We are fortunate to live in a country where the people have many legal rights and the government is restrained in its formulation of public policy and its legislation and enforcement of laws. For example, the United States Constitution mandates that criminal prosecutions must be fair, speedy and follow the long-established doctrines of due process.
One of the fundamental elements of due process is the Presumption of Innocence. That shifts the burden of proof to the government. The accused does not have to prove he or she is innocent; the government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he or she is not.
The belief in the presumption of innocence is prominent throughout our founding documents and in our civil society, not just in the Courts. The benefit of the doubt, if there ever is one, falls in favor of the individual. But, in recent times a steady erosion of this fundamental principle has taken place.
One only has to reflect on the Judge Kavanaugh confirmation hearings to see a recent and shocking example of this contempt. Kavanaugh was accused of sexual abuse by a woman who said when they were both teenagers, over 35 years ago, she was attacked by him! In spite of his unequivocal and full-throated plea of innocence, the politically radical Senators on the left, and their devious partners in the media, proceeded to treat Judge Kavanaugh with moral certitude, like he was guilty far beyond any reasonable doubt. A sitting Federal Judge was denied the presumption of innocence!
Another example of the growing disrespect for the presumption of innocence can be found in the so-called People’s Initiatives being staged around the country in the various states by billionaires who cloak their gun-grabbing ambitions as common sense gun safety laws. Central to the passage of these proposals is a component called the enhanced background check of those individuals who choose to exercise their Second Amendment right to lawfully purchase a firearm. These background investigations are purportedly intended to keep firearms from falling into the wrong hands by determining if a buyer is eligible to own a gun. Accordingly, an individual is required to prove he is not guilty of any predetermined transgressions that would make him ineligible, including the surrender of private and confidential mental health and medical records!
Within the Second Amendment, there is an element of the presumption of innocence, which is to be enjoyed by all of the people who choose to own guns. The burden to prove lack of eligibility falls to the government, not the individual. Nowhere in the Bill of Rights is there any language that requires an individual to prove he or she is worthy or qualified to receive the protections these civil rights offer us.
In the State of Washington, our freedom and liberty is in serious jeopardy because of People’s Initiative I-1639. The unsuspecting public will be asked to approve a conglomeration of unproven, restrictive and unconstitutional provisions which will transform Washington into a totalitarian government. Each citizen must thoroughly understand that I-1639 is nothing more than a giant step towards tyranny.
Can you imagine trying to cast your vote on Election Day and having a poll worker stop you because you haven’t paid your $25.00 fee for an enhanced background check to prove your eligibility? And then they tell you that you have to wait 10 days before you can vote! Each of us would be justifiably outraged if that happened, so please understand that suppression of gun rights is just as bad as suppression of voting rights!
Don’t be fooled! This initiative will not prevent a single crime because criminals do not obey the law. The Liberty First Foundation believes our civil rights are too important to be compromised and as far as we can tell, the only crime to be prevented here is the passage of I-1639.
Please vote No on I-1639 and urge you family and friends to do the same. This initiative can be defeated if we all turn out to vote on November 6th. I-1639 is bad for Washington and bad for America.
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