Monday, June 20, 2016

Isn't there some kind of "Constitutional thingie" that applies here?

Dems abandon 'innocent until proven guilty' to push gun ban | Washington Examiner:
People whose names appear on a federal terror watch list or no-fly list shouldn't be presumed "innocent until proven guilty" for purposes of buying a firearm, according to Democratic lawmakers. "I don't think that innocent until proven guilty is the standard that applies here," Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Fla., told the Washington Examiner. "We're talking about owning a gun, not being convicted of a crime."


There are a lot (perhaps too many) of "WatchLists" in America today:
  • No Fly Watchlist
  • Terrorist Watchlist
  • No Gun Watchlist 
  • Inane Watchlist

Well, that last perhaps is not presumed by  Representative Alan Grayson. ... who urges his colleagues to Ban Assault Weapons.

He must understand that clerical errors can occur in the compilation of any list of names

"Watchlists" are commonly accepted to have been composed willy-nilly by

  1. People who are not required to justify their selections;
  2. .... and who do are not required to document the reasons for their selections;
  3. and the residents of these watchlists have not necessarily been allowed to contest their membership on said watchlists in a court of law.
There is a presumption of innocence in English Law, and Grayson is saying that if a prospective firearm purchaser is on one of these watchlists, he/she should NOT be permitted to purchase a firearm.

Rather, Grayson supposes that a person whose name appears on a 'watchlist' should not be allowed to purchase a firearm.


The problems are:

  • There is no way to find out if your name is on the on The List, until you try to (for example) buy a gun;
  • There is no way to appeal the appearance of your name on The List;
  • Nobody knows just how 'specific' the identification of individuals is; does it include your social security number, or other identifying information?
For Grayson (et al) to presuppose that simply because your name is on an 'anonymous watchlist' for a good reason is to suppose that everyone's name is ultimately unique; more than that, it presupposes that the anonymous agency which composed the watchlist is perfect in its accuracy.

A better solution would be to be more public in the reasons why people appear on the list; to provide a process by which your name might be removed (or at least be more specific); and/or to be more public in announcing the contents of the list.

Certainly, when we are presented with a list of names without individual identifiers, it performs no public service if it is not extremely careful that it might inadvertently include individuals whose civil rights have not otherwise been otherwise abrogated by trial in a civil court.

To do less is to undermine the rights of honest citizens.

Surely, Representative Grayson did not intend this sort of mischief.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

When you want to ban personal ownership of firearms, the ends justify the means.