Constitutional Rights in the War on Terrorism

Good to see that some on the Islamaphobic right is willing to throw the Second Amendment under the bus for the sake of the war on terrorism. To be fair, I’m not sure the Second is the only right they are willing to throw under the bus. I’ve been pleased with how pro-Second Amendment National Review has become, but occasionally they harken back to the old days. This is one of those times.

Repeat after me, conservatives: we do not remove fundamental constitutional rights in this country without due process. The Second Amendment is now among those rights. The government can no more arbitrarily deny an otherwise eligible citizen or lawful resident the right to purchase a firearm than it can arbitrarily throw them in a brig without a trial.

6 thoughts on “Constitutional Rights in the War on Terrorism”

  1. While I totally agree with you on the merits of this legislation and May’s immensely troubling opinion thereof, I will defend National Review a bit. Just because a website or magazine with a bevy of writers, editors, etc. posts/publishes an article, it does not mean that the magazine supports the text therein. May is wrong, but that doesn’t mean NRO supports his position just because they published his article. I’d add that some, indeed perhaps many at NRO agree with May, but there is a fair amount of bickering on any number of issues at The Corner blog between conservatives, be it over Iraq, immigration, etc.

    A blog run by an individual is generally going to relfect the opinion of the blog in its posts (how could it not?), but a magazine or website with dozens of contributors will post items with which the editorial board does not always agree. After all, I’m fairly certain the WaPo has published Wayne or Chris, but we know for damn sure they (the editors, publisher, etc.) don’t agree with them. That might be true of National Review, too, but one article here and there does not constitute institutional opinion.

    I know National Review has been soft on the Second Amendment in the past, but as you say, they have improved. I wouldn’t say this article shows a change in its coverage, at least not until a bunch more like it appear.

  2. “we do not remove fundamental constitutional rights in this country without due process. The Second Amendment is now among those rights.”

    I agree with everything except the word NOW in your second sentence. It has always been a constitutional, and more importantly, natural right (the right to self defense). I understand that you’re probably referring to the fact it has been reaffirmed due to recent court cases, but to me it was always among those rights Americans should NEVER give up. we should not be okay with any of our constitutional rights being infringed. Whether our right to speak out, bear arms, or be secure in our person, etc.

  3. “…than it can arbitrarily throw them in a brig without a trial.”

    They’re not supposed to, but they can. Heck, the Obama administration can and has put American citizens on a murder hit list without a trial. If anyone thinks I’m joking, look it up.

  4. I don’t see how the text of the bill would allow for denying the terrorist watch list en mass. The last line says that in addition to being on the watch list, the AG must *reasonably believe* (I read that as needing to have evidence) that the individual suspect is involved in a terror plot specifically involving firearms (9/11 wouldn’t even qualify).

    Sec. 922A. Attorney General’s discretion to deny transfer of a firearm

    ‘The Attorney General may deny the transfer of a firearm pursuant to section 922(t)(1)(B)(ii) if the Attorney General determines that the transferee is known (or appropriately suspected) to be or have been engaged in conduct constituting, in preparation for, in aid of, or related to terrorism, or providing material support thereof, and the Attorney General has a reasonable belief that the prospective transferee may use a firearm in connection with terrorism.’;

    I have no doubt that the intent of the authors and supporters is to add the entire watch list, but doesn’t this provide a solid court challenge if it is used that way? A name alone can not meet the “reasonable belief” standard. Also, if it were a judge making that check instead of the AG (a check outside of the DOJ), and the prohibition was temporary with an expiration date, I would be comfortable with suspending rights (much like a wire-tap). But that would require work on their part to prohibit people.

  5. Whaddaya mean, “… than it can arbitrarily throw them in a brig without a trial.”

    It’s been able to do that since Sep 2001.

  6. thanks for this post. I fear we are winning the 2A fight and losing the rest of the Bill or Rights.

    The idea of a secret watch list that one does no action to get on and restricts the right to travel is so repugnant.

    Muslims today, Calvinist rednecks like me tomorrow.

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