President Barack Obama addressed the nation Sunday, December 6 a few days following the radical Islamic terror in San Bernardino that consumed the news and just one week following the radical Islamic terror that descended in several places in Paris. Both societies had two things in common, gun control and ISIS. Sadly, in both places sharing the same gun philosophy, violence was unrestrained. Also sadly, the president’s solutions to ending such violence in Americas’ cities are all unconstitutional.
When he covered what we should do at home he advised Congress “to make sure no one on a no-fly list is able to buy a gun. What could possibly be the argument for allowing a terrorist suspect to buy a semi-automatic weapon?”
George W. Bush created the no-fly list after 9/11. Prior to this there was a list of but 16 who were considered security risks for flying according to a June 7, 2007, CBS 60 Minutes presentation called “Unlikely Terrorists on No Fly List.” It is largely secret, “even members of Congress have been denied access to it.” 60 Minutes disclosed a no-fly list of 44,000 and another 75,000 Americans who should have “additional security screening.” At that time, eight years ago, the list was over 540 pages long.
Whether maintained by Bush or Obama a no-fly list for U.S. citizens is itself unconstitutional. The government places a restriction on someone because of a perceived belief, practice or action and thus defined him or her as a possible threat—no actual evidence required. In most instances he has not even been informed of the government’s intention to punish him until he attempts to fly and is forbidden doing so. In the Obama speech he was referred to as a “terrorist suspect.” A punishment is applied without any evidence of unlawful behavior—he may not fly. If there had been unlawful behavior the person would be incarcerated and the issue of a no-fly list would be irrelevant. Remember U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy was once on the government’s no-fly list as was a six-year-old boy, a number of persons over 80 years of age, and an 18-month old toddler Reianna (last name not given in the CNN report to protect family identity).
No-fly restrictions violate Amendment 5 as he was denied free movement or “liberty” “without due process of law.” The Amendment guarantees the person the right to be accused before punishment, but no accusation was made nor was evidence presented to a jury to evaluate as required.
It also violates Amendment 6 which guarantees one accused of his right “to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.” None of this happens for the no-fly list people as the government has already effectively convicted and rendered punishment, sometimes indefinitely. Most have no idea why they are on the list or how to get off it.
Should Congress adhere to Obama’s request to “make sure no one on a no-fly list is able to buy a gun” they will amplify the already existing constitutional infractions of Amendments 5 and 6 and keep thousands of lawful Americans from protecting themselves with arms. Amendment 2 guarantees “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms,” and certifies that this right “shall not be infringed.” This too would be violated. A law—any law—cannot trump a constitutional amendment. The only constitutional way that Obama can change this amendment is with a new constitutional amendment.
Obama’s solution to the gun violence in California, we “need to make it harder for people to buy powerful assault weapons like the ones that were used in San Bernardino,” shows some ignorance of what happened there. California has the toughest gun control laws in the nation and it was not enough nor would it be if the government had gun confiscation. Paris, France had total gun confiscation over its people and ISIS still had free reign on its citizenry. Paris and San Bernardino had ISIS as their common denominator and the philosophy that if guns are restricted or confiscated there will be no violence. This proved false should put an end to this illogical argument.
Obama continued, “I know there are some who reject any gun safety measures.”
I know of none. My associates, who have guns, are very aware of safety measures. Firearms are dangerous. I have held a concealed weapons permit for many years and gun safety measures were always emphasized.
Then amazingly the President, probably without knowing it, made the case why gun control or confiscation will never end violence. He said: “But the fact is that our intelligence and law enforcement agencies — no matter how effective they are — cannot identify every would-be mass shooter, whether that individual is motivated by ISIL or some other hateful ideology.”
I rest my case. The federal government just admitted that it cannot always protect us. Natural law kicks in. People have an inalienable right to protect themselves. Violence will always exist in society. No matter how fast law enforcement is, (in San Bernardino the first officer arrived in 4 minutes), it is always not fast enough and people are normally already dead. As long as this is so, good people will carry guns—lawfully or unlawfully.
Dr. Harold Pease is a syndicated columnist and an expert on the United States Constitution. He has dedicated his career to studying the writings of the Founding Fathers and applying that knowledge to current events. He has taught history and political science from this perspective for over 25 years at Taft College. To read more of his weekly articles, please visit www.LibertyUnderFire.org.