Political Editors / Jul. 1, 2016

Who Will Watch the Watch List?

A thought experiment as Democrats push to trample rights.

“I have an idea,” proposes Jonah Goldberg. “The federal government needs to compile a list of women who shouldn’t be allowed to get abortions. The criteria for getting on the list must be flexible. If an official at, say, the NIH or FBI think that a woman should be a mother for some reason or other, he or she can block an abortion. Maybe the woman has great genes or a high IQ or the sorts of financial resources we need in parents. Let’s leave that decision where it belongs: in the hands of the government. Heck, there’s really no reason even to tell women if they’re on the ‘no abort’ list. Let them find out at the clinic. And if they go in for an abortion only to discover they are among the million or more people on the list, there will be no clear process for getting off it, even if it was a bureaucratic error or case of mistaken identity.”

So, he concludes, “Sound like a good idea?”

Now with that in mind, Speaker Paul Ryan announced that the House will vote next week on “no fly, no buy” gun legislation, prohibiting anyone on a terrorist watch list from (legally) purchasing a firearm. This is a far different thing than promising to pass such legislation, but Ryan offered the concession a week after Democrats staged their sit-in to deny civil rights. Ryan also said the measure is part of a larger antiterrorism package, and it’s likely that the one on tap is an NRA-backed Republican measure that guards due process rights. If that’s the case, look for Democrats to try staging another throw-a-fit-in.

Meanwhile, in California, the legislature just passed sweeping new gun control. Democrats aimed to exploit the Islamist attack in San Bernardino, but the effort gained steam after the Islamist attack in Orlando. (You might detect a theme here, and it’s not guns.) Nevertheless, Democrats prefer to blame the tool and then infringe constitutional rights. The package includes new restrictions on homemade firearms, background checks and a database for buyers of ammunition, a ban on possessing standard-capacity magazines holding more than 10 rounds, and a ban on the sale of semiautomatic rifles with detachable magazines. And until there’s a Supreme Court justice in the mold of Antonin Scalia, these laws will stand in defiance of the Second Amendment.

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