The Corner

Massachusetts Considers Denying Constitutional Rights to Innocent Arrestees

What is it about school shootings that so lobotomizes the political and academic classes? Per Boston.com:

More than a year after the school shootings in Newtown, Conn., a panel of academic experts today released a long-awaited report recommending that Massachusetts tighten its gun laws, which are already considered among the toughest in the country.

The panel made 44 recommendations, including that Massachusetts join a national mental health database for screening potential gun owners, that it beef up firearms training requirements, and that it eliminate Class B gun licenses, which are seldom used.

It recommended that the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association help define a series of factors that could be used to prohibit “unsuitable persons” from acquiring firearms. The panel said the current process allows local law enforcement officials too much discretion to determine whether a person is suitable to be granted a license to carry.

This is your standard reactionary nonsense, guaranteed to have no effect in a state that already boasts some of the strongest gun-control laws in the United States and designed primarily to make people who know nothing about firearms feel better about themselves. But it is what comes next that should horrify one and all — regardless of their politics:

It also said Massachusetts should require anyone wanting to purchase a hunting rifle or a shotgun to pass those standards of suitability. That could allow local police chiefs to deny gun purchases to people who have been arrested, but not convicted, of a crime.

Let’s just repeat that, for clarity’s sake: Massachusetts is considering denying “gun purchases to people who have been arrested, but not convicted, of a crime.” In other words, an American state is thinking about denying a constitutional right to the innocent because they happen to have been picked up by authorities that couldn’t prove that they had done anything wrong. I hope I speak for everybody here when I say, No, no, and no again. No to the abject hysteria that has slowly grown in small parts of the country; no to the ignorance that is burning like acid through reason and through the law; and no to a cabal of politicians whose disdain for the Second Amendment is so pronounced that they are happy not only to undermine that provision in pursuit of their quixotic goals but to dilute the rest of the American settlement into the bargain. Enough is enough. Where art thou, ACLU?

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