No one wants terrorists to have guns. However, Gov. Dannel Malloy’s recent proposal to ban gun purchases from those who appear on a nebulous terrorist “watch list” is a step too far.
There is no doubt that Gov. Malloy is not a big fan of the Second Amendment. Unfortunately, this plan also guts the 14th Amendment due process clause by suspending the right to purchase and potentially confiscating legally owned property without providing ANY evidence to do so.
Malloy’s proposal (strongly endorsed by Sens. Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal) would strip constitutional rights from individuals without the burden of providing a shred of evidence of criminal or terrorist activities. The ACLU estimates are that there are over 1.1 million people on such watch lists…all unprosecuted. There are no definitions or guidelines as to what will land you on such a watch list and they are notoriously inaccurate. They have caught U.S. senators and 18-month-old infants in their web.
But, trapping legal gun owners in that web is the least of our governor’s concerns. The question is: Is it actually his plan?
If Malloy is truly interested in keeping guns out of the hands of terrorists without shredding the Constitution, then he should resoundingly support the proposal below. On Dec. 3, Sen. John Cornyn of Texas proposed the “Protect America Act of 2015” as an amendment to pending legislation.
Cornyn’s amendment would block a gun purchase by anyone on a terrorist watch list for 72 hours. The Attorney General would then be required to confirm the identity of the individual and show probable cause at a hearing to prevent that individual from purchasing a firearm. This amendment would have absolutely addressed the issue of keeping guns out of the hands of terrorists while at the same time, protecting the constitutional freedoms that we all enjoy.
THAT is due process!
There were only TWO Democrat Senators who wisely voted with Republicans in favor of Cornyn’s amendment. Sens. Murphy and Blumenthal both voted “NO.” It’s clear that their only goal in this latest endeavor is to prevent gun ownership to anyone they can target, not combatting terrorism. Gov.Malloy has also shown that is his unstated goal.
However, I would challenge our governor: Please prove me wrong! Support a proposal in Connecticut similar to the 72-hour hold that I have outlined. This will achieve both goals of keeping guns out of terrorist’s hands without gutting the freedoms guaranteed in the Constitution.
I just hope that writing this editorial doesn’t put me on a watch list!
Bob Ferguson lives in Weston.