not know is just how profoundly this scheme endangers not just your Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms, but also the fundamental premise of freedom that’s woven through every fiber in the fabric of the Bill of Rights.

Because if government can deny your Second Amendment rights on nothing more than rumors, suspicions, anonymous accusers and unspecified charges—it can deny every right we enjoy as Americans.

During a Dec. 10 hearing before Congress, U.S. Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., questioned Kelli Ann Burriesci, deputy assistant secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, on this very issue.

“What process is afforded a U.S. citizen before they go on that [terror watch] list?” Gowdy asked, to which Burriesci answered, “I’m sorry, um, there’s not a process afforded the citizen prior to getting on the list …”

Gowdy continued, … My question is, can you name another constitutional right that we have that is chilled until you find out it’s chilled, and then you have to petition government to get it back?

How about the First [Amendment]? How about we not let them set up a website or a Google account? How about we not let ‘em join the church until they can petition government to get off the list? … How about the Sixth Amendment? How ‘bout you can’t get a lawyer until you petition the government to get off the list? Or my favorite, how about the Eighth Amendment? We’re gonna subject you to cruel and unusual punishment until you petition the government to get off the list. Is there another constitutional right that we treat the same way for American citizens that we do the Second Amendment?

California has already gone one step further, allowing for the confiscation of currently legally owned guns upon the opinion of “family members” who “believe” someone might become violent.

It seems, despite the Constitution and current law, some states intend to “nudge” everyone towards a progressive utopia–a gun-free country, except for criminals–in the same way that some states, notably California, and some cities, such as St. Louis, ignored the Constitution and current law by proceeding with “gay marriage”, anyway, illegally and unconstitutionally.

Hey, it worked once, why not go for another bite of the apple?

This is the Obama method, being copied by progressives across the  nation: Ignore the law and the Constitution. Do what you want and dare your opponents to take you to court. Then delay, delay, delay, all the while implementing your unconstitutional and illegal executive “actions” until, you hope, it’s impossible to roll them back.

Until it’s impossible for us to get our country and our freedoms back.

Recently, Saudi Arabia executed (beheaded) 47 prisoners en masse, one of whom was a Shiite cleric who had protested the (Sunni) Saudi government. He’d been accused of “terrorism” and “violence”, charges which he denied. The Saudi “war on terror” was the rationale for his execution (which has led to violent protests throughout the Middle East).

In 2015, at least 157 people were executed in Saudi Arabia, where defendants aren’t provided public defenders, nor are they provided translators, if they can’t speak the language. A person can be executed in that country for drug trafficking, rape, murder, terrorism, violent rhetoric, being a “threat to security,” sometimes only upon the discretion of a judge. Thus, it’s relatively easy in Saudi Arabia to do away with pesky political opponents by accusing them of terrorism or of being a threat to the security of the state.

Kill first; adjudicate later. Even if some court eventually decides that the cleric shouldn’t have been executed, nevertheless, he’s no longer around to hinder the Saudis. Is he?

Are we  now on our way to becoming another Saudi Arabia?

Eternal vigilance!

Evil NEVER sleeps!

#####

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143 responses to “Gun “Laws” and the Constitution

  1. Ted Cruz and Donald Trump clashed in a spectacular way at the Republican presidential debate Thursday, with Cruz coming out well-prepared to rebut the primary front-runner’s claims that his Canadian birth might make him ineligible to run for office – and Trump refusing to give ground.

    Cruz from the outset charged that Trump was only going after the issue because of the polls, and noted he ignored these questions last year.

    “The Constitution hasn’t changed but the poll numbers changed,” the Canada-born Cruz said at the Fox Business Network debate in South Carolina.

    He then tried to flip the script by noting that some “birther theories” that Trump relies on also say a candidate must have two parents born on U.S. soil to be eligible to seek the White House.

    He noted Trump’s mother was born in Scotland.

    Trump countered, “But I was born here … big difference.”

    But Cruz continued and quipped: “On the issue of citizenship, I’m not going to use your mother’s birth against you.”

    This touched off an escalating and intense exchange, punctuated by frequent, thunderous boos and applause from the audience.

    Trump argued that Cruz is exaggerating his poll numbers, but maintained that Democrats could use the questions to file suit against him.

    And if he won, Trump said, “Who the hell knows if you can even serve in office?”

    He called the issue a “big overhang” and said, “You can’t do that to the party.”

    The heated exchange came after the candidates spent their opening moments attacking President Obama and Hillary Clinton. They slammed the president’s “rosy” State of the Union address.

    “On Tuesday night, I watched story-time with Barack Obama, and I gotta tell you, it sounded like everything in the world was going amazing,” New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said.

    Cruz also ripped Obama for omitting any mention of the U.S. sailors detained by Iran in his State of the Union.

    “President Obama didn’t so much as mention the 10 sailors who had been captured by Iran,” he said. “It was heartbreaking.”

    Those sailors were later released.

    Cruz also slammed Obama for saying in the same address that anyone knocking the economy is “peddling fiction.”

    “The president tried to paint a rosy picture of jobs,” Cruz said.

    The debate Thursday was among the last before the kick-off nominating contests of 2016.

    On stage at the Fox Business Network prime-time debate are: Donald Trump; Ted Cruz; Marco Rubio; Ben Carson; Chris Christie; Jeb Bush; and John Kasich.

    The only other debate before the Iowa and New Hampshire contests will be held Jan. 28.

    The tight calendar is fueling new tensions in the GOP race, with Trump trying to knock Cruz down a peg as the Texas senator challenges the billionaire businessman for the Iowa lead, and several candidates in the tier below them stepping up their attacks on virtually any rival near them in the polls.

    Ahead of the debate, Bush, who is spending heavily from his war chest in a bid to recover from his steep slide in the polls, took another swing at Trump. He released a new TV ad Thursday hammering Trump for at one point appearing to mock a reporter’s disability. It shows a clip of Trump imitating the reporter, and then cuts to footage of Bush calling Trump a “jerk” and highlighting the former Florida governor’s work on disabilities issues.

    Trump, for his part, has denied mocking the reporter, but has long since moved past attacking Bush to needling Cruz.

    The Republican front-runner also has been engaged in an unusual battle on the sidelines with South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, who was tapped to give the official GOP response to President Obama’s State of the Union address Tuesday.

    Haley urged Americans to ignore the “angriest voices,” and later acknowledged she was referring to Trump and others. Trump, in response, called Haley “very weak on illegal immigration.”

    The candidate is making no apologies for his tone.

    On Wednesday, Trump described his supporters as not so much a “silent majority” but a “noisy-as-hell majority.”

    An earlier evening debate featured three lower-polling candidates — former HP CEO Carly Fiorina; former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee; and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum. Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul qualified but did not attend.

    The debates were held at the North Charleston Coliseum and Performing Arts Center in North Charleston, S.C.

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