Temple, TX, June 16, 2016– For more than 15 hours yesterday, Democrats took to the Senate floor to filibuster in an effort to force votes on amendments designed to restrict the rights of Americans to keep and bear arms. Open Carry Texas (OCT) vehemently, categorically, and whole-heartedly opposes every proposed measure, including the NRA-backed amendment sponsored by Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) requiring a mandatory wait period.
When the People give the government the ability to determine who is “eligible” to exercise a right, what’s to stop the government from determining no one is “eligible?” While we also oppose the current background check (BGC) system, broadening it will do nothing to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous individuals. Extended BGCs do nothing more than inconvenience and interfere with the rights of law abiding citizens to keep and bear arms in the manner protected by the constitution: uninfringed. We oppose the so-called “universal BGC” proposals as infringements upon our rights.
The terrorist watchlist and “no-fly” list are both subjective, arbitrary lists that also do nothing to ensure the safety or security of the American people. As a gun rights organization who is dedicated to the safe and legal carry of firearms, we do not want killers having the ability to take the lives of innocent people. However, we also recognize, as Benjamin Franklin did, that “those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”
The process by which the government determines one to be ineligible to fly is a secret. There is no notification process to an individual placed on the no-fly list, meaning that Americans frequently don’t find out until they’re already trying to board a plane. There is no appeals process for being removed from the list and – other than politically connected individuals – it is nearly impossible to do so. Due to the complete lack of due process involved in the “no-fly” list, OCT condemns and opposes any effort to prevent law abiding citizens who have not been adjudicated by a court from exercising their right to keep and bear arms, including the right to purchase them, based on such a list.
The terrorist watchlist is an even more egregious and constitutionally offensive strategy to undermining our civil rights. While the word “terrorist” is surely intended to conjure up images of body counts, grotesque violence, Muslim extremists, and wholesale fear. The problem is in who gets to decide what constitutes a “terrorist.” The suggested amendment to deny gun rights to individuals on the terrorist watchlist does not seek to deny guns to terrorists, but to people suspected of being terrorists. Anti-liberty politicians want to use this broad and ominous term to deny rights to a category of people that has no baseline definition other than “the use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims.” Once the government is given permission to bar individuals deemed to be potentially engaging in or planning to engage in “terrorist” activities, there is no stopping the government from deeming anyone a “terrorist” that opposes its will. In fact, both Open Carry Texas and the National Rifle Association have been accused of being terrorist organizations and its members “domestic terrorists.” The Founding Fathers would have been labeled terrorists in the late 18th Century.
Due to the lack of due process involved in every amendment being proposed, we cannot support, endorse, or accept any of them. We will not condone the destruction of any aspect of our constitution under the guise of public safety. Senator Cornyn’s bill would treat people adjudicated without due process as criminals just for being placed a list without warrant, affidavit or cause. “Liberty is always dangerous, but it is the safest thing we have” and we can’t allow fear-mongering to alter, abolish or infringe upon it no matter how feel-good it may sound. The shooting in Orlando was a government failure, not a failure of our constitution.
OCT is an organization dedicated to the safe and legal carry of firearms in the State of Texas in accordance with the United States and Texas Constitution and applicable laws. About Open Carry Texas: Our purpose is to 1) educate all Texans about their right to carry in a safe manner; 2) to condition Texans to feel safe around law-abiding citizens that choose to carry them; 3) encourage our elected officials to pass constitutional carry legislation for all firearms; and 4) foster a cooperative relationship with local law enforcement in the furtherance of these goals with an eye towards preventing negative encounters.