Tucson, AZ -(AmmoLand.com)- This article isn’t about guns.
This article isn’t about the 2nd Amendment.
As a matter of fact, whether you realize it or not, this debate is no longer about guns or the 2nd Amendment. It’s not about “assault rifles”, background checks, or even about terrorists. No, this debate has shifted focus completely, and very few realize it.
First of all, I wholeheartedly understand and appreciate the intent behind the Terrorist Watchlist legislation. It evokes an immediate, heartfelt reaction, as it should. How on Earth is it possible that a man who has pledged allegiance to ISIS and is in the FBI’s radar as a potential terrorist was able to walk into a gun store, pass a background check, and walk out with a semi-automatic rifle? And moreover, who on Earth wouldn’t want to close this seeming loophole, who would want this to remain a possibility in the future?
No one. That’s the truth. No one wants a terrorist to get his hands on a firearm, especially not on U.S. soil. No one in the NRA wants this to happen again, no gun owners want this to remain a possibility for the future. However, there’s no such thing as a free lunch, and while this legislation may seem like a no-brainer, I sincerely feel that this is the most dangerous piece of legislation I have ever seen in my lifetime. Not just for gun owners, but for every single American.
Once again, this is no longer about guns. This is about summarily revoking an individual’s 5th and 6th Amendment rights based on suspicion and conjecture, not facts or evidence.
America’s justice system was built on a few rock solid tenants that are among our greatest safeguards against a slide back into tyranny. We are innocent until proven guilty, we have the right to a trial, a fair trial, and a speedy trial. We have a right to be judged by our peers, to gather our own witnesses to testify on our behalf, to obtain legal counsel, and, of utmost importance, to face our accuser. These rights to Due Process are among the most crystal clear rights enumerated and protected by the Bill of Rights. There is no room for ambiguity.
Without these rights being afforded to all American citizens, under all possible circumstances, our Justice system would be anything but just. It would be a series of poorly decorated rooms in which those in power are able to lob charges at those who can’t defend themselves, where people are found guilty of crimes before any evidence is presented, where individuals who hold political views contrary to the current status quo are labelled enemies of the state and silenced with no possibility for recourse.
Without the 5th and 6th Amendments, we are, quite literally, no longer a free people.
If this seems alarmist to you, consider the following. Between 2012 and 2013, then-Attorney General Eric Holder was questioned frequently by members of Congress regarding the use of drone strikes against American citizens.
AG Holder famously stated, “Due process’ and ‘judicial process’ are not one and the same, particularly when it comes to national security. The Constitution guarantees due process, not judicial process.”
(The aforementioned rights would fall, for Mr. Holder, under the seemingly nonexistent “judicial process.” What is his definition of “due process”? I have yet to hear that clarified by him, or by our new AG, Loretta Lynch.)
Keep in mind, this quote wasn’t in regards to keeping guns out of the hands of terrorists. It was about literally dropping a bomb on the heads of American citizens, summarily executing them because of a perceived threat. He could have very easily stated that the threat was so imminent that the suspect’s rights were forfeit, using the same legal justification for a police officer shooting a suspect who is holding a knife to their victim’s throat. In that circumstance, there’s absolutely no chance to provide the suspect with their judicial rights, and everyone understands that. But that’s not what he said!
Eric Holder, the top prosecutorial authority in the United States at the time, said quite clearly that he believes American’s have no Constitutional right to any judicial proceedings. All of that stuff in the 5th and 6th Amendments, our very cornerstones of freedom, do not exist in the eyes of the Executive branch. And this quote wasn’t made in regards to someone’s right to buy a gun, or to get on a plane, it was made in regards to the assassination of American citizens.
This law would establish the precedent that constitutionally guaranteed rights can be stripped away with absolutely no due process. It turns Eric Holder’s conjecture and turns it into law. It bulldozes the 5th and 6th Amendments to take a weak jab at the 2nd.
Now, if you support or ignore this legislation because you feel that you and your friends and family would never end up on such a watchlist, quite frankly, you’re wrong. It’s incredibly easy to get your name on there for the most absurd, and often nonexistent, reasons.
What if your name is wrongly added to the list? What is the process to get your name removed? Well, let’s check the FBI’s website here. Scroll down to “redress procedures” and click on the link. Does it tell you, like it did to me, that the page doesn’t exist? It’s probably because you don’t have any rights to Judicial Process.
Perhaps you don’t care about the 2nd Amendment at all, perhaps you don’t care if that particular right is stripped from you. Let me remind you, this isn’t about guns anymore. It is common practice to freeze the assets of suspected terrorists. What if you woke up one day and all of your bank accounts, all of your credit cards don’t work anymore because you wrongly wound up on a secret watchlist that you can’t take yourself off of? What if that wasn’t done by mistake, but because something you said didn’t conform to the current political agenda, and got you labelled a “suspected terrorist”? What if you were detained by law enforcement because you were suspected of potential, unknown terrorism in the future? Well, get comfortable, because your right to a trial was, once upon a time, guaranteed by the 6th Amendment, and that doesn’t apply to you anymore, you terrorist.
And finally, if you support this legislation because you feel that, even though it might create the possibility for gross government misconduct, it would never be abused in such a way, then you have your generational blinders on. Keep in mind, the power being granted here all belongs with the Executive branch, in its entirety.
So, briefly look across the aisle. If you are planning on voting for Hillary Clinton, ask yourself, very honestly, whether or not you would be comfortable with Donald Trump wielding a hammer this large. With removing the checks and balances that the Judicial system has over the Executive branch, with Donald Trump being able to summarily declare anyone a terrorist suspect, and thereby remove your right to a fair trial, a speedy trial, your right to face your accuser, to legal counsel, to call witnesses. Your right to be innocent until proven guilty.
If you are planning on voting for Trump, ask yourself the same of Hillary Clinton.
Moreover, ask yourself these questions about the person who will hold the presidency in 2020, or 2024. Who will that be? No one knows, but if we pass this legislation, they will hold this ax regardless. Do you really think that there’s no way such impunity would never be used to silence political opposition? And if it was, how would we even find out about it?
I understand that this is a difficult time; that we want, we need to do something. But this forfeiture of our most basic, most imperative human rights, is like drinking a gallon of bleach to kill off the flu.
I beg you, I implore you, regardless of your political leanings, regardless of your stance on the current firearms debate, fight this legislation tooth and nail.
A&A Ammunition, CEO
About A&A Ammunition:
A&A Ammunition was founded with a single goal in mind: To help shooters be able to train by offering them high quality, affordable ammunition.
For more information, visit: http://shop.trainhardammo.com.
About Andrew Scott:
Andrew Scott is the Founder and CEO of A&A Ammunition, an ammunition manufacturing and sales company located in Tucson, AZ that specializes in reloading high quality training ammo. He is also a Veteran currently serving in the Arizona Air National Guard, and has previously worked in numerous industries ranging from food prep to stock trading.
For more of his writings, visit the A&A Ammunition website at www.TrainHardAmmo.com/blog.