Detroit News op-ed: Secure the border, save the Second Amendment

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The following op-ed was printed by the Detroit News on June 30, 2016. The piece can also be read online at the Detroit News website.

Sen. Phil Pavlov

Sen. Phil Pavlov

By Sen. Phil Pavlov
25th Senate District

Washington, D.C. clearly doesn’t get it.

Last month we watched in horror as an Islamic extremist massacred 49 of our brothers and sisters in Orlando, Florida. During the attack the killer actually dialed 911 to pledge allegiance to ISIS, declaring to the entire world that his was an act of unambiguous terror.

How did the president respond? He trotted out his Justice Department spokespeople and, stunningly, tried to redact the transcript of the 911 call to cover up the reason behind the attack.

As clumsily as the president handled the attack, the congressional Democrats’ response was far worse. They proposed draconian legislation to strip due process and constitutional gun rights from any American they can put on a secret government no-fly list.

Their attack on everyday Americans’ rights was so brazen and misplaced, even the ultra-liberal ACLU took to the airwaves blasting Democrats for their sudden love affair with secret government lists.

Chief among the giant, unavoidable problems with D.C.’s approach to law and order is that it just plain wouldn’t have made any difference in Orlando.

The terrorist behind the attack wasn’t on the no-fly list. The laws Democrats are proposing wouldn’t have stopped him from buying a firearm. Gun-free zones didn’t stop him. Laws against murder didn’t stop him.

Instead of attacking law-abiding Americans and trying to take away our constitutional rights, it’s long past time that Congress focus on some of the real problems threatening our safety here at home — Islamic extremism and poorly controlled borders.

They could start by following Michigan’s lead.

In Lansing, I’ve led the effort to secure our borders and clamp down on illegal immigration. I was proud to sponsor the Senate bill to outlaw sanctuary cities in our state, and I sponsored the effort to block the settlement of Syrian refugees here in Michigan.

The federal government has demonstrated time and time again that its screening and investigative processes are far too insufficient to trust in times like these. We’ve seen in Europe, on the frontlines of the Syrian refugee crisis, what happens when the screening process fails. Violence. Intimidation. Terror.

We can’t afford to bring that to our shores.

Congress should follow our lead, crack down on illegal immigration and block President Obama’s efforts to settle tens of thousands of Syrian refugees in our communities until they can be properly and effectively screened.

Next, it’s time for Congress to secure our border.

Michigan has 721 miles of international border territory. Only Texas and Alaska have more. In St. Clair County alone, my home county, we have an international border that spans 110 miles and includes two international bridge crossings and two international ferry crossings.

Our border communities are protected by a dedicated and selfless law enforcement community. Southeast Michigan and the Thumb are full of county sheriffs and local police forces doing a remarkable job keeping us safe, but they don’t get nearly the support they need from Washington, D.C.

If Congress really wants to keep us safe, they should crack down on illegal immigration, secure our borders, better support our border communities’ law enforcement, and put an end to dangerous “sanctuary cities.”

They should leave law-abiding citizens — and the Second Amendment — alone.

Senator Phil Pavlov, R-St. Clair Township, serves the residents of the 25th Senate District, representing Huron, Sanilac and St. Clair counties; and Armada Township, Memphis, New Baltimore, Richmond and Richmond Township in Macomb County.