On Thursday, December 10, Governor Dannel Malloy announced that he intended to violate, in order of historic appearance, the Magna Carta, the Fifth and Fourteen Amendments to the U.S. Constitution and Sec. 29-28(b) of the Connecticut Statutes.
Mr. Malloy said he was prepared -- by gubernatorial fiat -- to order relevant Connecticut authorities to deny gun permits to anyone whose name appears on federal watch lists.
Tweets followed. Mr. Malloy tweeted, “We're taking common sense steps in #CT to close the loophole and allow firearm permits to be denied to those on gov't watch lists.” U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney tweeted, “Time for Congress to follow Connecticut's leadership.” U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro tweeted, “Now it's time for Congress to do the same thing and #EndGunViolence.” U.S. Senator Dick Blumenthal tweeted, “I applaud @GovMalloyOffice for taking clear, common sense action to keep guns away from dangerous individuals & keep CT communities safe.”
And so on, down the line: All Connecticut’s left leaning Democrats clapped their tweety little hands publically and applauded Mr. Malloy’s common sense which, fortunately for them, also happened to correlate neatly with Mr. Obama’s common sense. Whenever we hear the words “common sense” used by politicians in connection with the deprivation of liberties, we should all reach for our Connecticut Statute book, our U.S. Constitution, our 800th anniversary copy of the Magna Carta, and anything written by G. K. Chesterton, the apostle of common sense, who thought that true democracy entailed a respect for tradition: "It means giving a vote to the obscurest of all classes, our ancestors." It means not submitting to the "oligarchy of those who merely happen to be walking about.”
At the close of George W. Bush’s presidency, the federal no-fly watch list contained 47,000 names. Since then, the list has metastasized and currently contains 680,000 names. The list contains no identities, just names, which unfortunately has led to serious misidentifications and the kind of confusion that stunned Steve Hayes, a political writer for the Weekly Standard and other publications, when his name appeared on the list and he was summarily prohibited from taking flights.
According to the technology website TechDirt.com, 40 percent of those on the FBI’s watch list — 280,000 people — have no solid affiliation with recognized terrorist groups. One is put on the list when the government declares it has “reasonable suspicion” that a person listed could be a terrorist. Mr. Hayes’ name appeared on the federal no-fly watch list because he had recently flown to Turkey as part of his duties as a reporter , thus exciting the “reasonable suspicion” of those who are responsible for increasing the number of people on the watch list 10-fold during President Barack Obama's stay in office.
The relevant gun permit law in Connecticut, Sec. 29-28(b), specifies ten reasons why a Connecticut resident may be denied a gun permit, including mental illness, criminal history and illegal residence in the country; the appearance of a name on government watch lists is not mentioned as a warrant to deny permits. Mr. Malloy's edit is legislatively unauthorized and, as such, a form of egregious executive overreach. When Mr. Malloy wished to restrict the purchase of firearms in Connecticut following the massacre of young children in Sandy Hook, he did not do so by executive edict. Properly, he asked the General Assembly to write and pass a law.
Mr. Malloy’s edict also violates the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, a post-Civil War amendment that assured former slaves they would enjoy the privileges and immunities afforded to their countrymen, including – most importantly – the “due process” clause that provides a safeguard against an arbitrary denial of life, liberty, or property by a lawless Government.
Finally, Mr. Malloy’s edict violates the Magna Carta, established eight hundred years ago to assure the nobility of England that the lords of the country would not be subject to the whimsy of a grasping monarch. The Magna Carta is the taproot of English liberties, and its assurance of due process throbs like a heart of liberty in the U.S. Constitution’s Fourteenth Amendment.
If you are a governor of the state of Connecticut, sometimes called “The Constitution State” and your overweening executive actions violate the Magna Carta, you are doing something wrong – very, very, wrong. Whatever else Mr. Malloy’s usurpation of legislative authority may be, it is no tribute to common sense.