True to form, gun prohibitionists moved swiftly to exploit the terrorist massacre in Orlando, calling for bans on semi-auto rifles, and pushing legislation to prevent people on the “no-fly” and “terrorist watch” lists from being able to buy guns.
But civil rights organizations lined up against the measures because of concerns over due process. The opposition included some surprising allies, The National Rifle Association, Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms and American Civil Liberties Union all raised red flags.
Then when Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson insisted to MSNBC that “gun control has to be part of homeland security,” the Second Amendment Foundation – which does not lobby – came out swinging. SAF reminded Johnson that gun ownership, not control, is part of the foundation of freedom and a cornerstone of the Constitution.
“The threat we face today from terrorism is exactly why the Founding Fathers wrote the Second Amendment,” said Alan Gottlieb, SAF founder and executive vice president. “Every American has the right to self-defense, and for Johnson to contend that infringing on that right is the way to keep the country safe is simply preposterous.”
Gottlieb, in a carefully-worded response to Barack Obama’s head of national security, said Johnson has it “completely backwards.”
“Nobody wants terrorists or even common street criminals to have guns,” he said. “But laws that penalize honest Americans, and that ban certain types of firearms, will not prevent bad people from committing mayhem…Barack Obama and Jeh Johnson would have us believe that eviscerating the Second Amendment will somehow discourage terrorists from attacking us. That’s not just dishonest, it is delusional.”
President Obama, Johnson and presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Rodham Clinton all joined the chorus for gun control.
“The conversation should not be about firearms, but fanatics,” Gottlieb said. “But Johnson’s boss, Barack Obama, can’t even bring himself to acknowledge who and what the enemy is, without having a temper tantrum on live television.”
Liberal editorial boards at newspapers across the country uniformly called for bans on so-called “assault rifles.” They support blocking sales to people under FBI scrutiny, whether they have been charged with a crime or not.