by Justin Thyme, a GSL member
Due process of law represents a fundamental, constitutional guarantee that all legal proceedings will be fair, and that one will be given notice of the proceedings and that opportunity to be heard before the government acts to take away one’s life, liberty or property. Also, it is a constitutional guarantee that a law shall not be unreasonable, arbitrary or capricious.
In the previous issue of GunNews, due process came up because of so-called “Red Flag” laws which strip gun rights from people without a due process hearing. Red flag laws fly in the face of the whole “innocent until proven guilty” foundation that our nation’s laws were built upon.
Some say the idea of due process originated in English Common law, dating back to the Magna Carta signed in 1215AD. That law defined the rights of English subjects, including “no free man shall be seized or imprisoned … except by lawful judgment…” I contend that the idea of due process existed much earlier than that.
While ministering in Philippi, the Apostle Paul and his ministry associate Silas found themselves unjustly arrested, beaten and imprisoned. Paul and Silas were both Roman citizens, and being such, had rights that were not afforded to non-citizens. Among these rights were that a man could not be bound or imprisoned without a formal trial, protection anywhere under Roman law, and an exemption from certain types of punishment such as flogging.
According to Acts 16:37-38 “but Paul said to them, ‘They have beaten us publicly, uncondemned men who are Roman citizens and have thrown us into prison and do they now throw us out secretly? No! Let them come themselves and take us out.’ The police reported these words to the magistrates, and they were afraid when they heard they were Roman citizens.” Paul and Silas’ right to due process was violated and the magistrates publicly apologized and released them.
In ancient Israel one could not be convicted by the testimony of a single witness. Deuteronomy 19:15 states: “A single witness shall not suffice against a person for any crime or for any wrong in connection with any offense he has committed. Only on the evidence of two witnesses or three witnesses shall a charge be established.” This also involves due process!
The Illinois red flag law contains wording that allows a hearing involving the respondent (the accused) without their knowledge, based upon the accusation of a single person. This is called an ex-parte hearing where the accused is not yet aware that they are being accused, and therefore, cannot defend themselves until after the fact. Notice the lack of due process?
In the case of so-called “Red Flag” hearings, if the petition to strip someone of their gun right and seize their firearms is approved, they have been disarmed!
Who will then protect them? The defunded police?
So, what stops these bad guys, especially those committing horrific crimes like that in Highland Park? Only a good guy with a firearm can stop the bad guy.
Unfortunately as we have seen, the bad guys know where the Second Amendment is highly restricted, and as such not valued. Gun control laws, like current Illinois law, limits the availability of good guys with firearms.
Instead of disarming the good guys, let’s punish violent offenders.