Matt went over some of the details of this last night, but I’m seeing a lot of pushback among my Second Amendment loving friends over Paul Ryan’s announcement that there would be some gun control votes coming up in the House. That’s understandable given the history of our leaders in Congress because there’s rarely a time when the word “guns” shows up in a bill and it turns out to be good news for gun rights advocates. This has led to plenty of coverage which characterizes Ryan as “caving” on the demands of Democrats, such as this example. (AOL News feed)
RYAN CAVES: House speaker tells GOP he will allow vote on gun measure, source says
According to a source on a GOP conference call, the speaker indicated that the House will indeed vote on a proposal that would prevent suspected terrorists from buying guns.
One of the issues discussed on the call was terrorist watch lists, the source said.
The source added that the speaker said it was important to make sure suspected terrorists can’t obtain firearms.
The proposal will be part of a larger anti-terrorism package. Ryan also indicated that the House would take up Rep. Tim Murphy’s mental illness bill that proposes removing some barriers for caregivers seeking care for patients with a history of violence, among other measures aimed at keeping mentally ill individuals from committing violent crimes…
Call it caving if you like, but there’s clearly an argument to be made in favor of doing this. The fact is that questions of constitutional rights should be a no brainer. (Granted… the way most Democrats vote on the subject is more indicative of “no brains” but the point remains.) If there is a demand for a vote on a given bill, it sends a terrible message for the majority to run for the hills and refuse to consider it. When you have the Constitution and the rights of Americans on your side you shouldn’t be afraid of a vote… you should make your case and win the vote.
Further, sunlight remains the best remedy for legislative malfeasance. So by all means, if a vote is desired on the question of Second Amendment rights, let’s get every elected official lined up for a reading of the yeas and nays and put them down on the record. A solid majority of voters in every poll still respects the Second Amendment and believes that gun ownership makes Americans safer, so let us get those who would vote against our rights out in the open have them defend that vote in November.
As to the bill itself, we’ll need to see the final language, but they seem to be talking about the terrorism watch list again, or “No Fly No Buy.” Democrats are supporting the suspension of the rights of citizens who are suspected of something, but in nearly every case have yet to even be arrested, say nothing of convicted. Let’s vote on that idea and make sure that it is voted down. If there are people on that list who we actually know are terrorists, arrest them. There is nothing wrong with temporarily seizing the weapons of someone who has provided probable cause for law enforcement to arrest and charge them. If a trial proves the state wrong and the person is found innocent, their guns should be promptly returned to them. If they go to jail the question is already settled.
But if the suspected individual has yet to do anything rising to the level of getting an arrest warrant for them and they are citizens of the United States, we cannot suspend their rights. If there are sufficient members of Congress who disagree with that principle, let’s get them out on the floor, record their votes and publicize their names widely in the next primary cycle.