The democratic opposition, the media, and everyday citizens have demanded their president to take action in response to the recent shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 people dead. So the president turned yet again to a rollercoaster, bipartisan, and televised White Housing roundtable.
Trump met with Democratic and Republican lawmakers to discuss measures to strengthen student safety. In the meeting, the president proposed not only to take guns away from the mentally unstable but do so before going through the “due process’.
“…Take the firearms first, and then go to court. Because that’s another system, because a lot of times, by the time you go to court, it takes so long to go to court to get the due process procedures”.
This is to say, Trump not only proposes to infringe the second amendment of the Constitution but to bypass the foundation of the United State’s judicial system. Something his Republican colleagues were quick to point out.
“Due process comes first or it isn’t due process. This is true no matter which party is writing the bills or in control of the White House,” said Republican Senator Rand Paul on Twitter after the meeting.
Doing away with due process
Due process is “a general principle of law, which establishes that the State has the obligation to respect all the rights that the law recognizes an individual.”
This principle guarantees that each person has certain minimum guarantees so that the outcome of a judicial process is fair and just. Among those guarantees is a suspect’s right to be heard before a judge.
When the State violates due process it partakes in a miscarriage of justice, since it violates a citizen’s right to fair hearing.
But the president did not sound at all concerned.
In the bipartisan meeting, Trump added, “I like taking the guns early, like in this crazy man’s case that just took place in Florida… to go to court would have taken a long time.”
We have to wait to see if Trump’s proposal goes from just words to an actual legislative effort form the White House. Some consider it to have been little more than a gesture of goodwill—which is a common feature these Trump roundtables—to calm voters and democratic congressmen.
A rapid response is not always ideal
But the consequences of Trump’s words should be understated. Already there’s talk of shifting the goal-post on gun control, not unlike what happened during the immigration roundtable on the dreamer’s issue.
Just last Tuesday, Feb. 27, Chuck Schumer said:“Let’s not set our sights too narrow or squander this moment.”
It’s no wonder then that Sen. Ben Sasse fumed at the President’s statements, “We’re not ditching any Constitutional protections simply because the last person the President talked to today doesn’t like them.”
Moreover, the President’s statements risk alienating a core constituency for Republicans in upcoming Senate elections; NRA members. “Instead of punishing law-abiding gun owners for the acts of a deranged lunatic our leaders should pass meaningful reforms that would actually prevent future tragedies,” said NRA spokeswoman Jennifer Baker last Wednesday.
The fact is that if a Democratic president were to propose violating both the Constitution and the judicial process to seize guns, it would be the Republicans who would demand his resignation from office. But with their man in the oval, Republicans have been slow to seriously question Trump’s statements.
‘Trump supporters already have to put with a lot’, due process is a bridge too far
Tucker Carlson, one of the most watched TV news personalities in America, said as much in his program last night.
“Imagine Obama saying something similar? He’d been denounced as a dictator. Congress would talk impeachment. Some would mutter secession” said the FoxNews host on Twitter.