In an exclusive interview with The Daily Caller, a top lobbyist for the ACLU announced that the group thinks Reid’s current gun bill could threaten both privacy rights and civil liberties.
The inclusion of universal background checks — the poll-tested lynchpin of most Democratic proposals — “raises two significant concerns,” the ACLU’s Chris Calabrese told TheDC Wednesday.
Calabrese — a privacy lobbyist — was first careful to note that the ACLU doesn’t strictly oppose universal background checks for gun purchases. “If you’re going to require a background check, we think it should be effective,” Calabrese explained.
“However, we also believe those checks have to be conducted in a way that protects privacy and civil liberties. So, in that regard, we think the current legislation, the current proposal on universal background checks raises two significant concerns,” he went on.
“The first is that it treats the records for private purchases very differently than purchases made through licensed sellers. Under existing law, most information regarding an approved purchase is destroyed within 24 hours when a licensed seller does a [National Instant Criminal Background Check System] check now,” Calabrese said, “and almost all of it is destroyed within 90 days.”
Calabrese wouldn’t characterize the current legislation’s record-keeping provision as a “national gun registry” — which the White House has denied pursuing — but he did say that such a registry could be “a second step.”
You know there’s a problem with proposed legislation when both the NRA and ACLU are criticizing it.
As Ed points out, it’s not that the ACLU has become a staunch defender of the right to bear arms, but they have do have serious concerns on 4th Amendment grounds, the retained database contributing to violations of rules against unreasonable searches and thus privacy. Over at Protein Wisdom, Jeff Goldstein thinks a national registry –a step enabling a future confiscation– is just what the Democrats have in mind:
That they were discovered here watering down language to open the way for the beginnings of a national gun registry means only that, should they now be defeated in their plan by strong arguments and sunlight, they’ll merely try again later, in some other way, using some other bill or some other crisis to reach their ends.
That is, if the full-frontal approach doesn’t work, they’ll return to the incremental approach — and with respect to their gun control aims, the contours to that approach are already quite clear: empower the AG to expand the parameters for what is included in a background check, wherein a partisan agent is given the power to determine what group or groups of people come to constitute a potential danger; cross-reference ObamaCare, with its governmental access to health and prescription records, with other databases, using medical professionals and (they hope) mental health professionals to create the conditions under which they can argue for “sensible” prohibitions on firearms ownership; use Democratic majorities in various states to drive draconian gun control measures through the state legislatures on a party-line vote, then see which of those state laws stand up to court challenges and which do not; use agencies such as the CDC to lend an air of scientific and medical emergency to the “gun violence” “epidemic” — as if gun violence is contagious in any way other than through some strained sociological metaphor — then demand action to combat the crisis or “epidemic” (regardless of what the crime statistics show).
We are living in a time when our government is looking for ways to usurp our rights, pressuring them from every angle, waiting for us to “compromise” if only to make them relent.
Jeff also notes the same simultaneous push at the federal and state levels I wrote about the other day with regard to healthcare. He’s right: this isn’t the old Democratic Party, anymore. Having been taken over by Progressivism and then the New Left, they’re now the party of “constitutional deconstruction,” stripping the parts they don’t like at the moment of any meaning, something those who care about constitutionalism must struggle against constantly.
Thus making “strange bedfellows” of conservatives and the ACLU, at least in this case.
(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)