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Dave Brat: Extreme on Guns

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(originally posted in DailyKos)

Too late for this legislative session but in time to try to satisfy his base, Dave Brat has published an article in the Conservative Review sounding the false alarm—they’re coming for your guns. Dave’s piece “5 Ways the Next Congress can Protect Gun Rights” takes the maximalist position—any gun restriction will inevitably lead to repeal of the Second Amendment and confiscation of all guns. He shows this in his criticism of Hillary Clinton for supporting comprehensive background checks, closing loopholes that allow people to bypass those background checks and keeping potential terrorists from acquiring weapons. Dave says that Clinton’s position shows that she “sadly misunderstands our fundamental right to keep and bear arms.” He goes on to warn that if the Congress doesn’t act soon, “one president can forever change our Second Amendment.”

Dave Brat knows that no president can change the Second Amendment. No provision of the constitution, including the Second Amendment, can be changed except by another amendment to the Constitution, and that requires ratification by three fourths of the states. But panicking gun owners is a sure way to get their votes.

Further, like his favorite presidential candidate, Donald Trump, Dave sees any limited, reasonable restriction on immediate access to guns, even to prevent potential murderers or terrorists from gaining access to weapons, as a violation of “our fundamental right to keep and bear arms”. Do Dave and Donald really believe that the drafters of the Second Amendment meant it to be a guarantee that criminals or the mentally ill could get weapons or that the United States must commit suicide by allowing access to weapons to potential terrorists?

It is on this latter issue that Dave is the most unreasonable. On a conservative talk show in July, he expressed his opposition to a bill preventing suspected terrorists from purchasing weapons. He said that we don’t need such a law. “If someone is a convicted terrorist, they should be jailed or deported—period. There are current laws on the books that tell us exactly what should happen if someone is convicted of terrorism, and we should make sure that our government is enforcing these laws.” In his latest article, Brat takes the same approach. “Terrorists caught trying to purchase a firearm should be immediately taken to court, the transfer of the firearm should be blocked and the terrorist arrested—end of story. . .”

For a college professor and member of Congress, Dave Brat is pretty naïve. On a daily basis our national security apparatus takes actions based on tips or suspicions. Is Dave really suggesting that we can take no action against suspected terrorists until they attempt to carry out their plot and are then tried and convicted? Does he not know that most terrorists die in their attacks and that we rarely have anybody to “convict”. And, how can we know that a terrorist is trying to purchase a gun so that we can take them to court and arrest them? Would Dave require gun stores to put ups sign saying “If you are a terrorist please inform us before you make a purchase”?

If Dave Brat really thinks we are at war with “Islamic extremists” and that potentially thousands of American lives may be lost, why does he oppose keeping weapons out of the hands of potential terrorists? His extreme interpretation of the Second Amendment has that very result.

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We can’t afford two more years of Dave Brat.

Vote for Eileen Bedell in the Virginia 7th District.

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