Trump Debate Responses on Guns Make Unacceptable Concessions
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump raised eyebrows among rights advocates Monday night in his debate against Democrat pick Hillary Clinton. While the entire exchange lends itself to evaluation against delegated Constitutional authority, two of Trump’s proposals centered on guns stick out.
“Now, whether or not in a place like Chicago you do stop and frisk, which worked very well, Mayor Giuliani is here, worked very well in New York,” Trump proclaimed. “It brought the crime rate way down. But you take the gun away from criminals that shouldn’t be having it.”
In addition to the Second Amendment, Fourth Amendment search and seizure concerns are raised. Some will no doubt point to the Supreme Court’s Terry ruling allowing police to search based on “reasonable suspicion.” That can be a subjective call, and if the state can play fast and loose over one subset of the citizenry, it’s not that far of a stretch to ask if wearing Oath Keepers garb might prompt suspicion, with officers taking their lead from fusion centers painting members as “extremist threats.”
Extra care and attention needs to be given to any such proposals to see if a balance is even possible between liberty and the Constitution not being a suicide pact. With that in mind, Trump waved another red flag.
“First of all, I agree, and a lot of people even within my own party want to give certain rights to people on watch lists and no- fly lists. I agree with you,” Trump told Clinton. “When a person is on a watch list or a no-fly list, and I have the endorsement of the NRA, which I’m very proud of.”
And there’s the rub, because NRA has promoted “kinder, gentler” Republican versions of watch lists, and endorsed the politicians offering them. While words like “due process” are thrown around as some kind of reassurance, the fact remains that a fundamental right is being denied to citizens who have not even been charged with a crime, let alone convicted. And what real terrorist, assuming he went to an FFL in the first place, wouldn’t view a NICS denial as a good indication that he’s been made?
The applicable truism is that anyone who can’t be trusted with a gun can’t be trusted without a custodian. But in order to make that happen, real due process must be afforded.
Trump has been problematic on guns in the past, and now presents his NRA endorsement as all the approval he needs. But gun owners are hardly a monolith. Many have criticized NRA in the past over political endorsements, pushing for preemptive surrenders, and for the deliberate indifference it has shown to the immigration/pathway to citizenship threat.
Two thoughts come to mind – voting for the “lesser of two evils” and an admission from “progressive” icon Carroll Quigley:
“The argument that the two parties should represent opposed ideals and policies, one, perhaps, of the Right and the other of the Left, is a foolish idea acceptable only to doctrinaire and academic thinkers. Instead, the two parties should be almost identical, so that the American people can ‘throw the rascals out’ at any election without leading to any profound or extensive shifts in policy.”
So what can we do?
Some no doubt will argue voting doesn’t matter, and our best course is to prepare for the inevitable conflict. Others will still try to employ remaining peaceable means of redress from the Constitution, and work to elect representatives who will legislate and confirm judicial nominees consistent with Founding principles.
Will voting matter? Trump may end up betraying us.
May. Then again, enough will want to see him stumble into an impeachment that he may decide he needs continued support from his base and won’t want to cross them.
We know what Hillary wants to do.
The only certainty – and even that’s predicated on no out-of-the-blue surprises – is that if Trump is not elected, Hillary will be.
UPDATE: Oath Keepers has taken some email heat from a member (who also took GOA to the woodshed for its report on Trump’s “stumble”) screaming at us to shut up.
I call everyone’s attention to how this column ended: If Trump does not win, Hillary will. The stakes are understood.
We need to be aware of Trump’s flaws because those opposed to Hillary will be expected to defend him, and already the leftists are using his statements to try and undermine gun owner support. Plus as I also pointed out, he’s taking a lot of his lead from NRA. My hope from the article — and the reason I sent it to his campaign — was to let him know he needs to walk that back or it will jeopardize trust he’s getting that hasn’t really been earned yet.
The bottom line is the leftists are all over it. Nothing we can do about that.
If we stand by and say nothing, we cede the ideological battlefield to our enemies rather than try to appeal to those who may be swayed by those pieces clearly intended to divide and conquer.
I sent this piece to the Trump campaign with the hope that it will give him pause to consider the implications, including of taking the fire out of the bellies of those otherwise inclined to give him a chance to prove himself.
As for my critic who called Oath Keepers “stupid” for posting this, I invite you to bring your comments to this forum. Just be sure you can cite some examples where sticking heads in the sand resulted in victory.
NOTE FROM STEWART:
David, along with GOA, is doing the Trump campaign a favor by pointing out how badly Trump is cutting his own throat with gun owners by supporting the use of government “watch lists” to strip people of their right to keep and bear arms (all without a trial – just some bureaucratic weenie typing your name into a database) just like Trump is also cutting his own throat with millions of Ron Paul Republicans, libertarians, and constitutionalists by being in favor of stop and frisk, which obviously violates the Fourth Amendment. People who understand the Bill of Rights, and take it seriously, can see that both policies violate the Constitution.
Yelling at us to sit down and shut up is not going to help Trump win. Trump is the one who is alienating millions of gun owners and constitutionalists, with his own words. We are just conveying the warning to him and his supporters that he is making a terrible mistake. So, don’t shoot the messenger.
Imagine this: Trump is standing on a stage. He pulls out a big knife, sticks it deep into one side of his neck, and begins to pull it across, from ear to ear. As he starts to slit his own throat, we yell out “Stop! You’re slitting your own throat!” and then some Trump supporter yells “Sit down and shut up! Don’t you dare yell at our guy about how he’s cutting his throat. Leave him alone!” Now, who is helping him, and who is hurting him?
We’d love nothing better than for Trump to correct his course to avoid the disaster of losing gun owner and constitutionalist support. And the gun owners and constitutionalists are not going to stop supporting him because we point this out – they are going to stop supporting him because of his own statements.
You want to help Trump? Tell him to stop cutting his own throat. – Stewart Rhodes
PS- Also see the comments here, during the debate, on how Trump was blowing it.