At a House Oversight Committee hearing, Representative Trey Gowdy (R-SC) gave the people in attendance a valuable lesson on the Second Amendment.
While questioning Department of Homeland Security (DHS) secretary Kelli Ann Burriesci, Gowdy attacked the department’s practice of preventing Americans of their right to bear arms if they have been put on the terrorist watch list.
During the hearing, he said, “My question is, can you name another constitutional right we have that is chilled until you find out it’s chilled, and then you have to petition the government to get it back? Is that true with the First Amendment?”
It started when Gowdy first asked what process DHS goes through when they put an American citizen on the terrorist watchlist:
“What process is afforded a U.S. citizen, not someone who’s overstayed a visa, not someone who crossed a border without permission, but an American citizen—what process is currently afforded an American citizen before they go on that list?”
A flummoxed Burriesci seemed unable to provide a reasonable answer. “I’m sorry, um, there’s not a process afforded the citizen prior to getting on the list,” she said. “There is a process should someone feel they’re unduly placed on the list.”
Burriesci’s “answer” wasn’t good enough for the Representative. He continued, “Yes there is. When I say ‘process’ I’m actually using half of the term ‘due process,’ which is a phrase we find in the Constitution, that you cannot deprive people of certain things without due process,” he said. “So I understand [Center for American Progress fellow Ken Gude]’s idea, which is to wait until your right has been taken from you and then you can petition the government to get it back. I understand that that’s his idea.”
He then asked Burriesci to name “another constitutional right we have that is chilled until you find out it’s chilled, and then you have to petition the government to get it back? Is that true with the First Amendment?”
Gowdy and Burriesci went back and forth in this fashion until Burriesci admitted that she knew of no other constitutional amendment that could be deprived an American citizen without due process.
Ever since Omar Mateen murdered almost 50 people at a nightclub in Florida, leftist politicians have been furthering their anti-gun agenda by keeping people who are on the terrorist watchlist from purchasing weapons. They support their arguments by pointing out the fact that Omar Mateen had been on the terrorist watchlist previously. Of course, they leave out the fact that by the time he carried out his shooting, he had already been removed from the list.
The problem that Gowdy correctly identifies is the fact that Homeland Security is not applying due process to American citizens who they place on the list. Instead, they have created their own criteria for targeting an individual for the watch list. These include:
- Raising suspicions of being involved in terrorism (no concrete evidence is required).
- Being acquainted with, or related to, someone who is suspected of being involved in terrorism.
- Posting something on social media that someone might deem suspicious.
These are only some of the guidelines DHS follows, but in some cases, it appears that some people are added to the list randomly. In one case, a 4-year old boy was placed on the terrorist watch list. Perhaps one of his toys looked like a suicide vest?
While DHS does work hard to keep Americans safe, they must still ensure that they are protecting our rights. Their system for placing Americans on the watch list are obviously flawed, and in the end, the Constitution does not allow the government to deprive a citizen of their rights without due process. Hopefully, the rest of Congress will take Gowdy’s lesson to heart.