Mike Quigley tried to use the Patriot Act markup hearing to get some publicity for himself, this week. He grandstanded in the hearing, making a statement about the injustice of the law.
What did the Illinois Democrat find wrong with the Patriot Act? Was it the fact that the law has been abused by the FBI tens of thousands of times? No. Was it the lack of oversight and civil liberties protections from the Patriot Act’s immense powers of unreasonable search and seizure? No. Was it the fact that the Patriot Act’s most extreme surveillance powers are used in non-terrorism investigations 99.6 percent of the time? No.
Quigley’s contention was that, as long as the Patriot Act is violating Americans’ Fourth Amendment rights, it ought to violate their Second Amendment rights as well. Quigley suggested that it was outrageous for people put on the national terrorist watch list to be allowed to buy guns, though many people have been put on the list for nothing more serious than participating in peaceful protests.
Quigley issued a statement demanding a change to the Patriot Act to include a gun ban, saying, “Surely, we cannot look our constituents in the eye and tell them in good faith that we have decided to enact public policy that restrains some of their civil liberties for the greater good but that we refused to ask the same of suspected terrorists. I know we are smarter than that.”
Quigley’s opposition to a Patriot Act without gun control for terrorists seemed earnest enough. He suggested that no member of Congress could look constituents in the eye after supporting such an arrangement.
Constituents may want to check Mike Quigley for eye contact problems in the next few weeks. After the markup of the Patriot Act was finished, Quigley went ahead and voted in favor of the renewal of the Patriot Act with none of the gun control provisions that he said were so necessary. He made a big deal about how crazy it would be for anyone to support such legislation, and then, he supported it.
Are we going to swallow Mike Quigley’s doublespeak on the Patriot Act? I know we are smarter than that.