Armed Americans are the Best Defense Against Armed Terrorists
House of Representatives
December 10, 2015
Ever since the terrorist attack in San Bernardino, leftist politicians have called for more restrictions on gun ownership for Americans. These are the same politicians who have worked for years to open our nation to unprecedented and indiscriminate immigration from hotbeds of Islamic extremism.
The most effective defense against an armed terrorist is an armed American. If one person in that room in San Bernardino had been able to return fire, many innocent lives could have been saved. But Californians are subject to the most restrictive gun laws in the country, making it very difficult for law abiding citizens to exercise their Second Amendment right to defend themselves. And in a society denied its right of self-defense, the gunman is king.
I repeat: The most effective defense against an armed terrorist is an armed American. Yet the President and his followers act to increase the number of terrorists entering through porous borders and lax immigration laws, while at the same time acting to decrease the number of armed Americans.
Their latest ploy was announced by the President on Sunday and has been parroted by his congressional allies this week to the point of disrupting the work of the House. In the President’s words, “Congress should act to make sure no one on a no-fly list is able to buy a gun.” He asked, what could possibly be the argument against that?
While serving in the California State Senate a decade ago, I discovered that suddenly I couldn’t check in for a flight. When I asked why, I was told I was on this government list. The experience was Kafkaesque. My first reaction was to ask, “Why am I on that list?” “We can’t tell you that.” “What are the criteria you use?” I asked. “That’s classified.” I said, “How can I get off this list?” The answer was, “You can’t.” I soon discovered another California state senator had been placed on that list. A few months later, U.S. Senator Edward Kennedy found himself on that list.
I, at least, had the office of the Senate Sergeant at Arms to work through – something an ordinary American would not. Even so, it took months working through that office and repeated petitions to the government to get my name removed from that list. The farce of it all was that I was advised in the meantime just to fly under my middle name, which I did without incident.
In my case, it turned out to be a case of mistaken identity with an IRA activist the British government was mad at.
This could happen to any American. And the fine point of it is this. During this administration, the IRS has been used extensively to harass and intimidate ordinary Americans for exercising their first amendment rights. What the President proposes is that on the whim of a federal bureaucrat, Americans can be denied their Second Amendment rights as well, with no opportunity to confront their accuser, contest the evidence, or avail themselves of any of their other due process rights under the Constitution.
The concept that the Left is seeking to instill in our law is that mere suspicion by a bureaucrat is sufficient to deny law-abiding American citizens their constitutional rights. And given the Left’s demonstrated hostility to freedom of speech and due process of law, it’s not hard to see where this is leading us.
I would support the President’s proposal IF it established a judicial process where an individual could only be placed on such a list once he was accorded all of his constitutional rights to be informed of the charges, given his day in court, accorded the right to confront his accuser, contest the evidence against him and submit himself to a decision by a jury of his peers. But that is the farthest thing from the Left’s agenda.
The President’s proposal would have done nothing to stop the carnage in San Bernardino, where the terrorists were not on any watch list. Indeed, one was admitted from Saudi Arabia after vetting that the President has assured us is rigorous and thorough. And several of the guns used in this massacre weren’t even acquired directly, but rather through a third party.
Of course the American people don’t want terrorists to have guns! They don’t want terrorists in our country at all! But the President’s policies have left our nation’s gates wide open – while he seeks to take from Americans their means of self-defense.
So I leave off as I began: the best defense against an armed terrorist is an armed American. That’s what the Second Amendment is all about. It is an absolutely essential pillar of our security.
Our best defense of all is the Constitution itself, and it, in turn, must be defended against all enemies – foreign and domestic.