Because the more convenient narrative for Democrats, in the wake of mass murder at an Orlando gay club, is gun control as opposed to the threats posed by extremist Islam there is currently a debate in Congress over denying guns to people on the government’s myriad threat watch lists.
Watch lists described by the ACLU as being “virtually standardless.”
North Dakota’s own Senator Heidi Heitkamp is now under heavy pressure from anti-gun groups to join with Democrats in passing such legislation. The president of the Brady Campaign and Center to Prevent Gun Violence suggested her past opposition to stricter gun control laws means she’s siding with “gun rights terrorists.”
— Dan Gross (@Dan_at_Brady) June 16, 2016
The pressure has gotten so heavy that it appears as thought the Senator canceled a speaking gig for the Iowa Democratic Party. At least that’s the speculation from the Des Moines Register.
And Heitkamp seems to be considering giving in to the pressure. She tells the Wall Street Journal that she’s considering the legislation to deny gun rights to people on government watch lists:
Heitkamp spokeswoman Abigail McDonough on Thursday said she still opposes legislation to expand background checks but is working toward a compromise on terror watch list restrictions.
“She believes there needs to be a real bipartisan discussion about what any bill to address the terror watch list issue would look like so that it actually addresses the issue at hand and gets enough bipartisan support to pass in the Senate,” said Ms. McDonough. “She has made clear where she stands on background checks legislation, and that hasn’t changed.”
It will be interesting to see what sort of compromise Heitkamp supports.
The problem with using the watch lists as justification for denying people their 2nd amendment rights is that there is no due process involved when it comes to being put on the watch list. Essentially, if the government decides you might be some sort of a threat, you go on the list. Sometimes you can end up there accidentally if you happen to have the same name as – or even a name similar to – someone the government considers a threat.
Ending up on the watch list for no really good reason at all is entirely too easy.
If the government wants to deny someone their civil rights there must be a rigorous degree of due process involved.
If that’s the standard Heitkamp wants to apply to the legislation proposed by Democrats, then good for her. That may even be something supporters of the 2nd amendment can support.
But absent that sort of a rigorous standard, Heitkamp jumping on board with this legislation would signal a major departure from her support for gun rights.