Gun Control Advocates Continuing to Exploit Tragedies to Push Legislation
Before the blood had even dried on the floors where the lives of 14 innocent people in San Bernardino were stolen, gun control advocates had already began using the tragedy to renew a push for gun control.
On December 3, less than 24 hours after the shootings Senator Diane Feinstein, a California Democrat, offered an amendment which would permit the Government to prevent someone on the no fly list to purchase firearms. President Obama has also expressed support for such a law. At first glance this law may seem sensible, as no one wants firearms in the hands of terrorists. However, like many gun control proposals, this idea falls flat on closer examination.
In the United States Supreme Court cases of D.C. v. Heller and City of Chicago v. McDonald, the Supreme Court stated that the Second Amendment right to keep & bear arms was a fundamental right. Fundamental rights are the most carefully protected rights under the United States Constitution. Other fundamental rights include the right to free speech, due process, the right to parent one’s children, the right to interstate travel, and the right to free exercise of religion. Other rights that the Supreme Court has found to be fundamental are the right to abortion, marriage, and contraception.
In order to deny a person of their fundamental rights due process must exist. For example to deny a person of the right to own a firearm due to a criminal conviction the person must have been found guilty of a disqualifying offense in a court of law. To allow the Government to simply decree that anyone on the no fly list would lose a fundamental right is dangerous and does not comport with any semblance of due process. The no fly list is an expansive list believed to contain approximately 50,000 names. Many of these people are on the list as results of mistaken identity or because they share a name that is similar to someone properly on the list. To strip these people of their fundamental right to own a firearm clearly violates the Constitution. It would also set a dangerous precedent. The people pushing this law would never support the Government being able to decree that a person would lose their free speech rights or the hotly contested right to an abortion. Imagine if a pro-life advocate proposed a law that allowed a state attorney general to single-handedly strip an individual of her ability to obtain an abortion.
As often happens after a tragedy, gun control advocates have proposed laws that may sound like they are “common sense gun laws”, but upon further examination they have the potential to strip innocent people of their firearm rights without due process and set a dangerous precedent that could allow the Government to strip other executive rights by executive decree. Gun control advocates must understand that by attacking the right to bear arms in this manner they also weaken other fundamental rights that they hold dear.
We must all be very wary of any laws immediately proposed in the wake of a tragedy. The other lesson is to not support any law without carefully examining what the law would actually do no matter how reasonable or “common sense” it may seem at first glance.