After heaping scorn on his Republican colleagues in a time.com editorial, first-term Florida Congressman David Jolly sings the praises of H.R.554, his “No Fly, No Buy” compromise legislation. This is how he characterizes its provisions:
“Under my bill, an individual who is turned down at the point of sale must be notified by law enforcement within 10 days that they were denied purchase because of their presence on the watch list. They are then entitled to a due process hearing within 30 days, where all unclassified information must be presented to them and the government has the burden to prove by a preponderance of the evidence why the individual should remain on the list and prohibited from purchasing a firearm. The proceeding is sealed to protect the interest of the government and the privacy of the individual.”
So, under Jolly’s not-so-jolly bill, an American seeking to purchase a firearm through an FFL could be denied that purchase up to ten days — without explanation. After notification the prohibited purchaser gets a due process hearing — hold on a damn minute!
Due process should mean that the accused gets a day in court before the government removes their property or Constitutionally-protected rights. If a hearing is held after the government action, it’s not due process.
And then the government gets 30 days — on top of the ten-day delay — to present all unclassified information against a prohibited person — wait another damn minute!
If this legislation were law, the government would only have to show the American stripped of his Constitutional right to keep and bear arms the unclassified information against him that the government used to wield the gun ban hammer.
What’s the bet that any FBI, NHS, DHS, CIA or other .gov information on an individual’s terroristic activities — whatever secret criterion is used to make that determination — would be classified?
Which means the accused — make that convicted gets to see squat to mount their defense of their Constitutional right to keep and bear arms. At their own expense.
And what’s up with “a preponderance of evidence” as the burden of proof required of the government to strip an American of his or her gun rights? What happened to the judicial standard of “beyond a reasonable doubt”?
Not to mention the fact that there’s no jury trial available, no accountability for the process (the hearing is sealed from public view “for the privacy of the individual”) and no way to get off the prohibited persons list.
I’m sorry, did I wake up in Communist Russia this morning? Somalia? Can I really say that I’m living in the Land of the Free when a Republican politician thinks this bill protects Americans’ liberty?
Batten down the hatches boys. This is going to be rough ride. The forces of fascism are amongst us and they’re assuming we’re not paying attention. I hope to God they’re wrong.