Gov. Mark Dayton wants the Minnesota legislature to ban Minnesotans who are on the federal No-Fly List from buying guns. Last week, Sen. Tom Cotton explained why that’s ridiculous. This time, Rep. Trey Gowdy, (R-SC), a former federal prosecutor, takes a DHS employee to task on the matter.
When questioning Kelli Ann Burriesci, the Deputy Assistant Secretary, Office of Policy in the Department of Homeland Security, Rep. Gowdy said “I understand Mr. Gude’s idea, which is wait until your right has been taken from you and then you can petition the government to get it back. I understand that that’s his idea. My question is can you name another constitutional right that we have that is chilled until you find out and then you have to petition the government to get it back? Is that true with the First Amendment?”
When Ms. Burriesci replied “Sir, there are strict criteria…”, Rep. Gowdy interrupted, saying “That’s not my question. My question is what process is afforded a United States citizen before that citizen’s constitutional right is infringed? That [Mr. Gude]’s fine with doing it with the Second Amendment. My question is this. How about with the First? How about we not let them set up a website? Or a Google account? How about we not let them join a church until they can petition government to get off the list? How about not getting a lawyer? How about the Sixth Amendment? How about you can’t get a lawyer until you petition the government to get off the list? Or my favorite, the Eighth Amendment? We’re going to subject you to cruel and unusual punishment until you petition the government to get off the list? Is there another constitutional right that we treat the same way for American citizens that we do for the Second Amendment? Can you think of one?”
At that point, Ms. Burriesci chose to sit silent with a nervous smile on her face.
Gov. Dayton looked into whether he had the authority to ban people on the no-fly list with an executive order:
Gov. Mark Dayton is urging legislators to ban gun sales to people on terrorism watch lists. Dayton previously said he would explore possible actions in Minnesota. The governor said Friday he concluded he doesn’t have the authority to restrict those sales on his own.
But he left it to the Legislature to pass such a law, and promised he would sign it. He says people who aren’t allowed to board airplanes shouldn’t be able to purchase guns.
The good news for Minnesotans is that the legislature won’t pass that type of legislation. The better news is that such a bill is unconstitutional because it strips people of their Second Amendment rights without affording people their due process rights. That would violate a person’s Fifth Amendment rights and their Fourteenth Amendment’s rights.
The Democrats’ argument sounds reasonable. The Democrats’ proposal isn’t reasonable because innocent people would have their Second Amendment rights abridged by a government bureaucrat while having their due process rights stripped.
The thought that the government can strip us of our God-given constitutional rights is absurd. It’s especially absurd when that government strips us of our constitutional rights without giving us the opportunity to explain why we shouldn’t be on the No-Fly List.