Tying Rights To Useless 'Terrorist Watchlists' Is A Terrible Idea

from the the-right-to-remain-rightless dept

No matter how you may feel about the Second Amendment or firearms themselves, there’s no way you can feel comfortable with access to Constitutional rights being predicated on something as worthless as the government’s ever-expanding “you might be a terrorist” lists.

But that’s what’s being sought by legislators. In the wake of the Orlando shooting, politicians are searching for answers to unpredictable violent acts, and have seized on the FBI’s multiple investigations of the shooter as a potential terrorist for deciding who can or can’t obtain a gun. A “dramatic” sit-in by Congressional reps hoped to force the issue, even though it ended up pushing nothing forward at all.

Some legislators want gun ownership tied to terrorist watchlists — the same watchlists that have turned 4-year-olds into suspected terrorists and designated entire families as suspicious simply because a single member somewhere in the branches of the family tree is under investigation.

This kneejerk reaction not only would eliminate rights but also any form of due process. As it stands now, there’s very little chance anyone wrongly designated as a suspected terrorist by the US government will be able to remove themselves from these lists. A recent court decision about the TSA’s “no fly” list has at least raised the redress procedure to “extremely difficult” from its previous status as “nonexistent.”

But that’s only one of the government’s terrorist watchlists. Another watchlist contains thousands of Americans with no known ties to any terrorist group. The fact that these known unknowns comprise 40% of the watchlist is only part of the problem.

As we’ve seen from the FBI’s neverending series of terrorist investigations, the government is more than happy to create all the “terrorists” it needs to ensure a steady flow of income to certain agencies and a steady decline in civil liberties for the rest of us.

Even if the list used to deny gun purchases is limited to those deemed too dangerous to board an aircraft (but not dangerous enough to arrest), rights will be denied to thousands who’ve never done anything wrong. The no fly list is a debacle as anyone but the TSA (and those pushing this legislation) will admit. The no fly list has, in the past, contained both people no one would normally consider unfit for gun ownership (Sen. Ted Kennedy, Rep. John Lewis), as well as an 18-month-old toddler. Accurate, it is not, and yet, legislators are more than willing to strip a right away from citizens based on an incredibly flawed database. Logic has no place in gun control arguments, though, as Rep. John Lewis is one of the legislators leading the charge, even though he should know personally how worthless and inaccurate the no fly list is.

What’s even more disconcerting is the number of politicians who believe multiple rights should be stripped from those on watchlists. Senator Joe Manchin actually let these words tumble out of his mouth during an interview with MSNBC.

Really, the firewall we have right now is due process. It’s all due process. So we can all say we want the same thing, but how do we get there? If a person is on a terrorist watch list, like the gentleman, the shooter in Orlando? He was twice by the FBI — we were briefed yesterday about what happened — but that young man was brought in twice. They did everything they could. The FBI did everything they were supposed to do. But there was no way to keep him on the nix list or keep him off the gun-buy list, there was no way to do that.

So can’t we say that if a person’s under suspicion there should be a five-year period of time that we have to see if good behavior, if this person continues the same traits? Maybe we can come to that type of an agreement, but due process is what’s killing us right now.

Due process is “killing” Americans. And he’s not the only one who feels this way. Senator Dianne Feinstein believes Americans are born with only one inalienable right: the right to earn their other rights by “proving their innocence.”

Dems now expect Americans to “prove your innocence” before taking advantage of Constitutional rights.

All the while, legislators are tossing out catchy slogans like, “No Fly, No Buy” with zero awareness of the implications of that action. Others claim such a law would have prevented the Orlando shooting, similarly unaware of the fact that the shooter wasn’t on a terrorist watchlist when he purchased his guns.

If lawmakers want to prevent suspected terrorists from purchasing guns, they need to base this on something far better maintained and narrowly defined than our current terrorist watchlists. The ones we have operate as dragnets — bulk surveillance but for human beings. These lists already eliminate due process. They shouldn’t be used to further diminish citizens’ rights just because the perpetrator in the latest mass shooting was the subject of a terrorism investigation.

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Comments on “Tying Rights To Useless 'Terrorist Watchlists' Is A Terrible Idea”

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Fock A Gunstore says:

Anyone capable of buying illicit drugs can buy guns illegally. Even if Mateen had been unable to pass the check necessary to buy a gun legally, he could easily have purchased guns on the black market. This market isn’t just some mysterious secret society that only a rare few can access. Freakin’ high school kids routinely brandish illegally acquired guns, offer the for sale to their pals, or their fathers’s pals, etc. I’ve known plenty of everyday petty dope dealers and most of them also took guns as payment and also sold these guns.

When guns are criminalized, only criminals will have guns, and most of the people then buying guns will not be responsible, law abiding, sober people but people more likely to be visiting and hanging out with drug dealers and users, etc. Oh, and VIPs, of course, including the politicians, CEO, celebs, etc calling for the rest of us to lose our 2nd amendment rights.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

They don’t care, they never did.

Everyone speaking against the 2nd are nothing more than sycophant that chase an unrealistic fantasy in the name of their political dogma while shit talking others for doing the same for their political dogma.

Everyone has an agenda, religion, or bias and the people that say they don’t are the ones you need to be concerned with the most!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Exactly. Prohibition didn’t work, making drugs illegal doesn’t work and repealing the 2nd amendment won’t work. In the case of the latter, we will be so much less safe it won’t even be funny. Home invasions while you are home will skyrocket. The only thing keeping people out of your home while you are home is their fear that you are armed.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: repealing the 2nd amendment won't work

Because the USA has an amendment for that. The fact that you want to give up your rights and submit to the government doesn’t mean the rest of us want to.

You must be a democrap because they cry freedom and tolerance all the while trying to take away people’s freedoms.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: repealing the 2nd amendment won't work

Are you really that much of an idiot. Clamping down on guns only effects the distribution of guns across the general populous. The gun availability of any criminally inclined group is very high. We see enough of this here amongst the various bikie gangs as well as other gang groups.

Restricting guns doesn’t make us more safe. Anyone who wants to get a gun badly enough WILL get a gun. If they want to use it, they will use it. You cannot stop such activity AND these weapons are completely unregulated.

Many years ago, I went to Singapore (which has some pretty draconian laws) and was told by a native Singaporean that the likelihood of getting shot during a crime there was extremely low due to the fact that it was an automatic death sentence for anyone even carrying a firearm during any crime, let alone using it. However, expect to be stabbed or otherwise during a crime as these didn’t have an automatic death sentence applicable.

There are various ways to deal with whatever problems arise with firearm ownership. But people like you don’t consider the unintended consequences of your views and instead of being a considered thinker and apologist for your views, you make unthinking and unreasoned statements that offer nothing to the actual discussion.

There are a whole range of reasons that are applicable for gun ownership and there are many ways to ensure that responsible ownership occurs. But this means that society as a whole has to have, as one of its basic premises, a view that each person is responsible for their own decisions and that they are responsible for the consequences that arise from those decisions, good or bad.

Certainly, this is not the case in our western societies. We have been engendering a blame mentality for many, many years and taking responsibility for oneself and the decisions made is NOT a feature of today. We see this outworked in our governments, our businesses, or schools, our law enforcement, our military, our general community.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Are you really that much of an idiot.

Yeah sure. What countries has it actually worked in? It is not good enough for you to just say the evidence is in, unless you can give specific evidence for your view. But of course, Larry is unable to present any real evidence that backs his claim because he can’t see beyond his Pākehā nose. Am I right or am I right? Or am I right?

Lawrence D’Oliveiro says:

Re: Re: Re:4 What countries has it actually worked in?

Australia, which hasn’t had a single mass shooting since 1996, the year of the Port Arthur massacre. Because they didn’t just tighten the gun laws, they also instituted a buy-back amnesty so they would be sure to take the deadliest weapons out of circulation.

The UK has enjoyed an overall drop in violent crime since bringing in tighter gun laws after the Dunblane massacre.

If New Zealand were to have the same per-capita rate of school shootings as the USA, we would be suffering one or two per decade. In fact, we haven’t had a single one in close to a century.

Then there is Japan, of course, where gun culture is almost completely absent. Because their ideas of “what it means to be a man” are built around the concept of honour, not macho posturing.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: "Clamping down on guns works in other countries"

Actually it doesn’t. Russia, for instance, still has a higher homicide rate per capita than the US even though guns are illegal throughout.

Gun control will reduce suicides. That is the one factor that was noted changed with Australia gun ownership regulation. A handgun in your house will increase your suicide risk. Also like any other dangerous device or amenity, you have to soberly consider the risks of it getting misused, or accidentally injuring someone.

(Here in California, you can’t shoot if you’re intoxicated enough that you can’t fly a plane. In many other states, there are no such restrictions against drunken shooting. It causes problems, but not usually rampage killings.)

However, violence in the US has been down to 1960s levels, including rampage shootings, and that is in contrast to an era in which gun regulations were more strict. Generally the discontinued use of leaded gasoline is credited with the drop.

Most other countries haven’t seen a period in which guns are unregulated, so it’s difficult to say how open access to guns is going to affect them (which they’ll face once gun prototypes can be printed and easily turned into smithed components.) Then, like Australia we’ll have a chance to see how their culture responds.

But here in the US, we have something of a populist culture in which it is believed that the common person commands their own destiny with the tools they have to work the land and protect themselves. This includes the equalizing factor of the handgun. Without one, you are at the mercy of someone twice your size who intends you harm. With it, the match is more even. In the 20th century we relied on law enforcement when we chose to go unarmed.

Since Ferguson, though, it has become evident that the police are not interested in enforcing the law but serving the survival of their agencies and their brethren. In fact, policy often suggests they regard civilians as the enemy. Hence officers and agents will seize whatever civilian riches suit them, and gun down anyone they don’t like, knowing that they will not be punished severely for murder.

While I am not a gun owner, I would not want the civilian population excluded from carrying arms without also excluding law enforcement. But I am sure they would refuse to cooperate with such an initiative.

Whatever says:

Re: Re: Re:2 "Clamping down on guns works in other countries"

Pointing to Russia is a pretty bad choice. That is a country where the vast majority (including the “dictator”) ignore the laws or change them when they are not convenient.

A better example would be Australia.


Can you imagine the change in the US if homicides fell 59% in the next decade?

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 an effective enforcement framework

…is something the United State does not have, for drugs or terror, wars against which we invest hundreds of billions for no real additional safety. So I don’t expect one to work with guns either.

As I noted before, those nations without guns are going to have to face the imminent reality in which home-brew guns and bullets become easy to produce, while not (necessarily) as good a quality as factory-produced weapons, they’ll be sufficient enough for committing crimes, and those nations will have to come to terms with a new age in which criminals can access guns a lot more easily than they could before. (It’s actually a good thing in African regions in which non-criminals with guns happily oppress criminals without guns.)

Gun control through law and even collection is soon going to be an obsolete measure.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: The only thing keeping people out of your home....

The only thing keeping people out of your home while you are home is their fear that you are armed.

That sounds made up.

It is.

The thing that keeps people out of your home while you are home is a sense of mutuality and community. Other apes, even simians and dogs have it.

What drives people into your home is typically desperation. It can be real, such as famine, or artificial such as a drug addiction.

Guns for protection are more useful in rural areas when there are vermin, and lower-income areas in which there are more incidents of desperation crime. But that is to say a large and increasing swath of the United States.

While it’s a good idea to bank on things getting more desperate, I’d rather see other solutions than us shooting each other.

I also don’t think this should be cause to disarm the people, rather it should be cause to create more safety nets to keep people from getting desperate.

Wendy Cockcroft (user link) says:

Re: Gun control =/= confiscation

Why is it that everyone who opposes gun control insists that it means confiscation from law-abiding citizens? Here in the UK you can own a gun, but there are limits on what kind of gun you can own and you need to pass stringent checks.

The “only criminals will own guns” argument doesn’t hold up to scrutiny.

The next step, then, is to get the guns off the criminals. Amnesties and enforcement, i.e. carrot and stick approaches tend to work. That leaves the hard core criminals. People with criminal records for violence shouldn’t be allowed to own guns. People who have mental health issues in which they suffer delusions and/or are prone to violence shouldn’t be allowed to own guns.

Now sort out the gun shows and the black market. It won’t make illegal guns go away but it will make gun ownership by criminals more difficult, as it does over here.

Gun crime is fairly rare in Britain for a reason; we got a lid on this years ago, mostly because we haven’t tied gun ownership to our sense of masculinity and self-actualisation.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Gun control =/= confiscation

The 1994 Assault Weapon Ban made me cynical of gun control in the United States, which banned a series of (mostly aesthetic) weapon features on the basis of what guns could do (backed by recent rampage incidents) while not considering the actual statistics. It did not curb the mass production of saturday-night specials that were fueling the gang wars, nor did it curb police practice of selling confiscated firearms back to gangs at discounted back-alley rates. As a note, gun violence did not go down.

This was before we were aware of abuse by law-enforcement agents, and the lack of accountability we have for police shootings, many of which continue to go unreported.

We really suck when it comes to passing laws to curb things that are bad for us, or even enforcing said laws (see the ubiquitous War on Drugs). I think education programs are in order. I think people will be safer if gun owners actually care for their weapons, shoot straight and know the risks of owning them. But when it comes to the violence committed with guns, we are way better off trying to prevent it by addressing their roots (e.g. the war on drugs.)

The United States doesn’t (quite) have the history of colonial invasion and occupation that Mexico has (which is the cultural reason it retains a deep-seated right to bear arms), but only because we’ve yet to clearly recognize that the US behaves as an occupied state, where corporations control and dictate law, which only applies to us unaffiliated civilians. We may soon miss the guns that have been confiscated from us, even though — I sorely hope — the conflict will not be fought primarily with firearms.

A cursory peek at Google reveals that the UK has a general violent crime problem, one that rivals the United States. As GRR Martin notes, taking away all the guns frees all the Gregor Clegaines to rape and rampage their way across the countryside. The handgun (specifically the Colt Single-Action Army) was known in the US as the great equalizer for a reason.

Machin Shin (profile) says:

I love how these people also so quickly overlook history. The way I look at it, the second amendment is there for pretty much one reason, to keep the government fearful of the population. The founding fathers had just fought a war against the most powerful nation in the world after all. Pretty sure the abuses of governments were at the front of their minds when writing these things.

Now you give the government the power to take weapons from anyone they want just because they feel like it… no due process or trial… well you just destroyed the point of the second amendment. Anyone who shows any resistance to those in power will end up on the list and guns taken. Then later maybe they will just use the list to round up these “terrorists”.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

The way I look at it, the second amendment is there for pretty much one reason, to keep the government fearful of the population.

That is just one of the reasons, and definitely a valid one. It is also there so that people will regularly use, train with, and maintain their firearms so that a Militia can be immediately formed when necessary to defend against all threats foreign or domestic.

It is also there so that people can have their firearms at the ready should a criminal decide to steal, rape, or murder. The police have never been and never will be a prevention against crime. They are only retribution for crime and occasionally a deterrent.

Due process is not going away, it is already gone. Right now law enforcement is just going through the motions, but more and more are beginning to see that they can now dispense with most of the formalities and just get straight to the tyranny.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: The right to bear arms...

…is also there as part of a greater intention to prevent the government from regulating what the people can or cannot do or say.

The first amendment outlined specific rights to media and communications not to be encroached within the United States, specifically noting ones that had been before in other nations.

The second amendment (and possibly the third) outlines material rights not to be encroached within the united states, again specifically noting ones that had been encroached before elsewhere.

The risk with any regulation is that it can be distorted in order to create overreaches that are advantageous to tyranny. Our restriction against hate speech, for example, may soon be extended to include criticism of police officers, which can be interpreted to mean criticism of the current administration, any agent, any officer or representative. (And it will.)

Similarly, our right to bear arms sets a precedent that we also have the right to acquire and use many, many other dangerous items, whether for our own gratification or for commercial use. And our government sucks at deciding what is too dangerous for the public or what isn’t, whether influenced by religious groups (e.g. porn, rock-&-roll, tabletop games) or corporations (e.g. the internet with respect to entertainment).

And that’s before we get to situations in which someone needs neutralizing, such as malicious intruders, corrupt government agents, or outright tyranny.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Less accountable than the government...

Our government currently imprisions, tortures and massacres human beings, all in secret or without oversight. (As I’ve noted elsewhere, our drone-strike program in the Afghanistan theater alone — not including the Pakistan theater — slaughters more innocent civilians than all the gun deaths in the US, and it is still going on.)

Of its own people, including its voters and taxpayers, it monitors, robs, imprisons and sometimes murders them with total impunity.

You’re right, of course, a worse regime could come into power, or occupy a territory, but they’d have to strive really hard to be as heinous and despicable as the regime we currently have in power. No moral high-ground has it.

And all the gun control in the nation is going to do nothing to affect those entirely beyond the reach of law.

zpmcsucks@gmail.com says:

I pretty much agree with everything in the article, But I think there may be the possibility that this type of legislation greatly shrinks the so called terrorist watch list only because if being on the list actually infringes on someones constitutionally protected rights as opposed to their ability to fly, they maybe have better grounds to challenge being on the list and the government will have to explain themselves or they will create a whole new watchlist.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Response to: zpmcsucks@gmail.com on Jun 24th, 2016 @ 10:01am

He did use the word “possibility” and to be honest I was kinda thinking the same thing:

a) Get on watch list for using freedom of speech
b) Try to buy gun, get denied
c) File lawsuit now that you have standing
d) Win said lawsuit
e) fight the appeals to the end
e) Supreme court rules watchlist and restrictions based on watchlists unconstitutional

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Response to: zpmcsucks@gmail.com on Jun 24th, 2016 @ 10:01am

I was with you until step (d), where you lose because National Security, because State Secrets, because Terrorism, and maybe for good measure because Child Pornography. All appeals are subsequently shut down on the basis of those same baseless excuses, because letting the case proceed would be too damaging (according to the government).

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Response to: zpmcsucks@gmail.com on Jun 24th, 2016 @ 10:01am

In all fairness, though…

When you look at the history of the Supreme Court, one of the things that is remarkable is just how common it is that the way a given judge tends to rule is rather different from the inclinations of the President that appointed them.

Lots of judges actually are all about technical accuracy and impartial interpretation of the law. I would bet that most of them probably have at least that sort of self-image.

I think lawyers who tend to be considered for the Supreme Court are ones that are more likely to be the nerds of the lawyer world: concerned with technical accuracy and the correct application of the ruleset rather than the question of whether the rules in that set are great ideas or not.

Everyone has their own biases, of course, and so a person’s political view clearly has to color their thinking to some degree, but it seems that the sort of person likely to become a Supreme Court judge tends to be the sort of legalistic nerd that would be less affected by that stuff than most.

Anonymous Coward says:


The no fly list has, in the past, contained both people no one would normally consider unfit for gun ownership (Sen. Ted Kennedy, Rep. John Lewis)

Given the quality of legislation supported, and in some cases written, by certain legislators, I’m not sure I’m willing to trust such legislators with firearms. I certainly find it entertaining when the powerful are inconvenienced by laws written for the rest of us though.

Anonymous Coward says:

Gun rights should not be tied to terrorist watch lists because then the government can just arbitrarily add anyone it doesn’t like to such a terrorist watch list. The federal government already does this with the “no fly” lists based on no evidence and doesn’t allow you to appeal to be removed from that list or to get an explanation why you are on the list nor does it disclose if you are on a “no fly” list.

There hasn’t been any accountability in our government ever since September 11th, 2001 and everyone from Democrats to Republicans use “terrorism” as the “cover everything” or “all in one” doomsday argument for trampling our constitutional rights. Even the courts follow blindly behind these morons.

Anonymous Coward says:

Gotta wonder

if the politicians would approve of a policy where they “have to prove their eligibility for office” by demonstrating knowledge of the constitution that they’re going to swear to uphold. Then after being elected, if they propose or vote for a law that violates the constitution, they should be immediately impeached for violation of their oath and be rendered ineligible for any future public office.

Seems to me that should be the minimum requirement for public office. But somehow I suspect that most if not all members of congress would be ineligible for office if such were to be enacted.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Gotta wonder

“a policy where they “have to prove their eligibility for office” by demonstrating knowledge of the constitution that they’re going to swear to uphold.”

Why stop there? Recent articles addressed the point that (legal) immigrants becoming new citizens often know the constitution better than native citizens (because they recently had to learn the answers to the citizenship exam, versus others who forgot what they learned in high school or whereever). So I propose that those with recent and newly acquired citizenship get special ‘super-rights’! That could be me! I think I like the idea of telling lower-rank citizens how they should run their country according to their own constitution instead of being made to feel bad for being (even a legal) immigrant. I could enjoy that! Let me bask in the glow!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“we could fashion a “list” of people too stupid to vote, and let the bureaucrats decide who should be on the list…no appeals.”

Oh – good idea, I’m sure that has not been attempted already.

Why not fashion a list of those not allowed to use public restrooms? And put all people of color on it – wouldn’t that be awesome.

Anonymous Coward says:

Please check your facts.

The no fly list has, in the past, contained both people no one would normally consider unfit for gun ownership (Sen. Ted Kennedy, Rep. John Lewis)

Ted Kennedy was on the Seletee list rather than the No Fly List. (That story, though, also illustrates why even the Selectee list is bogus.)

Rep John Lewis apparently “was stopped 35-40 times”, and “subjected to extra security”, which again appears to be the Selectee list rather than the No Fly List, if he eventually got on the plane anyway.

Wikipedia has many, many examples of people who are on the actual No Fly List (as well as examples from the Selectee list, but that’s another story).

The key?
– if you are stopped and searched extra special, but can get on anyway, it’s the Selectee list.
– if you are denied the boarding pass entirely, it’s the No Fly List. (Or, as in Kennedy’s case, airline employee confusion about the lists…)

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Please check your facts.

Thanks for this explanation. I spent a year where I got singled out for extra special attention whenever I’d fly, but was never prevented from flying — and I was never able to get an explanation of why (aside from “someone with your name has been flagged”, which was chilling because I have a very, very common name). Ultimately, it just stopped happening, so I guess that name was removed.

Now at least I know what list that was.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Please check your facts.

Nah. I’m just a boring, albeit mouthy, software engineer with no power or following to worry them.

Besides, I am already known to both the feds and military anyway, since at various points in my career I have been vetted by both of them. They already know where to find me to spring their trap.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Please check your facts.

Nah. I’m just a boring, albeit mouthy, software engineer with no power or following to worry them.

Mouthy? Do you not realize what a crime that is? “Power” or a “following” might offer you some political protection, but without them you’re a sitting duck waiting for a little target practice. Don’t say you weren’t warned.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Please check your facts.

Your point is well taken. Nonetheless, if a government agency wants to detain or surveil me, they don’t have to rely on me coming up on a list — they know where I live and work and can just stop on by.

Just to be clear, I am not making a “if you’re not doing anything wrong you have nothing to fear” argument here (that argument is, in my opinion, 100% bullshit), and I think those lists are pretty obviously bad things.

Anonymous Coward says:

I find myself thinking that this is actually a very cunning way to either eliminate the no fly list, or create due process for it.

Seriously, think about it: owning a gun is a Constitutional right; flying is not. Linking a non-Constitutional right to a Constitutional right means, suddenly, any attempt to revoke the non-Constitutional right has to pass the same scrutiny as an attempt to revoke the Constitutional right. Or else it’s just as unconstitutional.

There’s a lot of folks who don’t mind not flying (me), but who will object strenuously – and legally – to any attempt to limit our firearm ownership beyond a reasonable point.

I fully expect that, if this is passed, the ACLU and NRA will join hands, sing a quick round of Kumbaya, and start filing for injunctions in every district they can find a sympathetic plaintiff. And, at the end of the day, either (a) the linkage fails or (b) the no fly list is restructured into a proper, fully due process compliant, thoroughly litigated, generally unrecognizable mutation of its current self. (I admit I’m betting on the first.)

Coyne Tibbets (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“Owning a gun is a Constitutional right, [x] is not.”

I don’t know your politics, but I hear this pathetic hand wave a lot from conservatives.

Flying is a liberty.

But conservatives earnestly shrug and say, “Every right, every liberty, is subject to limitation.” We might as well cut the Second Amendment out of the Constitution and burn the rest, for all the conservatives care about other liberties.

Anonymous Coward says:

It's a political tactic

Democrats — just like Republicans — are afraid to take on the NRA. This is merely an attempt to be seen as doing something while avoiding actually doing something effective.

A far better tactic would be an immediate ban on the sale and possession of assault weapons, with the penalty for noncompliance being execution. Everyone sensible will of course agree that no civilian needs to own a weapon of war. Every not sensible will be hunted down and exterminated, thus ridding us of people that we WANT to be rid of and removing a lot of sociopaths from the population.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: It's a political tactic

We already know where most of the weapons of war are stored, or at least where they were sent before the local police misplaced them. If you want to hunt down their owners and take the weapons of war off the street, just consult the 1033 issuance records. It probably would go a long way toward diminishing the number of sociopaths, but I think executing the cops just for applying for military hardware is a bit excessive. From a due process perspective, it’d be much nicer to terminate their employment instead of terminating their lives.

Anonymous Coward says:

Because the no fly list hasn't been...

abused before.

It is a fundraising stunt for the demopublican alliance. The outcome is already decided. Their patrons have already instructed the unholy trinity of cabal news what to say. The best thing Americans can do is throw away the mailers, turn off the T.V. and take a closer look at the Libertarian and Green parties.

Ninja (profile) says:

but due process is what’s killing us right now.

They are not even pretending anymore. It’s the first time such tyrannical thing is said so clearly by a US representative.

I personally prefer to sustain a few losses to pesky due process, including mine. How many are getting killed or having their lives destroyed by Govt overreach in the US nowadays? I will bet it’s not nearly as many as the terrorists do.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Refreshing, yet horrifying honesty

Maybe we can come to that type of an agreement, but due process is what’s killing us right now.

So you’ve got an acting senator publicly saying that due process is a bad thing, something getting in the way of what could be done. If we’ve reached the point where a politician is willing to be that blunt in an interview, how many of them are thinking that same thing in private, and trying to figure out ways to put that into law?

A quip like that should be a career destroying moment, something that will mean he will never be re-elected again because he clearly doesn’t care one bit about the rights of the public, but I can’t help but worry how many will cheer him on because ‘criminals/accused criminals don’t deserve rights’.

Wendy Cockcroft (user link) says:

Re: Refreshing, yet horrifying honesty

^This. It’s why I keep on chanting the mantra “Due process is not an impediment to justice.” Manchin just came out and actually said, “Oh yes it is.”

Yet every case thrown out on a technicality has not been due to following due process but to NOT following due process. Correct me if I’m wrong.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

While I doubt I have that many fans on either side of the aisle, I make one small proposal.

No matter how you feel about guns, abortion, teh gays, and the other 10 thousand things we disagree about can we agree on one simple thing? We need to wipe congress clean.

They haven’t actually served our interests in a very long time, yet we keep voting for them because the blather to hit the right buttons to keep themselves in power.

You might worry the person we elect instead might be worse, very little can be worse than what we have now. Seeing sweeping swaths of political dynasties broomed out might put the fear of the people back in their blackened hearts.

We aren’t going to agree on these hot button topics as long as we allow ourselves to be played by those in power to keep their power. They shut down the government to get their way, they are offering up due process as something we should give up to be safe… None of them are fit to represent us any longer.

We will never be a Red Country or a Blue Country, but for fucks sake allowing this bullshit to continue while they line their pockets at out expense is unacceptable.

The nation shouldn’t be run as a zero sum game, because the only ones that lose are us. Imagine if we actually looked to find where we can agree rather than demanding our side be the 100% victor who crushed the other guy. Stop answering the call of the hot button dog whistle, and consider that one could find middle ground where no one “wins” but we are all happy.

Lawrence D’Oliveiro says:

The Stupidity Of The Gun Nuts

“This kneejerk reaction not only would eliminate rights but also any form of due process.”

I’ve got news for you, Mr Cushing; your “due process” has already been eliminated.

I’ve said this lots of times before: your Second Amendment is a wonderful red herring that your Government can draw on any time it wants to oppress you further. Just make a feint towards your “right to bear arms”, and in the ensuing distraction, they can easily pass laws and regulations that further reduce your moral rights.

Like the no-fly list itself: has there been much public outcry against its introduction? Nope. Push-back against arbitrary and overreaching searches at TSA checkpoints? Nope.

Yet suggest that people who might kill aircraft passengers ought not perhaps to be allowed to buy dangerous weaponry, and suddenly you have this massive hoo-hah over your precious Constitution, that you were quite happy to see disregarded just a moment before.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: The Stupidity Of The Gun Nuts

“Like the no-fly list itself: has there been much public outcry against its introduction? Nope. Push-back against arbitrary and overreaching searches at TSA checkpoints? Nope.”

Because it relies on the it didn’t happen to me, so its not that bad. It makes me “Safer”(tm), because they told me it would. TSA said no one was stealing from luggage, so it wasn’t happening despite them busting multiple theft rings.

Everything is magically somehow abstract until it touches them or someone they know. We care more about some chick famous for making a sex tape than about how some CBP lied & had her sexually assaulted by a doctor. People worry Kims ass might get less jiggly, and just assume the system will deal with the 1 bad CBP agent correctly…. surprise it won’t because no one makes them.

Coyne Tibbets (profile) says:

The problem is that the terrorist watch lists are broken

Is tying civil Rights to useless terrorist watch lists worse than tying civil Rights to useless terrorist watch lists? That sentence might seem moronic and redundant at first but it isn’t: the watch lists have been infringing civil Rights for much more than a decade.

The response from the public and Congress? “Meh. Who cares about people who I don’t know and their Rights? Besides…oOooOo…terrorists!”

So now it’s proposed that gun background checks include a check of the terrorist watch lists and all of a sudden Civil Rights becomes a fore-mind concern: “OH-MY-F****G-G** HOW DARE YOU THINK ABOUT TYING MY F****G GUN RIGHTS TO THOSE F****G RIGHTS-STEALING TERRORIST WATCH LISTS?!!!”

I say tying the Second Amendment Right to the watch lists is a good thing: so the citizens, Congress, the wing-nuts, and the three-letter agencies will finally get off their fat-lead asses and fix the watch lists so they respect the civil Rights of EVERY citizen they impinge. If they can’t consider the civil Rights of those citizens under any circumstance, then so be it.

Anonymous Coward says:

They really want it tied to the terrorist watchlists because they can’t simply ban guns. So they get it tied to the watchlists and then they can simply add everyone(except the rich and powerful and of course the cops) to the lists effectively banning guns to be purchased legally, at least temporarily.

No doubt it would be disputed in court but at the glacial pace that moves at it would be many years before it goes through all the suits and appeals and who knows how that would turn out in the end and the other stupid things lawmakers would do before then.

Whatever says:

Stupid? You want to talk stupid? Stupid is allowing people to buy AR-15 and similar assault weapons. Plain and simple, these are not for hunting animals, as they don’t have the power to make a clean kill and thus are more likely to just wound an animal that would die later – or worse, mess up it’s insides and poison the meat, rending the kill meaningless.

They aren’t good personal protection pieces either, you can’t “conceal carry” the things, they are useless at close range (where most people would use a weapon if attacked), and their quick semi-auto action tends to lead to plenty of stray bullets when used.

There are weapons designed to kill people, indiscriminately. They were built to allow a relatively under trained, third world country soldier to do some serious nasty against the opposition. Their only good use is for killing a whole lot of people in a very short period of time (or, understandably, to fill one person with a whole lot of bullets in a very short period of time).

Standing up for the “right” to own one of these things is just plain stupid. You may think it makes you American to do so, but it just makes you short sighted, because the next big shooting will likely be made with one of these thing. It’s just how it rolls.

The 2nd Amendment should not be an absolute “anyone can have anything”. It’s turned into a free for all with the sad trickle down effect that it seems most inner city kids are more likely to have contact with guns than schoolbooks these days. These guns aren’t appearing magically, they are the ones at some point purchased legally.

The US people overwhelmingly want gun control (the polls are out there). Only the NRA and their big ticket contributors are keeping the Republican’ts at it.

Repeal the 2nd amendment, make the US a better place.

limbodog (profile) says:

Wrong problem

It seems to me its not so bad that getting tied to a FBI list of possibly dangerous people means you can’t buy a gun. It’s that you can’t get off the list without dying first.

That to me seems to be the thing we should be looking at. If you could go to a court and have the FBI/CIA/NSA/Facebook present their evidence against you and contest it, I think it’d be a pretty good plan.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Awarding damages for vindictive or reasonless adds

that would be a step forward but since awards don’t go out of the agency’s budget it doesn’t actually create a disincentive.

We’ve seen it among police officers who don’t care that the guy they’re pugilizing may get a tidy settlement for it. He’s angry, and it doesn’t affect his paycheck.

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