Friday, June 24, 2016

It’s About Publicity, Plain and Simple.

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David Nelson
Drew Griffin (CNN)
Stephen Hayes (The Weekly Standard)
Sen. Ted Kennedy
Rep. John Lewis

What do an actor, two journalists, and two elected officials all have in common?

Well, at one point or another, all of these folks have mistakenly been placed on the federal government's "no-fly list." That's right … they've been placed on the list the federal government maintains to keep suspected terrorists out of the skies and planted firmly on the ground.

Needless to say, accuracy hasn't been the first priority for the federal government when putting together the "no-fly list."

Yet, this week, House Democrats (including, ironically enough, Rep. John Lewis … who is reported by CNN to have been stopped at the airport 35-40 times within a year) staged a "sit-in" on the House floor to try to force a vote on a piece of legislation that would prevent folks on the "no-fly list" from purchasing firearms.

The bill that House Democrats are so devoted to wouldn't require government officials to meet any of the due process requirements that the Constitution necessitates before law-abiding citizens can be deprived of their fundamental rights. That means that anyone—you, or me, or President Obama, or yes, even Rep. John Lewis—could be placed on the list and prevented from exercising his or her Second Amendment rights.

But the no-fly, no buy legislation would have prevented the atrocities that occurred in Orlando, right? Wrong. As The Atlantic reported in an article about the legislation stalled in the House:

"Mateen was under FBI investigation for connections to terrorism two separate times in 2013 and 2014, the agency's director, James Comey, confirmed on Monday. During that time, the government placed him in the Terrorist Screening Database, more commonly known as the terror watch list. (The no-fly list is a smaller subset of this list that forbids suspected individuals from boarding a commercial plane.) When those inquires ended, the government removed him from the list, the Los Angeles Times reported. Even if the legislation had been enacted, it would not have ensured that the FBI would have flagged Mateen when he went to buy an assault-style rifle and handgun in the days before Sunday's massacre."

So what is this week's stunt on the House Floor really about? It's not about preventing gun violence. It's far from being about protecting the Constitution. It's about publicity, plain and simple.

What we should be focusing on in the House is protecting American lives while defending the Constitution. Those shouldn't be mutually exclusive. The fact is that when evil men seek to commit acts of violence, they have no reverence for the law. Curbing the rights of decent, law-abiding citizens doesn't prevent that. If we defeat terrorism everywhere it lives, we will prevent further recruitment and radicalization efforts and put an end to these acts of violence. That has to be objective number one.


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