The New York Times is virulently anti-gun rights. Every day they publish a news article or screed attacking Americans’ natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms. So Jeffrey Kahn’s article A ‘No Buy’ List for Guns Is a Bad Idea is a breath of fresh air in the fetid swamp of their civilian disarmament jihad. It goes a little something like this:
According to an estimate provided by the director of the Terrorist Screening Center in 2014, about 9 out of 10 identities on that list are neither United States citizens nor lawful residents. Thus, they are already largely unable, or not permitted, to buy guns here . . .
Of course, you might think that eliminating even just one gun sale to a suspected terrorist is worth the effort. But that assumes these lists should be trusted in the first place. And they shouldn’t be.
The threats that the terrorist watch list and no-fly list pose to civil liberties — indeed, to the very idea of citizenship — are enormous. Watch lists are designed to circumvent the protections of due process and the separation of powers. They subvert a principle of our free society: Our rights aren’t held on loan until a government official labels us suspect, at which point they are easily stripped away; our rights are ours unless and until a court concludes that we have violated the law.
This is not the case with a watch list, which relies on the predictive judgments of anonymous analysts predisposed to err on the side of caution. Their job is to stop something horrible from happening. Why would they be inclined to err the other way? Their decisions require no judicial approval, and their standard for labeling someone a suspected terrorist to be watch-listed is very low, a mere “reasonable suspicion.”
Pinch me. I’m dreaming. Not only because The Grey Lady is defending the Constitution of the United States but also because Mr. Kahn’s flying in the face of public support for a gun control measure. qe.edu:
People on the government’s terrorist watch list should not be allowed by purchase guns, American voters say 86 – 12 percent, including 83 – 14 percent among voters in households where there is a gun, according to a Quinnipiac University National poll.
Mr. Kahn has his rhetorical hands in the air like he just don’t care.
Don’t expect a no-gun list to be the stopping point. We already have a no-fly list, and there is also a no-maritime list (because the destruction of a cruise liner at sea is no less terrifying than terrorism in the skies). A suicide bomber in a sports stadium could spawn a “no Super Bowl” list. A “no X” list will always tempt lawmakers. But rights lose their value when they can be emptied of meaning by an easily affixed terrorist label.
Supporters dismiss the costs of watch lists as inconveniences, trade-offs warranted by the protection they provide us from a deadly rampage. Such sentiments — typically advanced by those unlikely to bear the burden of being labeled a suspected terrorist — trivialize the liberty lost.
“Experience should teach us,” Justice Louis D. Brandeis wrote in 1928, “to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government’s purposes are beneficent.”
Needless to say, many commentators underneath the NYT post are appalled at the idea of their favorite news source torpedoing a popular gun control measure. Bob:
Blah, blah, blah Mr. Kahn, your article forgot to mention one thing: if we don’t like the law blocking suspected terrorists from obtaining deadly weapons, we can always get rid of it.
So let’s try it for a while and if the spectre of suspected terrorists being unable to slaughter scores of Americans is too much for you and your NRA pals to deal with we can change the law again.
We did it with Prohibition and the Earth didn’t stop spinning so let’s try it with suspected terrorists seeking to slaughter Americans. Deal?
No deal. Am I really at a point where I hope the Democrats kill a Republican gun control measure– no matter how many “safeguards” they add to their No Fly, No Buy bill? Yes. Yes I am.