As the NSSF had warned, Senator Dianne Feinstein introduced two pieces of legislation yesterday (one amendment to an existing bill and another as a stand-alone bill) that would have stripped Americans of their Constitutional right to own firearms if they appear on a secret government list — a list that even the New York Times and the ACLU have called unconstitutional and dangerous. Once again, Senator Feinstein doesn’t actually seem to care about Constitutionally protected rights, whether they’re enumerated in the Second or Fifth Amendment. There is some good news, though, in that DiFi’s amendment died a quick death on the Senate floor, but the Democrats have continued to press their talking point that this so-called “terror gap” is somehow allowing terrorists to purchase guns . . .
From The Hill:
Senate Republicans on Thursday rejected an amendment to the ObamaCare repeal bill that would have tied it to a separate fight on blocking suspected or known terrorists from being able to buy guns.
Senators voted 45-54 on procedural hurdle for the measure from Sen. Dianne Feinstein.
The California Democrat’s proposal, which she has also introduced as a separate piece of legislation, would allow the attorney general to block the sale or transfer of a gun or explosive to a suspected or known terrorist if the individual is believed to use the weapons in an act of terrorism.
There’s an interesting wrinkle here: the notion that the Attorney General can block the sale if they believe the weapon will be used in an “act of terrorism.” It seems innocuous until you realize that the recent strategy of the Democrat party is to call every incident of “gun violence” an act of “domestic terrorism.” Since they are similarly convinced that the only purpose of buying a firearm is to murder innocent people, it stands to reason that the AG can use this logic to summarily stop all gun sales in the entire United States without any oversight. For those of us who are interested in seeing due process be followed before any restriction of Americans’ Constitutional rights that’s a fairly disturbing concept.
Texas Senator John Cornyn (he who represents the majority of TTAG’s staff these days) offered his own version that would have closed the “terror gap” in a slightly more Constitution-friendly way, but his bill was poisoned from the start.
Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), however, suggested that Feinstein’s amendment would strip Americans of due process.
“This is not the way we’re supposed to do things in this country,” he said ahead of the vote.
Senators rejected an amendment from Cornyn by a 55-44 vote. The Texan’s proposal would have allowed the attorney general to delay suspected terrorists from getting a gun for up to 72 hours as they try to get a court to approve blocking the sale of the firearm.
The transfer of the gun would be blocked if a court determines that the person wanting to buy the gun has committed or will commit an act of terrorism.
“If you believe the federal government is omniscient and all competent vote for the Feinstein amendment,” Cornyn added ahead of the votes, noting that the late Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) was on a terror watch list.
Democratic Sens. Joe Donnelly (Ind.) and Joe Manchin (W.Va.) voted to move forward with Cornyn’s proposal. Kirk voted against the amendment on the procedural hurdle.
The fly in the ointment with Cornyn’s bill was that he’d added language stripping federal funding from “sanctuary cities” that don’t enforce federal immigration laws — places like like just about every city in California. It was a clear middle finger toward Senator Feinstein for even introducing her legislation. Since the Democrats are big supporters of local control when it suits their particular goals they naturally opposed the idea.
What’s interesting is how this allows the weekend’s worth of talk shows to proceed. Allow me to paraphrase.
Democrats: We need to close the Terror Gap! Terrorists can buy assault weapons through the internet and murder people at will in the United States! The Republicans and the NRA blocked us from moving forward with this life-saving common sense law! Why do they want to make it so easy for terrorists to get guns?
Republicans: We agree something must be done. We even proposed a law that would have done exactly what you asked, but you voted against it! Why would you vote against a bill that would keep guns out of terrorists’ hands?
From there it will devolve into the usual histrionics and name calling. The point is that by introducing a bill that the Democrats were forced to vote against it gives the Republicans a bit of political cover to fight back. “See? Not every proposal with a catchy title is a good idea!” Needless to say, the Democrats will ignore that and keep demanding that something — anything — be done to implement “common sense” gun control laws.
As is usually the case, the most galling moment yesterday was a comment from Nevada’s Harry Reid in support of secret government data bases:
“If you’re on terrorists watch lists you shouldn’t be able to buy a gun.”
Give Harry a break, though. He’s very old and probably doesn’t remember his former Senate colleague, Ted Kennedy, somehow found his way onto the federal no-fly list, too.