Letter To The Editor: Response To Jody Benson And Message To The New Mexico Delegation

By DAN OLIVER
Los Alamos
 
Yes, it’s a no-brainer that it’s a bad thing when terrorists or mentally unstable people get their hands on guns and we should try to prevent that where possible. However, I am quite shocked at the praise that many Democrats in the legislature are receiving over their recent actions in the name of “preventing terrorism.” 
 
Sure, the proposed laws have catchy buzz-phrases and could sound appealing if you look no deeper than the surface, but in fact, there are two major problems.
 
First, the legislation proposed would have done nothing to prevent any of the recent acts of terrorism or mass shootings (none of the perpetrators were on either list), and would likely do little, if anything to prevent future events. 
 
The second issue – the one that concerns me the most – is one that seems to be eluding so many yet is an issue that should be vitally important to any citizen regardless of party affiliation or gun rights position. The recently proposed laws seek to preclude anyone from purchasing a firearm who is on the No Fly or Terrorist Watch Lists.
 
These lists have no vetted legal standard defining how one gets on the list, let alone how to get off of it (providing you even know you are on the list). These proposed laws directly violate an individual’s Fifth Amendment right to due process, and quite possibly their Sixth Amendment right to know their accusers, the charges against them, and to be able to provide witnesses and refute the charges. All of this with the purpose of denying someone of another Constitutional right – their Second Amendment right to bear arms.
 
Really?  We are praising politician’s that are willing to so flippantly ignore and deny Constitutional rights based on some ill-defined, loosely-controlled list? And they are willing to do this all for a law that, again, would accomplish little, if anything to stop terrorism or mass shootings. This is madness, and too similar to the “Secret Police” actions seen in past and present governments that we hold in disdain. I have been disappointed by our New Mexico Delegation before, but I have never actually been ashamed of them as I am now.
 
Contrary to the unfounded talking point that Republicans are unwilling to talk about gun control, both the Republicans and the NRA have openly supported the idea of reasonable laws that actually do something about preventing guns from falling in the hands of terrorists or the mentally unstable. Republicans even offered their own bills on the topic. What they are not willing to do – for which they should be praised – is to throw the Constitution out the window for the sake of political showboating.
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