New York Times op-ed: Congress should SECRETLY suspend Second Amendment rights

New York Times op-ed: Congress should SECRETLY suspend Second Amendment rights
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Sure, because that’s how a free society works. The government has the absolute authority to determine what’s best for its citizens — in this case owning a firearm. And when the powers that be decides to abridge a citizen’s rights, it should be done so clandestinely … so the citizen has no idea what hit him.

That sums up the position advocated in a New York Times op-ed calling for a new law that allows a secret court to take away citizens’ right to own a gun at the discretion of the federal government.

Citing the Orlando terror attack that left 50 dead including the shooter and 53 wounded at a gay night club, the piece advocates for a “no-buy” list similar to “no-fly” lists. Under the law, suspected terrorists would not be able to buy a gun. In an attempt to ensure the integrity of the lists and preserve due process, the author proposes people only be added to this no-buy list after a secret court rules they are ineligible, similar to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court hearings where the federal government obtains permission to wiretap. Under this proposal, an American who has never been convicted of a crime could be denied their right to buy a gun simply because a secret court decided it should be that way.

The piece is written by Adam Winkler, a U.C.L.A. School of Law professor. Winkler argues the secret court is a good idea because the same kind of court is already used for government surveillance, and historically, the U.S. has committed worse rights violations such as Japanese internment camps. Shorter Adam Winkler: Two wrongs do make a right.

“If the attorney general believes a suspected terrorist should be added to the list, she should have to go to court first and offer up evidence,” Winkler writes.

Here’s how it would work: When the attorney general wanted to revoke someone’s Second Amendment rights, he or she would bring evidence to a court which would then determine if there is probable cause. The court proceedings would be secret and have no clear path to appeal.

This court proceeding, of course, would be secret. Although that denies the person included on the no-buy list the opportunity to rebut the attorney general’s evidence, we do the same thing every day with search warrants and wiretaps for criminal suspects. Our right to bear arms is no more fundamental than our right to privacy, and treating them similarly can help keep us safer from terrorists.

For maximum secrecy, Congress could assign these probable cause determinations to the jurisdiction of the existing Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. The judges on this court have a deep understanding of the nation’s national security threats.

Winkler argued in a 2006 Huffington Post article that the NSA mass surveillance program was illegal because President George W. Bush abused and ignored the FISA court. The same court that was so easily abused by the administration for mass surveillance will apparently be entirely trustworthy when it comes to taking second amendment rights.

Near the end of the article, Winkler points out his plan to subject all of America to the secret court probably wouldn’t stop a terrorist, anyway.

“With over 300 million guns in America and private gun sales allowed with no background check whatsoever, a determined terrorist will most likely still be able to obtain guns,” he wrote. “Yet the easiest, most convenient way to buy guns — from a gun store, with the best prices and selection, like the one where the Orlando attacker bought his guns — wouldn’t be available.”

This report, by Casey Harper, was cross-posted by arrangement with the Daily Caller News Foundation.

LU Staff

LU Staff

Promoting and defending liberty, as defined by the nation’s founders, requires both facts and philosophical thought, transcending all elements of our culture, from partisan politics to social issues, the workings of government, and entertainment and off-duty interests. Liberty Unyielding is committed to bringing together voices that will fuel the flame of liberty, with a dialogue that is lively and informative.

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