DRC_Jack Wyman

Jack Wyman

It may be one of the most important bills you don’t know about. If passed, it would give the federal government unprecedented surveillance power the likes of which we see in China’s authoritarian communist regime. You would think this bill is the brainchild of far-left extremist Democrats, right? Wrong.

This legislation is actually co-sponsored by my opponent, Republican Congressman Michael Burgess, and 159 others from both parties.

It’s the Threat Assessment, Prevention and Safety Act of 2019 (TAPS). Introduced in response to the rising incidence of gun violence in America, this legislation would put more power in the hands of the federal government and allow it to unilaterally encroach upon Second Amendment rights. Further empowering a bloated, ineffective and unaccountable bureaucracy will not solve the problems facing our country.

The men and women who live and work, who hunt and go to the gun range, in Denton and Tarrant counties — and all those who own a gun — should be deeply concerned about this insidious legislation.

This bill sets up an ominous framework in which a Task Force of 23 unelected people would be granted practically unlimited authority to determine whether a citizen is fit to exercise his or her constitutional right to self-defense. Twenty-three federal bureaucrats would wield this power based on vague and undefined “patterns of concerning behavior” that, in the words of the bill, “indicate an interest, motive, intention or capability of carrying out an act of violence.”

This bill does nothing to define this “concerning behavior.” Instead, it allows the Task Force to arbitrarily make this determination. Twenty-three people you did not elect get to tell you whether or not you can exercise your constitutional rights, without any regard for due process.

Could such “patterns of concerning behavior” involve religious beliefs? Or political persuasions and affiliations? Or military service? Or moral values? Nothing in this bill defines or limits anything.

No wonder Congress hasn’t had an approval rating above 30% in over a decade.

HR 838 is a dangerous and unprecedented red flag law. It would give government bureaucrats the unfettered power to decide, according to their own definition, who is emotionally and mentally fit to own a firearm.

This bill would grant this new bureaucracy unprecedented, unaccountable and virtually unlimited power to investigate, invade and circumscribe the beliefs and actions of millions of American citizens.

Our founders didn’t write the Second Amendment after returning from a hunting trip but after winning a war for national independence against a harsh and tyrannical foreign government. The sacred constitutional right of the individual citizen to keep and bear arms must never be sacrificed upon the altar of political expediency and public fear.

More than a political issue, violence is a moral and societal failing. It will not yield itself to the enactment of more laws that threaten and limit the constitutional rights and liberties of lawful citizens, while doing nothing to prevent the actions of the violent and lawless.

HR 838 is a bad bill concealed in the garb of sincere concern. It is presented as the solution to our gun violence dilemma by those who believe more legislation will fix any problem. The road to losing our personal freedom is paved with the good intentions of distant career politicians who would surrender our rights for a false security.

Dr. Burgess, with nearly 20 long years in Washington, should have known better than to have attached his name to this deeply flawed and ill-considered bill. Then again, perhaps he did. Perhaps he has been in Congress so long that he sees nothing wrong with compromising the freedom and protection of the Second Amendment for the sake of questionable collective security offered by Big Government.

In the best interests of his constituents in North Texas and out of respect for the Constitution that safeguards all our liberties, Dr. Burgess should remove his name from this nefarious legislation and apologize to the voters for co-sponsoring it.

JACK WYMAN is a Republican candidate for Texas’ 26th Congressional District in the U.S. House, a seat currently held by U.S. Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Pilot Point. The primary election is on March 3, 2020, and the general election is on Nov. 3, 2020.

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