To the Editor:
In last week's Gazette, newly elected state Sen. Scott Surovell discussed a portion of his 2016 legislative agenda. What caught my eye is his introduction of a proposal that he had also introduced in 2014, without success, during his tenure as a state delegate, to prohibit from obtaining a concealed weapon permit or purchasing a firearm, those persons who are listed on the "Terrorist Watch List."
It is both chilling and enlightening when a politician who is also a trained trial attorney seeks to enact legislation he clearly knows is unconstitutional on its face and could never pass muster at the lowest level court. We have this inconvenient constitutional provision in America called the requirement to accord its citizens due process of law. That provision is found in the 5th Amendment and, in case there was any doubt, is applied to the individual states under the 14th Amendment.
Citizens are not accorded due process of law before their names are added to the terrorist watch list. In many cases they don't even know they are on the list until they arrive at an airport to travel and are confronted with this information. Many times, their inclusion on the list is erroneous, caused in a number of ways including false reporting and having a name similar to the name of a terrorist. The 2nd Amendment to the Constitution is not an option, it is a basic constitutional right. Senator Surovell's proposal will get no further than it did in 2014, namely, thrown into the circular file.
We need politicians who travel to Richmond to represent our interests, not to impose their extreme agendas upon us. The two most important issues facing us in Northern Virginia are transportation and education funding. In each case, Northern Virginia receives far less than it contributes in tax money to address these issues. If Senator Surovell and his Northern Virginia political colleagues did nothing else other than band together and demand a more equitable distribution of the state's financial resources, Northern Virginia, the economic engine of the state, could solve its transportation and education financing problems. And their representation would be deemed a success.
To those of you who choose to vote to elect politicians who travel to Richmond to support the goals of the minority party, this is what you receive as a result. Congratulations.
H. Jay Spiegel