This picture showed up the other day on my Facebook feed:
The National Rifle Association, for what it is worth, is politically powerful because it represents a vast number of voters. So being “in the pocket of the National Rifle Association” is a way to disparage the voters. That is all.
But aside from the NRA smear, what are we to make of Liberals who think it is a good idea to arbitrarily deprive you of your rights without a trial?
In fact, lots of Liberals are realizing that position is fundamentally illiberal.
Thus, Cathy Gellis writes in The Daily Beast, “My Fellow Liberals, Don’t Support Obama’s Terror Watch List Gun Ban.”
I’m seeing a lot of friends and others who generally hang out near me on the left of the political spectrum express outrage at a recent vote in Congress to reject fixing what at first glance seems like a terrible loophole: People on the terrorist watch list can still buy guns. Even President Barack Obama, who called Sunday night for a law that would prevent people on a subset of the terror watch list from purchasing a firearm, is among this crowd.
Their outrage stems from the logical reaction, “If there are people we think are bent on doing us harm, why are we giving them easy access to the tools to do it?”
The concern is reasonable. The proposed remedy—to deny people on the watch list the ability to buy guns—is not, however. Not because it has anything to do with guns, but because it has to do with lists.
As Americans we understand well how important due process is. No one, for instance, should be thrown in jail just on the say-so of some government official who declares they deserve it. Such is the behavior of tyrants, the Founding Fathers understood, and so we enshrined in our Constitution the right to counsel, the right against being compelled to testify against oneself, the right to trial by jury, etc.
As she points out, the various terror lists (there are several) are unverified and those put on them have never had their day in court.
With the New York Times calling for gun confiscation, it seems strange to hear a liberal object to a “no gun list.” But she sees a threat to the Bill of Rights in the arbitrariness of the list.
But based on the plain text of the Second Amendment and subsequent jurisprudence it is clear that some right is in there somewhere, and what this proposal calls for is for the government to arbitrarily and un-transparently deny this right to certain people without any sort of the due process ordinarily required. And that’s a problem.
Normally we do not let the government strip people of their rights without demonstrating why they deserve to be deprived of them.
Duh. And Republicans overwhelmingly prevented this from happening while Democrats went along with throwing away Due Process.