Letter: Chris Manthos, Leesburg

Editor: Your recent article “Local lawmakers at odds over guns” reveals the utter contempt some elected public servants hold for the civil liberties of Virginians.

Senator Favola, along with Delegates Boysko and Murphy, all Democrats, have signed on as co-patrons to a measure subjecting Virginians who make the personal choice to obtain the court issued concealed firearm permit, to be checked against the so-called “federal terrorist screening database” and thus denied or approved accordingly.

This database includes the “no fly list” along with an unknown number of other “watch list” databases. No one knows with any precision exactly who is, or isn’t, or why someone makes it onto these government suspicion lists. There is no standard for inclusion on the database. You need never have been charged, committed, or convicted of any crime to be included. The American Civil Liberties Union reports that even a simple Facebook post can land you on one of these databases.

Senator Favola claims “99 percent of the people on the list are really dangerous.”  Senator Favola is being dishonest, or is completely ignorant of the facts. According the ACLU, the government admits that an astonishing 40 percent of the people on the “master watch list” have “no recognized terrorist group affiliation.” And it only gets better.

Since there is almost no reasonable way to address inclusion on any of these government suspicion lists, an individual’s constitutionally protected right to due process is effectively null and void. The oppression of your civil rights is exactly what these Democrat legislators are working so hard for.

The Fifth Amendment of U.S. Constitution reads in part; ”…nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law;”

Article 1. Bill of Rights. Section 11, of the Virginia Constitution states: That no person shall be deprived of his life, liberty, or property without due process of law;

Any legislator with basic reading comprehension is able to grasp these simple civil rights. When they work against these protections, their fitness for office is questionable. There is no ambiguity nor missing context. No 18th century niceties; just clear and concise words of simple meaning.

Senator Favola, and Delegates Boysko and Murphy support stripping Virginians of their civil right to due process under the law.

Don’t buy the story this only applies to firearms. Once this most basic, critical, civil right is a peeled away, then all of us can be persecuted for any reason the government deems. Particularly hard hit will be Virginians of middle-eastern decent. Media reports indicate 95% of these databases are made up of foreigners, and mistakes in spelling or like names is often the cause of people being placed unjustly on a government suspicion list.

Both Republican and Democrat administrations are responsible for the creation and growth of these suspicion lists. Only the naive believe there is no purpose in keeping track of known terrorist and their associates. However, the civil rights of Virginians must be preserved and strengthened above all. If we descend to into an Orwellian police state environment, (many argue we’re already there) then the terrorists have already defeated us.

Senator Favola, and Delegates Boysko and Murphy should immediately withdraw their names from this effort to strip Virginians of the constitutionally protected right to due process.

The civil rights of Virginians are non-negotiable.

Chris Manthos, Leesburg




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