Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

APPEARS IN News

Sen. Joe Manchin Reveals Gross Contempt for U.S. Constitution

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Sen. Joe Manchin Reveals Gross Contempt for U.S. Constitution

“Due process is killing us right now.”

No, those aren’t the translated words of an officer of the East German secret police or a Soviet commissar; that comment was uttered by United States Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.V.).  When Manchin assumed office on November 15, 2010, he took an oath to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” Given his outward hostility to a foundational tenet of our constitution, the manner in which Manchin could most effectively uphold his oath would be to limit himself to a single term.

On Thursday, Manchin took to MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” to talk about ongoing efforts to restrict the Second Amendment rights of Americans. The discussion centered around legislative proposals that would extinguish the Second Amendment rights of those the federal government merely suspects, correctly or incorrectly, of having some sort of connection terrorist activity. Manchin explained:

The problem we have, and really the firewall we have right now is due process. It’s all due process. So we can all say we want the same thing, but how do we get there? If a person is on a terrorist watch list like the gentleman, the shooter, in Orlando, he was twice by the FBI. We were briefed yesterday about what happened, but that man was brought in twice. They did everything they could. The FBI did everything they were supposed to do. But there was no way to keep him on the NICS list or keep him off the gun-buy list. There was no way to do that … due process is what’s killing us right now.

The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution restricts the federal government, making clear, “No person shall… be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” The Fourteenth Amendment restricts the power of the states in a similar manner, guaranteeing that a state may not “deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” The principle outlined in these amendments dates back to 1215 and Magna Carta. Rather than viewing these vital long-standing protections as essential to our free society, Manchin appears to view them as a hindrance that must be overcome.

To be sure, due process does impose a severe obstacle to autocrats. The Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments’ due process protections serve to protect every right enjoyed by every American, making clear that none of our rights may be dispensed with in an arbitrary manner. In most contexts, prior to stripping a person of their rights, the government must provide an individual with notice and an opportunity to be heard, and there must be a neutral decision maker involved.

Many outlets have picked up on, and rightly criticized, Manchin’s contention that due process is a unfortunate hurdle to violating rights. However, other portions of his statement are similarly troubling and display a lack of basic understanding of the Constitution he swore an oath to defending.

Manchin noted, “The FBI did everything they were supposed to do. But there was no way to keep him on the NICS list or keep him off the gun-buy list.” Is Manchin under the impression that in order to purchase a firearm Americans must be placed on a list that permits them to do so? Is he suggesting that this should be the case?  If so, we would suggest a remedial course in the basic structure of federal firearms law.

Under current law, an individual seeking to purchase a firearm from a retailer provides identifying information on a Form 4473, which is then used to conduct a background check using the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). If the government does not have information that you are disqualified from firearm ownership, then the sale may proceed. The government is not tasked with finding that you are eligible to possess a firearm, the government has the burden of finding that you are ineligible to possess a firearm. Rather than the government affirmatively granting you the ability to exercise your rights, the government must prove certain factors in order to restrict those rights.

The current battle to diminish due process protections implicates far more than just the right to keep and bear arms. This is why principled individuals from across the political spectrum have recognized the dangerous erosion of due process that some of the current legislative proposals represent. ACLU National Security Project Director Hina Shamsi wrote in regards to using secret lists to bar gun ownership, “standards for inclusion on the No Fly List are unconstitutionally vague, and innocent people are blacklisted without a fair process to correct government error.” Civil liberties journalist and commentator Glenn Greenwald wrote in a piece for the Washington Post, “That Democrats, who once found such due-process-free no-fly lists appalling, now seek in the wake of San Bernardino and Orlando to expand their use to ban gun purchases illustrates how easily terror attacks induce an abandonment of reasoned analysis.”  An abandonment of reasoned analysis, indeed.

With his recent comments, Manchin has displayed a gross disrespect for one of the most basic protections our constitution affords. Sadly, given the clamor in the U.S. Congress for renewed gun control measures, this disrespect appears to infect more than just a few of our elected representatives.

TRENDING NOW
Obama Lies about Guns… Again

News  

Friday, June 14, 2019

Obama Lies about Guns… Again

Despite no longer living in the White House, former President Barack Obama continues to be a headache to law-abiding Americans. On May 30, Obama spoke at a digital innovation event in Brazil. During the onstage ...

Don’t Say They Didn’t Warn You: Left Leaning Voices Question Democrats’ Anti-Gun Proposals, Fervor

News  

Friday, June 7, 2019

Don’t Say They Didn’t Warn You: Left Leaning Voices Question Democrats’ Anti-Gun Proposals, Fervor

If the 2020 Democrat presidential primary is any indication, that party’s base and donor class will accept nothing less from their nominee than commitments to sweeping gun control. And the contenders appear happy to accommodate ...

Pittsburgh Mayor Presents DICK’S CEO an Award for Gun Control Advocacy

News  

Friday, June 14, 2019

Pittsburgh Mayor Presents DICK’S CEO an Award for Gun Control Advocacy

On June 4-5, the annual Yale Mayors College & CEO Summit was held in New York City. The theme of this year’s CEO Summit was “Trumpeting the Issues without Becoming the Issue: Selective Use of CEO Voice.” ...

Advice Columnist Tells Father to Evict Daughter from His House for Owning a Gun

News  

Friday, June 14, 2019

Advice Columnist Tells Father to Evict Daughter from His House for Owning a Gun

Amy Dickinson is an advice columnist who, according to the company that syndicates her work, “combines storytelling with advice that is rooted with honesty and trust.” “Ask Amy” appears in newspapers that include The Baltimore Sun, ...

Bloomberg Course: Ineffective Policies and Non-Existent Technology

News  

Friday, June 14, 2019

Bloomberg Course: Ineffective Policies and Non-Existent Technology

This week in the online course “Reducing Gun Violence in America: Evidence for Change” is a real rollercoaster. Week Five is titled “Regulating Gun Design, Enforcing Gun Laws, and Reducing Police-Involved Shootings” covers so-called assault ...

New Jersey “Smart Gun” Law Gets an F Grade

News  

Friday, June 14, 2019

New Jersey “Smart Gun” Law Gets an F Grade

After signing six gun control measures into law a year ago, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy warned that “Our work is far from done.” Several new bills are now making the rounds in a state already notorious ...

Nevada: Gov. Sisolak Signs Anti-Gun Bill

Friday, June 14, 2019

Nevada: Gov. Sisolak Signs Anti-Gun Bill

Ignoring the constitutional rights of law-abiding Nevadans, on June 14th, Governor Steve Sisolak signed omnibus anti-gun Assembly Bill 291 into law.  Your NRA would like to thank the many lawmakers who stood with our members and ...

Tennessee: Governor Bill Lee Signs Self-Defense Legislation into Law

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Tennessee: Governor Bill Lee Signs Self-Defense Legislation into Law

Last week, Governor Bill Lee signed important self-defense legislation, House Bill 1264 /Senate Bill 705, into law.

New Hampshire: House Concurs On Anti-Gun Bills

Friday, June 14, 2019

New Hampshire: House Concurs On Anti-Gun Bills

On June 13th, the New Hampshire state House of Representatives voted to concur on two anti-gun bills that they had received back from the Senate.  House Bills 109 and 514 will now go to Governor ...

Does a Suppressed Pistol Sound like a Nail Gun?

News  

Friday, June 7, 2019

Does a Suppressed Pistol Sound like a Nail Gun?

In response to reports that the Virginia Beach shooter used a firearm suppressor in carrying out his terrible crime, David Chipman, Senior Policy Advisor for the Giffords gun control group, claimed that a suppressed pistol ...

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -

More Like This From Around The NRA

NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.