Neither Major Candidate Will Defend Your Gun Rights
This article comes from fee.org
by Ilya Somin
At the presidential debate, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton made all kinds of attacks on each other. But on one notable issue, they were in complete agreement: they both think people on the federal government’s “no fly list” should be categorically denied their right to buy guns under the Second Amendment. Both candidates have repeatedly said so for months. Trump’s stance on this issue should be deeply troubling to those who care about gun rights – and also to people concerned about constitutional rights generally, even if they don’t care much about this one.
As both the ACLU and conservative commentators point out, the no fly list is notoriously inaccurate. It is also provides little or no due process protections. The process is secret, people are not told the reasons why they were placed on the list, and they are not given any advance opportunity to challenge the designation. And, once on the list, even a completely innocent person might find it difficult and time-consuming to get off it.
Trump’s Hypocrisy on Guns
If Trump is committed to the idea that your Second Amendment rights can be stripped on such a flimsy basis, with so little due process, then virtually any other politically feasible limitation on gun rights is also acceptable. The sort of reasoning that would uphold this restriction on gun ownership would permit pretty much any other. That should give pause to people supporting Trump because they think he is going to protect Second Amendment rights. It is also yet another reason to doubt that he would appoint originalist judges committed to protecting important constitutional rights generally. Most such judges are unlikely to uphold these kinds of gun regulations (as well as many other items on his political agenda).
Trump’s disdain for Second Amendment rights is not limited to the no fly list. At last night’s debate, he also said he wants police to use “stop and frisk” searches to take away guns from “bad people.” It’s not entirely clear what he means by this remark (it could be interpreted as being limited to people the police believe to be “felons” or “gang members” whom he also mentioned in the same part of the debate). But, at the very least, it’s another example of him advocating gun confiscation without due process. It also indicates a disturbing level of confidence that the government can identify “bad people” and take away their guns without victimizing the innocent.
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