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February 28, 2018

Trump: I Don't Want to Wait For Any Fancy-Pants Due Process Hearings Before Taking Guns Away from the Mentally Ill
Or Did He Say That?

Note to Trump: Courts are pretty fast about processing temporary restraining orders and if there's genuine evidence that someone is mentally ill or a threat to himself or others, that evidence will be readily presentable to the court.

There is, therefore, no need to take someone's guns away -- to take someone's constitutional rights as a citizen away -- without even a court hearing (which tends to be biased in favor of granting restraining orders in the first place).

If there's no readily-presentable evidence that someone is making threats or mentally insane, maybe that's precisely the situation in which you'd want to be slow and deliberate about branding someone a sub-citizen.

The most embarrassing part is that he said this nonsense to Pence, who tried to steer him back into a defensible place, but Trump kind of just ignored his Vice President and went back to his grab-the-guns talking point anyway.

Alternative Take! Someone I trust saw this exchange in a different way. She sees Trump's reference to "due process in the courts" as a reference to a full hearing (up to an including a criminal trial), and that what Trump was trying to say -- inelegantly and maladroitly -- is that we need Gun Violence Restraining Orders as a speedier stop-gap.

Taken this way, Trump was agreeing with the idea of GVRO, and his reference to not needing "due process" was intended to mean that sometimes we need intervention before a full criminal trial. But at a speedier restraining order hearing which would involve "due process," but wouldn't be as lengthy and as long-awaited as a criminal trial.

He just put it, well, poorly. But in this interpretation, he wasn't saying we don't need "due process" at a TRO hearing; he meant we needed TROs until the full due process hearing of a criminal trial.

This explanation would explain why Pence did not appear flummoxed by Trump's comment -- he just took Trump's comment as agreeing with his own, if in a somewhat Trumpian locution.

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posted by Ace at 07:42 PM

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