This ACLU Position Shouldn’t Be Surprising, But It Is

posted on October 24, 2019

California’s gun-confiscation orders are so extreme even the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of California is protesting.

A few weeks ago (on Oct. 11) California’s Gov. Gavin Newsom signed AB 12, which will increase the duration of a gun-confiscation order from one year to “one to five years,” and AB 61, which will expand the categories of individuals who can petition to take another person’s guns away to include employers, coworkers and “employee[s] or teacher[s] of a secondary or postsecondary school.” 

Now any school bureaucrat is empowered to start a process designed to secretly take away peoples’ Second Amendment rights.

NRA-ILA has long opposed these and other infringements, but now the ACLU of California registered formal opposition to AB 61. They explain that this legislation “poses a significant threat to civil liberties by expanding the authorization to seek ex parte orders, with all the ensuing consequences, without an opportunity for the person to be heard or contest the matter.”

An “ex parte order” is one in which the person impacted is not informed of the court actions being taken. They are given no opportunity to offer other evidence. Their only avenue for justice is to argue they are innocent after being found guilty.

“By expanding the parties that could apply for such an ex parte restraining order to include all the parties listed above, many of whom lack the relationship or skills required to make an appropriate assessment, AB 61 … creates significant potential for civil rights violations,” says the ACLU of California.

It takes little imagination to understand that this procedure could be used by disgruntled coworkers and employers to harass workplace rivals as an extension of petty office politics,” says NRA-ILA.

Every time one of these gun-confiscation laws comes up I think of one of my aunts. When I was just eight years old she sneered at me: “You’re just a little conservative boy, aren’t you?” At that age I wasn’t entirely sure what she meant, but I boldly said “Yes” because I knew it would make her scowl. Years later, at family events, she has told me that she’d like to take all of my “guns and melt them into solar panels.” I’m always pleasant to her, as I enjoy the philosophical debates and I respect that she’ll honestly say what she thinks, but she should never have the power to take away my freedom for spite.

This attack on Second Amendment rights—and recent attempts to curb First Amendment rights of gun owners, organizations and companies by politicians in San Francisco and New York—are in such obvious opposition to American freedom that even the editorial board of The New York Times should be in loud opposition to these infringements.

That said, it shouldn’t seem like such a profound thing that the ACLU of California is critical of this frightening overstep from a state government. Nationally, the ACLU was originally founded during World War I to—very controversially at the time—defend conscientious objectors and to defend the rights of people to publicly express anti-war sentiments. So, at its beginning, the ACLU was willing to take unpopular stands for the right reasons. It is good to see them take this one.

That said, the ACLU still does need to get braver and much more honest with its position on the Second Amendment.

The ACLU’s official Second Amendment position is that “the Second Amendment protects a collective right rather than an individual right.”

This position is dishonest to the core. There is no shortage of historical evidence showing that the Second Amendment is, and was always intended to be, an individual right.

(Frank Miniter’s latest book is The Ultimate Man’s Survival Guide to the Workplace.)


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