[Editor's Note: GOA's Erich Pratt sent the letter below to Congress on October 11, 2018. With the Brett Kavanaugh hearings, the nation saw how unsubstantiated charges can flourish when Due Process is ignored. Likewise, anti-gun activists are pushing legislation that will eliminate proper Due Process -- thus disarming gun owners on the basis of false accusations.]
Kavanaugh Hearings Show the Importance of Due Process
-- A Protection that Helps Safeguard Our Gun Rights
October 11, 2018
Much of the nation was recently outraged to witness unsubstantiated allegations being leveled against Brett Kavanaugh.
But equally upsetting are the “red flag laws” which allow unsubstantiated charges to disarm law-abiding Americans -- forcing them to pay thousands of dollars (after the fact) to prove their innocence and get their rights restored.
These laws are better known as Gun Confiscation Orders, and they turn our system of justice on its head. No one should have their rights taken from them and then be forced to prove their innocence. It’s the government’s job to prove someone is guilty, after affording that person all the protections of Due Process.
Please see David Harsanyi’s article below. He notes how the recent Kavanaugh hearings should be a scary warning of what life would be like without Due Process protections. And for those who love the Second Amendment, you can kiss your gun rights goodbye if Due Process is thrown out the window.
Democrats’ New Anti-Gun Laws Are Also An Attack On Due Process
by David Harsanyi
“In much the same way they attempted to sink the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation, Democrats [are using] ‘red flag laws,’ [where] guns can be confiscated from citizens who’ve never been charged with, much less convicted of, breaking any law.”
THE NOTION that certain Americans are pre-emptively guilty of wrongdoing, whether there’s any corroborating evidence to back up an accusation or not, isn’t reserved for conservatives who happen to be in contention for a Supreme Court seat….
Another area of American life where we continue to see egregious attacks on the presumption of innocence is gun ownership. You might remember that a couple of years ago, Democrats engaged in a much-covered congressional “sit-in” to support legislation that would have stripped Americans on secret government watchlists — hundreds of thousands of people who had never been accused, much less convicted, of any crime — of their constitutional right to bear arms.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, in fact, proposed legislation that would have restricted not only American citizens on faulty watchlists but anyone who had been on any watchlist at any time during the previous five years and anyone who had traveled to select Middle Eastern countries. Apparently, Democrats believe limiting the number of refugees from Syria is unconstitutional but explicitly restricting the constitutional rights of Syrian immigrants here legally is just fine.
Then again, the entire effort was a frontal attack on about half the Bill of Rights. At the time, even the American Civil Liberties Union, which has increasingly turned away from its guiding principles, argued that policies based on flawed terror lists would undermine civil liberties.
In much the same way they attempted to sink the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation, Democrats relied on theatrics, bombastic rhetoric and a compliant media, which framed the issue exactly how they had hoped. You can imagine such bills will reappear when they’re back in charge….
Federal law already prohibits the sale of a gun to anyone who “has been adjudicated as a mental defective.” Until now, a person had an option to appeal the ban and show “a preponderance of evidence” that he would use firearms in “a safe and lawful manner.” Now California bans onetime patients from owning firearms for the rest of their lives. This is an excellent way to stigmatize people who suffer from maladies that often have nothing to do with violence or criminality.
Now, I was going to ask the reader to imagine an alternate scenario in which Republicans pushed a bill prohibiting those who have been in hospitals — for, say, nervous exhaustion or an addiction — from being able to freely express their opinions in public ever again. If a law-abiding American can be stripped of his Second Amendment rights, then why not his First Amendment rights? But then, these days, I imagine many Democrats would simply answer, “It depends on what the person is going to say.”…
Under “red flag laws,” guns can be confiscated from citizens who’ve never been charged with, much less convicted of, breaking any law. And it’s getting easier and easier to do it.
All it takes in many states is for a family member, neighbor or co-worker to accuse you of a pre-crime. One of Maryland’s many new laws (signed by Republican Gov. Larry Hogan) allows the police to confiscate weapons for up to a year — or until the next person accuses you of a crime you are only yet to commit.
There is risible evidence that these new regulations will stop mass shootings or lower gun crime.
But as William Rosen, deputy legal director for Everytown for Gun Safety, explains, “red flag laws” are needed to “step into that gap.”
You know, the pesky space between protecting the ideal of presuming innocence and completely ignoring it when you feel like it.
David Harsanyi is a senior editor at The Federalist and the author of the forthcoming book “First Freedom: A Ride Through America’s Enduring History With the Gun.”