The Senate’s token Dinosaur, Frank Lautenberg, who was well on his way toward fossilization when the NJ Democrats brought him back to life to run in place of Robert Torricelli, is pushing more gun control again. This time, adding the terrorist watch list to NICS:
The Justice Department proposed legislation on Thursday that would give the attorney general discretion to bar terrorism suspects from buying firearms, seeking to close a gap in federal gun laws.The measure, which was introduced by Senator Frank R. Lautenberg, Democrat of New Jersey, would give the attorney general authority to deny a firearm purchase if the buyer was found â€œto be or have been engaged in conduct constituting, in preparation for, in aid of, or related to terrorism.â€
Suspects on federal watch lists can now legally buy firearms in the United States if background checks do not turn up any standard prohibitions for gun buyers, which include felony convictions, illegal immigration status or involuntary commitments for mental illness.
So Bush’s Justice Department is proposing this? More evidence that Bush is a turd when it comes to this issue. The problem with this legislation is that you’re depriving someone of their constitutional rights administratively, without any due process. Lautenberg isn’t treating gun ownership as a right here, he’s treating it as a privilege that’s granted or revoked at the whim of a federal bureaucrat.
Dean Boyd, a spokesman for the Justice Department, said the process took time because it involved delicate issues, including â€œthe protection of sensitive information upon which terrorist watch listings are based, as well as due process safeguards that afford the affected individual an appropriate opportunity to challenge the denial after it is made.â€
We call this “prior restraint” and it usually doesn’t fly when it comes to constitutional rights. It’s time to remind the Justice Department, and Frank Lautenberg of another part of the constitution they seem to have forgotten:
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
Sorry, some government bureaucrat deciding you belong on a list does not qualify as due process in anyone’s dictionary. Frank Lautenberg should retire. Clearly he’s forgotten the oath he took to uphold the passage stated above.
Hat tip to The Ten Ring