Suspend Due Process and Invoke a Presumption of Guilt?

Trump Immigration DACA Meeting

Recently, President Trump suggested we identify crazy people and immediately take away their guns and let due process proceed thereafter.

This would be a grave mistake.

Far better to rightly identify such a person, charge him, and arrest him or commit him for observation, preserving everyone’s rights, and securing both the presumption of innocence and due process. In this way you do not need to confiscate guns to preserve public safety, and if due process directs, authorities can lawfully confiscate the weapons later.

If you suspend the presumption of innocence and due process, gov’t will surely stomp all over everyone’s rights. Mr. Trump’s remarks clearly propose a presumption of guilt and the suspension of due process, both incredibly dangerous to liberty.

We have such a law in Oregon now. Based only on a rumor brought by anyone against another, and a secret hearing for a judge to determine the validity of the accusation, the judge can order confiscation of firearms, without notification, without a hearing.  Police can be dispatched to confiscate all weapons deemed a threat. The accused doesn’t even have to be charged with a crime. It is estimated it will take a year for the accused to prove innocence and to retrieve his property.

This is a terrible policy for it can easily be expanded to include incarceration without charges, that is, indefinite detention based on a presumption of guilt. Dictators love such laws for they are very convenient to the purpose of jailing or killing political rivals and enemies.


Allan Erickson

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