A while back, Republicans floated the idea of barring people on gang lists from buying guns. It wasn’t very different from Democrats who push to bar folks on the no-fly list from exercising their Second Amendment rights, though probably slightly more reality-based. However, Democrats weren’t fond of the idea in the least.
In that post, I pointed out the differences between a gang database and the no-fly list, but also said I didn’t favor this kind of thing in the least.
Now, thanks to the LAPD, we have a prime example of just why I didn’t support it.
An internal investigation uncovered several officers within the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) falsely identified innocent Californians in traffic stops as gang members in an effort to make their police work appear more successful.
A statement released Tuesday by the LAPD says that the investigation began in 2019 when a mother living in San Fernando Valley contacted the department after receiving word from the LAPD that her son was a gang member. A supervisor at a local station investigated body camera footage and other documentation gathered by an officer and found inconsistencies with the information provided. The department has not disclosed any other details about how the investigation began.
The woman’s son’s name was cleared and three officers were investigated as a result. An Internal Affairs investigation found that over a dozen officers assigned to Metropolitan Division crime suppression duties had falsified information on field-interview cards to identify non-gang members as belonging to gangs.
Now, imagine someone of legal age found a threat against their life and went to purchase a firearm so they could protect themselves, only to find out that a couple of police officers had added them to a list of gang members and couldn’t buy a gun.
That’s the problem with denying gun purchases to anyone on any kind of list that hasn’t undergone the due process of law.
These officers were able to add this individual to the database with impunity because there was absolutely no judicial oversight. There was apparently no oversight at all. And yet, some actually think it’s a good idea to bar the sale of firearms to people on such a list?
I’m sorry, but that’s never going to be OK for me. Law-abiding citizens should never be barred from owning guns for any reason, but especially not because their name shows up on a list they have absolutely no say about. That includes the no-fly list as well since all that gets lobbed on there are names and little else, thus landing thousands of people on the list who aren’t even suspected of doing anything wrong.
Democrats opposed barring those on the database from buying guns. For once, they were on the right side of a gun issue, even if it were for the wrong reason. It wasn’t the “not selling guns” part that bothered them, but instead, they came at it from an identity politics point of view. This time, though, that served the Second Amendment.
I’m not sure they’ll allow themselves to make that mistake again.
Regardless, though, this should be a wakeup call for everyone as to why these databases are a horrible way to determine who can and can’t exercise a constitutionally-protected right. It’s only too bad that some people will ignore that fact.