The San Bernardino terror attack on Dec. 2 has caused gun-control activists to go into hyperdrive. President Obama and his administration have now latched on to using terror watch lists — those same lists once derided by his supporters — to strip Americans of constitutionally-protected rights. Yours truly and others have already mentioned just how dangerous of an idea that is, but it was perfectly illuminated Thursday during a House Oversight Committee hearing.
In one corner we have Kelli Burriesci, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Screening Coordination, Office of Policy of the United States Department of Homeland Security. (Quite a mouthful of a title there, so one would hope she would know her stuff…)
In another corner we have South Carolina Rep. Try Gowdy.
Here is how it all unfolded:
Trey Gowdy: Let me ask you a question about the terrorism list. What process is afforded a U.S. citizen — not someone who overstayed a visa, not someone who crossed a border without permission — but an American citizen? What process is currently afforded an American citizen before they go on that list?
DHS: I’m sorry, there is not a process afforded the citizen prior to getting on the list. There is a process should someone feel they are and unduly placed on the list.
Gowdy: Yes there is. And when I say ‘process,’ I’m actually using half of the term due process, which is a phrase we find in the Constitution — that you cannot deprive people of certain things without due process.
So I understand Mister Goode’s idea, which is wait until you’re right has been taken from you and then you can petition the government to get it back. I understand that that’s his idea. My question is can you name another constitutional right that we have that is chilled until you find out it’s chilled, and then you have to petition the government to get it back? Is that true of the First Amendment?
DHS: Sir, there are strict criteria before any gets put on the list.
Trey Gowdy:That’s not my question ma’am. That is not my question. My question is what process is afforded a United States citizen before that person’s constitutional right is infringed? He’s fine when do it with the Second Amendment. My question is, ‘How about the First?’ How about we not let them set up a website or Google account? How about we not let him join a church until until they can petition the government to get off the list. How about not get a lawyer? How about the Sixth Amendment?
How about you can’t get a lawyer until you petition the government to get off the list? Or my favorite — how about the Eighth amendment? We’re going to subject you to cruel and unusual punishment until you petitioned the government to get off the list. Is there another constitutional right that we treat the same way for American citizens that we do the Second Amendment? Can you think of one? **pause** Can you think of one?
DHS:I don’t have an answer for you, sir.
She. Doesn’t. Have. An. Answer.
How is it possible for someone at the Department of Homeland Security, who is advocating on behalf of stripping American citizens of constitutionally-protected rights, to not have an answer to those questions?
As Rep. Gowdy points out, the Obama administration’s own logic dictates that if the Second Amendment can be stripped without due process, then there is no reason why any other rights can’t be taken as well.
Listen to White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest’s comments on the issue Friday, and then ask yourself how comfortable you are with giving the federal government a blank check to do whatever it wants under the guise of national security.
Mr Earnest said:
“I think it’s common sense, the president believes it’s common sense and it is in our national security interest to prevent those who are deemed by the government ‘too dangerous to board an airplane’ that we should pass a law that prevents those people from purchasing a gun — until such time as they can resolve the concerns the government has about their potential links to terrorism. There is a process administered by the Department of Homeland Security for those concerns to be considered and resolved. When it comes to gun safety, that seems like a pretty common sense step.
In response to Sen. Rubio, I guess I would simply say: Is he suggesting we should wait until someone who is on the no-fly list walks into a gun[store], purchases a firearm and kills a whole bunch of Americans before we pass a law preventing it? I don’t think that passes the common sense test either.”
- The Department of Homeland Security does not know how many of your constitutional rights can be stripped without due process.
- President Obama wants to give women like Kelli “I don’t have an answer for you, sir” Burriesci the ability to deny you constitutionally-protected rights (The Second Amendment…for now.)
- The Department of Homeland Security officials will “consider” not infringing upon your constitutionally-protected rights if you go through its petition process and it feels like changing its mind.
In the same press briefing where Josh Earnest created a giant Straw Man argument for Sen. Rubio, the White House Press Secretary admitted that none of the recent mass shooters were on the no-fly list. He also stammered and stuttered when a reporter pointed out that none of the current gun-control measures being talked about would have prevented the mass shootings in the first place.
Right now the federal government is asking for power that its own officials don’t know how to justify because they know that what they want to do is unconstitutional.
Whether you are a gun owner or not, it should terrify you that the same argument used in favor of stripping Americans of Second Amendment rights without due process can be applied to any right enshrined in the U.S. Constitution.
If you cannot see the danger this poses to future generations of Americans, then I weep for your children.