Gary Johnson

Libertarian Gary Johnson on Denying Second Amendment Rights Based on Unadjudicated Suspicion

He's against it, because he thinks government watchlists can never be free of people who shouldn't be on them.

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While even Republican Donald Trump seems happy to throw away the Second Amendment for people the government declares suspicious, but not like "we think they committed a crime we should arrest them for" specifically, for uncheckable reasons, Libertarian Gary Johnson stands (as things now stand) strong.

Paul Hennessy/Polaris/Newscom

His campaign told Daily Caller in a written statement from Joe Hunter, Johnson's communications director, that "Gov. Johnson believes Second Amendment rights are too fundamental to be denied without due process, and being put on a list arbitrarily by the government is certainly not due process."

The campaign also:

pointed TheDC to a recent blog post by the ACLU titled, "Until the No Fly List is Fixed, It Shouldn't Be Used To Restrict People's Freedoms." The ACLU is currently in a legal challenge against the no fly list. They say it is "unconstitutionally vague, and innocent people are blacklisted without a fair process to correct government error."

When Johnson was given the chance to think out loud about the issue at length with Fox News' Stuart Varney, he sounded less dedicated to the hardcore principle of the thing. He said "we should be open in principle to discussion" about how to keep guns out of certain people's hands—he picked the mentally ill, not people on "terror watch lists," as his example—while granting no actual proposal he's ever heard would, he thinks, actually do just that without capturing the innocent in the dragnet as well, depriving them of rights for no justified reason.

When Varney said he was surprised he didn't hear just a full-throated "the Second Amendment is what it is, no restrictions at all" argument Johnson fell back on noting, well, there are "varying degrees of libertarians" but that you could "count on me to have a process to look at these issues." Many libertarians would doubtless have wanted a "you can't just give government power to put non-criminals on a list that denies them of a right, full stop" answer, but that's not Johnson's style.

He did say to Varney that he didn't want to answer a theoretical question about a list that really did contain nothing but actual terror threats. Johnson said such lists don't exist, so there is no point wondering about them. He stresses the false positives and errors in such lists as the problem with relying on them to deprive those who have never been arrested or convicted of their Second Amendment rights.

Johnson on Fox:

Johnson spoke to me the other day about why he doesn't think restrictions on gun access in general are a smart response to crimes like Orlando, and that in fact more guns might make such situations safer.

NEXT: Part I of interview about "Democracy and Political Ignorance" conducted by Yale Law School Prof. Jack Balkin

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  1. Due process, what a concept.

    1. “Libertarian” candidate Johnson?
      Ha!!
      He’s no more Libertarian than Donald Trump.
      What a joke.
      You know we’re screwed when the “libertarian” candidate is just a warmed-over Big Government Republican.

      1. How did u come to that conclusion?

        1. I feel like everyone only considers from their standpoint to anarchism to be libertarian.

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      2. He wasn’t much of a Big Government Republican when he was governor, what with balancing the state’s budget and his 700+ vetoes.

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  2. Yeah, this is the kind of thing Johnson can’t do if he wants to succeed on any level here.

    1. Agreed. He was really wishy-washy there.

      “Yes! Well, sort of. I mean, maybe. Let’s talk about it… Pleeeease just include me on the polls”

    2. Talk about a lack of charisma. *sigh*

    3. Dude really needs to grow a pair. WTF?!

  3. Did anything ever come out of that meeting with the NRA? As far as I know, the NRA says it’s position hasn’t changed. (Granted, I don’t know what it was before)

    1. As far as I know, the NRA says it’s position hasn’t changed. (Granted, I don’t know what it was before)

      “Gun control is good when we support it, bad otherwise. Members, give us more money!”

      I saw a clip on the TVs in the caf about Chris Cox saying that terrorists shouldn’t be allowed to buy guns, but the government shouldn’t be able to put just anyone on the terrorist watch list.

      1. but the government shouldn’t be able to put just anyone on the terrorist watch list.

        Like they do now?

  4. Nice job, GayJay. You lost 97% of America at ‘ unadjudicated’.

  5. Gay Jay clearly wants the terrorists to win.

    1. Hey, the party of Michael Moore just found something useful to do with those watchlists they pretended to care about.

  6. Should we kill every alligator because one killed a kid? Lets face it, 49 people were killed in a horrible crime but there are 320 million Americans, 7 billion human beings. The families should mourn but the rest of us should just shrug it off and go on about living.

    1. We shouldn’t but his father should. He should go on an epic gator killing rampage that would inspire poets and painters and Bob Dylan wanna-bes for ages.

      1. We should give an M16 for that purpose.

        You know, an actual assault rifle.

        1. I would grant him an RPG for said purpose.

          1. How is a Final Fantasy cartridge going to help?

        2. Would that work? Gators look like they have 255 in Defense. Use a flamethrower, see if their Special Defense is lower.

  7. I wonder why Hillary’s supporters, who think Donald Trump is so dangerous, would be willing to allow a President Trump to control who goes on a “terrorist watch list?”

    1. Because Hillary is Smart Power at its Best.

    2. Ya, terrorists shouldn’t be allowed to vote either should they?

  8. He did fine. Gun control is a thorny issue and no need to get caught in the brambles. In fact, most people are fine with background checks. Maybe just devolve it to the states. He doesn’t need to toe the Libertarian line on this issue. Hillary and Trump are no better.

  9. He said “we should be open in principle to discussion” about how to keep guns out of certain people’s hands

    Weak sauce, but probably about as much as anyone trying to break into double digits could say out loud.

    1. i was actually talking to a right leaning friend, and he offered this compromise. people on the watch list can still buy guns… but the FBI gets an alert when they do. (the FBI can decide if there is more to look into)

      i don’t think it is perfect…. could lead to FBI harassing people… but it does seem like a reasonable way to address the “then why do you have a watch list” question…. without actually stripping them of their rights.

      1. Better answer, anything that pings the list triggers an automatic audit of their reason for putting the person on it. Arrest or remove, no third option.

  10. Why I’ll never win elected office:

    Interviewer: So, Mr. Dean, do you think we should turn the no-fly list into a no-buy list?

    D: I care what the Constitution says. Do you? Its OK to say you don’t; neither of the other two candidates do.

    I: Uhh, of course I care what the Constitution says.

    D: Excellent. I also care what words mean. Do you? And, again, its OK to say you don’t, as neither of the other two candidates do.

    I: Naturally I care what words mean.

    D: So tell me, can anyone who cares what the Constitution says and what words mean possibly conclude that having a secret no-buy list isn’t an infringement of the right to keep and bear arms? It doesn’t seem possible to me, so I have to conclude that anyone supporting a no-buy list doesn’t care about the Constitution or the meaning of words.

    1. I also think 6A (speedy trial and confronted by evidence) as well as 8A (prohibit cruel and unusual punishment) get violated by secret watch lists.

  11. Hillary is Smart Power at its Best.

    My tummy hurts.

    1. People will eat slogans like that up. It’s like back in ’08 when people kept telling me Obama “wouldn’t make us look stupid to the rest of the world, like Bush”.

      1. Obama made us look even more stupid than Bush.

        1. Who knew that was even possible?

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  12. do you think we should turn the no-fly list into a no-buy list?

    I have a better idea. Let’s throw the goddam no-fly list in the trash, where it belongs, along with other shameful hysterical crimes against the Constitution like interning Americans of Japanese ancestry during WWII and the suspension of Habeus Corpus during the Civil War.

    1. Agreed. Guilty or not according to due process and court of law. If not, fuck off until you do your homework lawman.

  13. Donald Trump and Gary Johnson takes off masks on debate stage –

    “Oh my god! Trump is a democrat and Gary Johnson is a moderate republican! Why did everyone keep this a secret!!!!!”

    1. Hopefully Hillary would unmask becuase if she had a choice between what we see now and anything else I believe the anything else would be less displeasing on the eyes.

      1. Oh my god, she’s Kim Jong Un!!!

        1. Cthulu?

          1. Cthulhu/Skeletor 2016!

      2. What’s the over/under on there being a Terminator skeleton under there?

  14. I think Reason covered this, but I saw an earlier version of Feinstein’s “no fly no buy” bill and it doesn’t say anything about a no fly list. It says you can’t have a gun if the Attorney General decides you’re linked to terrorism in one of several specified ways.

    But not to worry, within 60 days of learning about the Attorney General’s decision you get to seek judicial review. Then the Attorney General has to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that you’re linked to terrorism.

    Of course, they won’t show you any national-security documents. You get to see a summary of supposedly documents prepared by the Attorney General, and the judge looks at the documents *in camera* to see if the summary is fair. The summary can be used against you as evidence, of course.

    And there’s no requirement that you be convicted of a crime.

    It’s just common sense.

    1. “summary of supposedly *sensitive* documents”

        1. As long as statists get to ban people from activities, goods and services, and liberties they are content

    2. With the upcoming 3D printers the gon control scheme will break down anyway.

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    1. “the truth of where meat comes from”

      OMG IT’S ANIMALS

    2. Oh, piss off. I’m having extra bacon with my non free range eggs this morning, just to pass you off.

      1. *piss you off. Damn auto-correct.

  16. Gotta hand it to the progtards, their relentless pant shitting on this is really having a softening effect on so many politicians spines….

  17. i wonder how many of the people who support this sort of thing (denying guns to suspected terrorists) also have yellow ribbons on their care, or have given up their seat in first class to a soldier? it seems to me that it would be more appropriate for them to just spit on them instead.

  18. If the position was “if you can give me a transparent terror watch list which can be challenged in court with and combine that with a law which restricts the right to buy arms for a set period of time (one year?) and give that law an automatic expiration (10 years)” then I would be open to the discussion. There has to be some kind of due proecss, naturally.

    I’m sure the FBI would not go for it, but who knows?

    We’re living through some kind of epidemic. Perhaps what we need is some kind of temporary fix to try to arrest it.

  19. I think Gary’s actually got a pretty solid position that balances mainstream acceptability with protection of rights. “Make the list perfect and get back to me” is identical (for guns) to “the list is illegal!” in terms of effect (since a perfect list won’t happen) without being so fringey.

    He could have gotten to that in a little less wishy-washy manner, but I don’t mind his basic premise.

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