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Confiscating guns

By Jim Killebrew

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[January 31, 2014]  I was watching "The Five" the other day on Fox News, and they were talking about the gun control issue. One of the co-hosts said it was going to be difficult to initiate a gun ban because of the gangs in large cities, and other people who do not obey the laws will keep their guns. The Democrat member of "The Five," Bob Beckel, spoke up and said, "That's no problem, just confiscate the guns."

That word "confiscate" or "confiscation" seems to be voiced a bit more often among the Democrat top-ranked officials lately. Even the president made a statement the other day about "using other means" within his executive powers to act if Congress doesn't. Of course to many ears, that word translated into action brings mortified sounds. In fact it seems far-reaching, in that it would result in placing restrictions on several rights we now have associated with freedoms regarding ownership and privacy and due process.

At first glance and on face value, we might immediately agree that if bad guys have guns and are using them to kill, rob or intimidate people, we want the police to confiscate those guns so law-abiding people can be protected. The problem is, there is a process the police must follow that has important steps to be satisfied before that confiscation can occur.

A law enforcement person cannot indiscriminately just decide to go confiscate someone's gun from their house. There must be probable cause that a crime has been committed or is imminently about to be committed. It might even be that a crime has already been committed and the investigation is taking the investigators to a specific person. That probable cause must be strong enough to specifically name the individual and demonstrate that the crime is linked to that individual.

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Law enforcement must then seek out a court to present the probable cause information so a search warrant can be issued by a judge. It is on the basis of that warrant that a search of the individual's property can be conducted. Seizure of property generally needs to be named in the warrant so the law enforcement officers cannot seize just anything they see that may not be relevant to the purported crime that initiated the probable cause.

So when the talking points of any political party or administration include a process of simply confiscating the guns, they must realize the process to do that will likely obliterate not only the Second Amendment but the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution regarding privacy, search and seizure, and court-issued warrants to conduct such searches and seizures. Once the can of Constitutional obliteration is opened, whether through congressional actions or executive orders, it opens the door for many of the Constitutional guarantees to be thrown out as well. If we are not careful, we could end up living in a totalitarian state with no regard for individual rights to ownership, privacy or freedom, and of course no due process.


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