Statist of the Week: Congressman Mike Simpson

I have been re-reading my U.S. Constitution. Did you know there’s a part where it says “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed”? Of course you did! But this week’s Statist of the Week apparently does not know this. Or he does not think it’s important enough of a principle to defend. He’s Congressman Mike Simpson, and he just voted to infringe on our Second Amendment rights.  

Simpson voted in favor of a bill that would allow the government to confiscate guns from members of our armed forces. The gun-seizing provisions are in the annual National Defense Authorization Act that provides money for the U.S. military. 

This gun-grab without due process is known as a “red flag” law, which gives the government the ability to take away someone’s weapons or prevent them from  possessing a firearm. A member of the American military could be denied their Second Amendment rights, and they wouldn’t be able to do anything about it for a minimum of 30 days.

I asked Congressman Simpson’s office for an explanation for this vote, and his office sent out a statement in which Simpson is quoted as saying he opposes the anti-gun rights provision that he voted for. He said it was added by House Democrats during the initial drafting process. Simpson went on to say that he expects the provision to be removed from the NDAA before it becomes law but that the bill needed to advance to the Senate so that a conference committee could work out the differences between the two chambers. 

But that explanation just does not sit well for me. Just go back to the Constitution, which Simpson took an oath to uphold. Simpson swore, without condition, he’d support the Constitution. There’s no asterisk in that oath that says it’s OK to let a constitutionally-protected right or two slide here and there, with the promise that the U.S. Senate will clean things up later. 

Simspon could have voted no, and if enough members did the same, the bill might have failed. Rejecting the NDAA would not mean that our military would not be funded. It just means that Congress would have had to go work on another bill. And maybe that second attempt would advance without the gun-snagging provision included. 

If a majority of the Congress opposed the provision to take guns away from service members without due process, it’s quite possible the matter would stop being pushed each year. 

This is not Mike Simpson’s first time as a Statist of the Week. In fact, he’s in the running for Statist of the Year because he proposed breaching the Snake River dams that are vital to Idaho’s economy, agriculture, tourism, and electricity generation He famously said he doesn’t even know if breaching the dams will accomplish his stated goal of saving the salmon.

On guns and salmon, Simpson is out of touch with Idahoans, but he’s very much in touch with his inner statist, which is why he’s this week’s Statist of the Week. 

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