A Sign Things May Not Be Going Well on Capitol Hill

From NRA:

We are happy to meet with Donald Trump.  The NRA’s position on this issue has not changed.  The NRA believes that terrorists should not be allowed to purchase or possess firearms, period.  Anyone on a terror watchlist who tries to buy a gun should be thoroughly investigated by the FBI and the sale delayed while the investigation is ongoing.  If an investigation uncovers evidence of terrorist activity or involvement, the government should be allowed to immediately go to court, block the sale, and arrest the terrorist.  At the same time, due process protections should be put in place that allow law-abiding Americans who are wrongly put on a watchlist to be removed.  That has been the position of Sen. John Cornyn (R.-Tex.) and a majority of the U.S. Senate.  Sadly, President Obama and his allies would prefer to play politics with this issue.

The thing that worried me from the get go is when you start arguing on constitutional grounds, people either don’t understand or their eyes glaze over. That’s why it’s always, “Politician is going to take X from you.” It’s a sad state of affairs, but most people are not ideological. They don’t care about higher principles. What motivates them is whether their ox is going to get gored by this or that. That’s why Trump has done well among non-ideological voters in the primary. People will burn down phone switches if they think their ox is getting gored. Abstract principles appeal to fewer people. So it is incumbent among us who do get and do care about due process to call our Congressmen and Senators and tell them no new gun control laws. Keep it that simple.

Both the ACLU and NRA are opposed to the Terror Watch List, but don’t expect that to get in the way given that civil liberties are out of fashion among progressive lefties, and “law and order” populists have never been very concerned.

31 thoughts on “A Sign Things May Not Be Going Well on Capitol Hill”

  1. That appears to be status quo ante, given the FBI statements on the presence or absence of the perpetrator on one or another flavor of watch list, according to one article I read on the subject. I know from other anecdotes that NICS records can be “flagged” to be reviewed by a human for Reasons (apparently including holding a clearance); such a flag will cause a “delay” return until a release happens.

  2. “Anyone on a terror watchlist who tries to buy a gun should be thoroughly investigated by the FBI and the sale delayed…”

    Freedom delayed is freedom denied.

    I’m getting tired of constitutional analogies, but maybe if a journalist is put on a watch list (like during the Red Scare days) his writings should be delayed pending an investigation of exactly what he meant. Or maybe clergymen should have their sermons delayed pending government approval. Screw a bunch of First Amendments.

    It is so tiresome watching the NRA cave incrementally. At least advocate for judicial review before someone is placed on a watch list, or, oppose the lists entirely.

    BTW, as I recall the NRA’s onetime enthusiasm for Instant Background Checks, that was based on that “waiting periods” were totally unacceptable. What has transpired since?

    1. I agree with you, but depending on what the whip count looks like, sometimes the choice is between having to eat the whole shit sandwich, or just taking a small bite. We are, unfortunately, not in control of our entire destiny. I wish more people cared about things on principle, rather than just the passion of the time.

      Time has always been our best ally. If the fight can be delayed, we stand a better chance of coming relatively unscathed.

      1. I’m agreeing. I don’t like delays but the political chips being what they are, if all we come out with is flagging people in NICS for delay, with iron clad requirements for investigation, arrest, etc, that’s not bad.

      2. I think there is a subtle but important difference between saying you will accept something very reluctantly, while at the same time pointing out its practical and philosophical flaws, and pretending it has been a “reasonable” step all along.

    2. My gut instinct told me this was not as much an emotional hit for the American People as Sandy Hook was. But Bloomberg and the White House made a lot of mistakes after Sandy Hook, which I think Bloomberg is smart enough to have learned from. One of those is don’t throw all the shit to the wall and see what sicks. All they did was mobilize all our grassroots because with all that potential legislation, someone’s ox was going be gored. If we have to fall back to abstract principles, we’re in trouble.

      1. People on the street think their ox is going to get gored: Black rifles are MOVING. There are still AR15s on the shelves, but if demand keeps up for much longer that might not stay the case for long.

      2. Going from zero to AWB in less than 24 hours was a tactical error. At the same time as saying “we’re not coming to take your guns,” when that’s exactly what a new AWB would do, may have been a bit more than that.

        Saying “you don’t need an AR-15 for hunting or sporting or defense” when millions of shooters use it for all 3 activities is the topper. The AR-15 is the F-150 of rifles as far as popularity; and I don’t think the urbanites who are behind gun control realize either one of them are the best-sellers of their genre because they aren’t often seen in the ‘urbs

    3. The fundamental problem here (and with much of Progressivism) is that it sounds like a better idea than it actually is. We need good sound bites to come back with. Whatever else you think of him, Trump is a master of the sound bite–and this has a great deal to do with why he has succeeded where so many before him have failed.

  3. Note the NRA said “terrorists” not “suspected terrorists”. People on the terror watch list aren’t terrorists. If they were, they would be in jail or not here.

    I’m not so worried about a watch list gun purchase denial bill that passes and is a “feel good” measure but rather the abuse potential in the getting on the list and getting off via the appeals process. I am deeply concerned about such a law absent strong appeals and “default proceed” provisions from not being used to create havoc by simply denying gun rights to wholesale sections of the population.

    It you can’t appeal successfully or timely, you have no rights. I think Democrats want this so badly because they do plan to use it as a means of denying gun ownership to those they see as undesirable.


    1. If the law were written that to keep the ban beyond an initial 72 hours (or so) the FBI *had* to take it to a court and get a judge to sign off on an arrest warrant and moving to a prohibited person….

      then this does have an Alinsky-reversal on the Dems. Since if they want to ban mass numbers of gun owners, and have it stick, they’d have to flood the courts with thousands and thousands of these things.

      1. Annnnd… that seems to be a reason why they’re screaming against the Republican version.

        Because having the FBI check out the sales and go to the the courts would be “too burdensome”

        Since apparently they’re more concerned about just banning guns than, you know, having the FBI actually look at a “potential terrorist”

  4. I think its less Capital Hill then just Trump. He changes all the rules (for good or bad). They were forced into this by him (because of their endorsement).

    They do have to play optics game. Of course nobody wants terrorists to have guns. So this is their solution IF they must have one.

    I’m okay with that, as long as the due process provisions are adequate, and we get something out of it.

  5. I’m ok with this.

    A delay when a known or suspected terrorist tries to buy a gun should result in a delay, followed by an approval or denial with a swarm of FBI agents.

    Ironically though, none of these proposals would have stopped the Orlando murders.

  6. Luckily there’s not enough legislative days left in the year to do a whole lot. And they could probably pass something that’s not too horrible and allows Obama to claim credit for passing some form of gun control. And even that needs to go through the House. Our biggest risk is going to be the short lame duck after the election when they Vote to pass TPP. I could see this getting tacked on to that, though Obama probably cares about TPP more than this.

  7. Has anyone seen mentioned on any news outlet anywhere that that 2-year old boy horribly killed by the alligator at Orlando’s Disney World last night would still be alive if the father had an assault rifle? (If that’s too soon, I apologize. However, it’s true nonetheless.)
    If I were in the Senate I’d be screaming that truth at Chris Murphy during his filibuster.
    – Arnie

  8. I’m actually thinking that if they start flagging on the various “watch lists”, it will be the beginning of the end of the watch lists. The only reason the no-fly list survives is that SCOTUS ruled there isn’t a right to fly; and, practically, because there’s a theoretically-accessible redress procedure

    If a flag pops every time someone is matched to an entry on the watchlist, the FBI is going to be buried in flags. And depending on the Circuit, a properly-prepped suit (Someone whose name is Edward Kennedy?) would have a decent chance of success…

      1. I could have sworn there was a test case set up by some wealthy guy with more money than sense. Now I’m going to have to go looking as to what I was recalling.

  9. Here’s the thing: NICS research holds that last longer than 3 days probably won’t be handled in anything like an expedient manner.

    Further, the NICS appeal process is fundamentally broken: As of the beginning of this month, they were still processing appeals submitted in July of 2015. That is an unacceptably long delay.

    If we’re going to even consider giving an inch to these leftist blood-dancers, then we damned well better get an inch or two back along with it: Mandate that FBI provide a firm status (approve, deny, or undetermined) within 15 days of submitting the background check, and that they have a MAXIMIM of 45 calendar days to respond to any appeal with the reason the check was not approved.

    If the leftists won’t agree to that, then they can get stuffed.

    1. I agree with your assessment of their motives, HSR47, but I don’t think we can give them that inch for anything in return…because I don’t believe we can trust them to return anything. Their history is to make deals with conservatives/constitutionalist and then after we put up our good faith offering on the altar of compromise, they renege and it’s too late to back out.

      Due process is a fundamental right required before they can infringe upon any other fundamental right like bearing arms. We must never compromise in any way on fundamental rights or else the Bill of Rights means nothing, and I fear we will lose everything for the sake of faux security.


      1. My point is, you don’t really get to pick whether or not you have to compromise. If they have 48 Senators as a “yes” vote on a hypothetical bill, and a few others are getting soft on you, it might be a choice between a bite of the shit sandwich and having to eat the whole awful thing.

        A friend in DC posted earlier in the day that it’s late on the legislative calendar, and while they could probably get something through the Senate if there were the votes for it, the clock will probably run out before the House can take it up.

        1. Exactly. Of course we should fight tooth and nail against any proposal, but still have a soft bill in place if the votes might be there. And also plan to offer something in return, i.e. delisting suppressors.

          I’m hopeful we can stop in the Senate, but it still has to go through the House, and if time is short, we can possible force a conference committee if it does go through to just drag it out.

        2. A thought I just had: if there’s not enough time to actually move any such legislation now, it’s in both sides’ interests to have such legislation tabled. The anti-gun forces want to be seen as “doing something,” while the pro-gun forces want to be seen as “stopping the enemy.” The CT Senator’s filibuster stunt helps both sides here, by running out the clock so that other, more important, legislation must be considered.

          Politics is a dirty business

  10. Mr. Trump will sell us down the river if he sees personal advantage in so doing. The problem with giving an inch in this us that Congress will take the delay part but strip the due process provisions — and they will have plenty of Bush-administration arguments about the need for double-secret courts to back it up.

    1. I just don’t see Trump doing that. He can’t win without the gun vote and if he screws us before the election gun owners will either stay home or vote for Johnson.

      I think that both Trump and the NRA know this, and they’re going to try to come up with something that will allow them to undercut the narrative the left is spinning.

      At the end of the day, Trump’s wins show him to be much more savvy than his Twitter persona would lead one to believe.

      At least that’s what I’m hoping for.

  11. And the mask keeps slipping off.


    These are some dangerous things being said.

    We have a Senator saying that if the FBI suspects you *might* commit a crime.
    You should be blacklisted.
    And after the FBI investigates.
    And they can’t find any evidence.
    And they close the investigation without charging or arresting or even thinking you’re a threat.

    Then this Senator thinks you should *STILL* be punished.

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