There is a gated community where the anti-gun rich and powerful live.
Within these ideological walls, their points of view needn’t meet reality. In this protected place, their convictions aren’t even put to the sort of test that a college debate club might find normal. In this private community they have armed security, but will tell you it is a gun-free zone. You will be arrested at gunpoint if you try to enter this community.
Michael Bloomberg has the biggest mansion here. Hillary Clinton is here, too. There are so many actors here they have a waiting list. The New York Times is delivered every morning to their doorsteps, and yes, there are also plenty of media members with homes in this gated community. They all gather here for cocktail parties and to hold lovely political fundraisers, all the while being assured they will only have to talk to one another.
Of course, there is no real gate walling off one such community. But when you hear what U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., has been saying, you’ll know it at least exists figuratively, since the only way someone could possibly be this dim, yet have been elected to the U.S. Senate, would be if they only speak to people who reinforce their uninformed convictions.
During an appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” to discuss President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration, Murphy was asked by author Jon Meacham, “Do you see any merit in the president’s action? What do you believe should be the security screening? What should be the vetting for immigrants coming in?”
Murphy said, “Well, listen, it’s important to remember that no matter how many times [Trump] referenced 9/11, the four countries that were of origin for the 9/11 attack, none of them are on this list. And I would argue that we should go towards a discussion about a pathway in which there’s absolutely no screening.”
After next mentioning that Europe has terrorists cells and that those European Union (EU) citizens might be able to get to the U.S. without screening, Murphy said, “And then maybe, let's just make sure that if folks get to this country, and we suspect them of having connections to terrorism, that they shouldn't be able to get an assault weapon. That's a huge liability in our law today. I think those would be two important steps that would make us more safe rather than this EO [executive order] which makes us less safe.”
So Senator Murphy is for “absolutely no screening” of immigrants and for a ban on so-called “assault weapons” (so called because there is no way to define the political term “assault weapon” outside of any particular ban that defines them in way or another), as well as the use of government black lists, in this case the no-fly list, to take away U.S. citizens’ constitutional rights without due process.
When this made news, Murphy’s staff began playing damage control by claiming he wasn’t actually advocating “absolutely no screening.” They say what he really meant was there should be screening in the visa waiver program that allows EU citizens to come to the U.S. (Watch Murphy say what he did for yourself and see if this spin from his staff makes sense to you.)
Now, to put this in context, let’s quote Murphy some more.
In regards to gun control, Murphy is actually talking about two things—another national ban on so-called “assault weapons” and allowing the U.S. government to use secret black lists to strip American citizens of a constitutionally protected right.
In an opinion piece, Murphy wrote: “I think the greatest obstacle is still the power of the NRA. I understand that Republicans proffer this argument about due process. But they never use that argument to complain about the no-fly list. People have a constitutional right to travel, just like they have a constitutional right to own a gun. But there has never been an argument about due process before your right to fly on a plane is taken away. So there is clearly something unique within the Republican caucus about the curtailment of gun-ownership rights.”
Perhaps someone should slip a copy of the U.S. Constitution into Senator Murphy’s morning issue of The New York Times. In the U.S. Bill of Rights—the first 10 amendments to the Constitution—he will find the Second Amendment, which of course protects our right to bear arms. But he will not find a protected right to fly on a commercial airliner.
The difference between a constitutionally protected right and a legal privilege is something any lawmaker should understand.
Murphy also thinks that barring U.S. citizens from their right to bear arms via government black lists, like the no-fly list, wouldn’t be burdensome. He wrote that “… you are talking about a couple dozen people who would have to wait a few days to buy a gun if there was a mistake.”
First of all, a person can’t find out if he or she is on a list, mistakenly or not, as the lists are secret. Next, a person must file a legal action and go through an expensive and long process to clear his or her name. Right now an individual could be on the list because he went to Turkey or because his name is similar to someone who belongs on the list. Some have even noted that using this list to stop someone from buying a gun is actually a “terrorist warning system,” as it lets them know the government is onto them. There is also the argument that doing this would be unfair to American Muslims, as many of the names on the list are likely names common in the Muslim community.
Perhaps Murphy is in such a bubble that he doesn’t know any of this. He should, however, as even the ACLU and the ultra-liberal huffingtonpost.com have criticized giving the government this power.
In 2014, Hina Shamsi, the head of the ACLU’s National Security Project, said, “Instead of a watch list limited to actual, known terrorists, the government has built a vast system based on the unproven and flawed premise that it can predict if a person will commit a terrorist act in the future.”
Nick Wing wrote for huffingtonpost.com in 2014: “While some individuals are surely placed on these watch lists for valid reasons, the murky language of the guidelines suggests that innocent people can get caught up in this web, too, and be subjected to the same possible restrictions on travel and other forms of monitoring.”
None of that seems to have penetrated Murphy’s gated community. In fact, the senator even has some advice for pro-freedom Republicans.
Senator Murphy wrote: “On the Republican side, I don’t think that the NRA’s power is connected to their money. I think the NRA stamp of approval has become a proxy for a certain set of conservative values broader than your position on guns. I think that that’s the challenge—we have to find another way for Republicans to convey their conservative bona fides.”
So, according to Murphy, voters shouldn’t judge politicians by how they protect or attack our most basic individual freedom?
Given his trouble with logical reasoning, it would be amusing to hear Murphy follow his train of thought all the way through and to actually tell those who vote for freedom what they should really stand for.
Frank Miniter is the author of the New York Times' bestseller The Ultimate Man’s Survival Guide—Recovering the Lost Art of Manhood. He is also the author of This Will Make a Man of You and The Future of the Gun. He is a contributor to Forbes and writes for many publications. His website is FrankMiniter.com