We try to stay out of the politics here. We don’t offer up a public opinion on things, because we don’t want to be “those people”. We don’t want to rail on about the same thing everybody else is exploiting. But sometimes, something comes up that is so important, something that transcends from our outdoorsy, gun friendly world into everybody else’s world. Even when they do not realize it. Even when they welcome it. Some people remain blind to the long term implications of the decisions they make now. Let fact guide you, not fear.
H.R. 1076 has been around for about eighteen months or so in one form or another. What is interesting, or possibly insidious about this is the language used, versus it means. It is presented in a way that makes sense as a way to stop terrorism. But that isn’t what it does. Here’s the long version
Now, keep in mind here that the documentation is written in such a way, and contains amendments, changes and reasoning. This is so that there will be less room for interpretation and confusion. In theory. In reality it is written to be specific in appearance, yet vague in execution.
Who is it supposed to stop? Terrorists.
Who is a Terrorist? Anybody on the list.
Who is on the list? We can’t tell you.
How do you get on the list? We can’t tell you.
Am I on the list? We can’t tell you.
Basically, this would deny the rights of anybody on that list. No guns, no information, no due process. You get put on the list, and you just get to lose rights. I know what some of you are thinking. That couldn’t happen. Well, it already does. That list has been around for a while. It is truly meant to help keep people safe.
What they want to do now, is expand the use of it to deny firearms sales to potential threats, right? Well, that’s what the bill says, isn’t it? Nope. It uses those words, but the legal definitions of those words are rather fluid. They mean precisely nothing. What you need to pay attention to is things like this:
“Attorney General’s discretion” – Which means, literally, “Some Dude’s Opinion”
“Attorney General has a reasonable belief” – See above. Evidence not needed.
This is why we have a problem. This bill would remove the right to due process, which is guaranteed by the Constitution. And not just on gun related things. Once you remove due process for a certain group of people, in this case, law abiding Americans, you set precedent for it to be done to others for similar reasons. And those reasons fall to the discretion of the United States Attorney General. Not a court, not a jury of your peers.
In the literal sense, your name being added to that list, is simply somebody typing it. If they wanted to add a lot of names at once, they could simply cut and paste all of them at once. If they make a mistake, you have to go buy a gun or try to fly in order to find out. Then you have 60 days to appeal it. Who do you appeal it to? The same people who put you on it. I also mentioned that your name could be cut and pasted on there with others. If, say, the USAG decides that anybody who is an NRA member is a terrorist, he can add them all. Ever visited ARFCOM, The High Road, or been to SHOT Show? You could be added. Subscribe to Hickok45? Well, 2,000,000 of us do. (Congrats Hickok, BTW) Are you a prepper who has a Google search history showing anything prepper related? There are millions of ways to get on that list, and only one way off. All at the whim of one person.
Ok, I keep mentioning that it doesn’t have to be gun related to affect you. The reason for that is that pesky “due process” thing. Here’s how due process works:
The Constitution states only one command twice. The Fifth Amendment says to the federal government that no one shall be “deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law.” The Fourteenth Amendment, ratified in 1868, uses the same eleven words, called the Due Process Clause, to describe a legal obligation of all states. These words have as their central promise an assurance that all levels of American government must operate within the law (“legality”) and provide fair procedures.
What does this mean? Well, it means that if you are to be deprived of life, liberty or property, you must be convicted in a court of law of committing a crime. If you have done nothing wrong, then the government, federal or state, has no right to deprive you of life, liberty or property. For any reason.
Now, if we open the door, by allowing the USAG Office to decide by reasons known only to them, who is and is not permitted to own something, then the same reasoning can be used to deprive you of other things. Things you care about.
Say you have a kid in high school. Somebody else has a kid there who sells drugs. If your kid knows the other kid, even while totally innocent, your kid could face the same penalty as the drug pusher. Without a trial. Without an explanation. In case some other drug pusher happens to find out.
Ok, let’s say you go out for drinks with some friends, and even though you called for an Uber, some other guy at the same bar drove home, got in a wreck while drunk and killed somebody. The next day, you find out that your license is suspended, because you drink and own a car, so you might do what the other guy did. Shame on you.
When applied to any other situation, this bill becomes a farce. It seems laughable, because it should be. We have rights to prevent just this kind of thing from happening to us. Rights guaranteed by the Constitution, not given to us by it.
Due process was not included by accident. It wasn’t an oversight or a remnant of an era long gone. It is not in there to get in the way of justice, it is there to preserve it. Without due process, the rest of your rights cease to exist.
Without due process, the government is free to do whatever they please. However they please. To whomever they please.
Every politician reads their email, answers their phone, or they have an office full of people to do it for them. They take these contacts very seriously, because these are the opinions and thoughts, wants and needs of the people whom they represent. I don’t care if you are pro-gun, anti-gun, liberal, conservative, or somewhere in between. I don’t care if you are black, white, gay, straight, or anywhere in between. Take five minutes to click the link up there and call or email your representatives in Congress. Tell them that you will not give up your rights. Any of them.