Pesky Constitution gets in the way of gun control agenda
The Constitution is proving to be an inconvenient road block to politicians' dreams of gun control. Or at least that's what we're forced to conclude about these remarks from West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin:
Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., said Thursday that due process is one of the "big problems" standing in the way of lawmakers passing legislation that would keep suspected terrorists from purchasing firearms, and argued that the Fifth Amendment is "killing us right now."
"The problem we have, and really the firewall we have right now, is due process. It's all due process," he said Thursday on MSNBC's "Morning Joe."
"We can all say we want the same thing," he continued, "but how do we get there?"
Gun control proponents are backing legislation that would bar persons who appear on the government's terrorist watch list, a secretive database established in 2003 under the Bush administration, from purchasing a firearm. Opponents of the proposal argue it violates the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution, which requires "due process of law," and says no one can be held to answer for a crime "unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury."
And because of that deeply inconvenient thing called due process, the FBI was unable to do its job, according to Manchin:
"[The FBI] did everything they could. The FBI did everything they were supposed to do, but there was no way for them to keep him on the nix list, or keep him off the gun buy list," Manchin said. "There was no way to do that. So can't we say that if a person is under suspicion, there should be a five-year period of time that we have to see if good behavior, if this person continues the same traits, maybe we can come to that type of agreement."
"But due process is what's killing us right now," he added.
The Fifth Amendment is designed to ensure the rights of those accused of crimes are protected -- because everyone is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. It is a hallmark of American justice, and a bulwark against unlimited state power.
The Constitution, and the Bill of Rights, protect the rights of everyone -- even those whose views and actions are repugnant.
If Sen. Manchin has forgotten this, then perhaps the better use of his time is studying the document he swore to uphold, rather than gold-plating his dangerous ignorance on cable television.