Dr. Gina Loudon is the host of “America Trends with Dr. Gina,” on YouToo America. She offers psychological, political, and social commentary on networks around the world, including Fox News, Fox Business, CNN, CSPAN, ABC, Al Jazeera, BBC, HLN, and many more. Dr. Gina is a frequent guest-host for the Sean Hannity radio show, and is a bestselling author of two books. She has also worked as a popular weekly opinion columnist for outlets like Breitbart.com, Townhall.com and WND.com and is co-anchor of the women’s blog, Politichicks.com and DrGinaShow.com. On June 20, she spoke with Texas Law Shield Independent Program Attorney Michele Byington about the failure of gun legislation in the U.S. Senate:
DR. GINA LOUDEN: At the U.S. Senate today, lawmakers rejected four gun control measures put forth by democrats and republicans. Here to discuss is Michele Byington from U.S. Law Shield. Michele, welcome back to America Trends. Good to have you.
MICHELE BYINGTON: Thank you for having me.
DR. GINA LOUDEN: Absolutely. Michele, what specific measures did the senate actually vote on?
MICHELE BYINGTON: There were four measures. Number one was the most “popular,” introduced by Feinstein, and that was the “no fly no buy” measure which basically said that if you are on the no fly list, plus you are — or not — a suspected terrorist, then you will not be able to purchase a gun.
Number two was somewhat of a compromise that Senator Cornyn brought out of Texas, which stated that if you have been suspected of any sort of terrorist activity within the past five years, there would be a 72-hour hold and probable cause would have to be found by a court and that court would have to say, yes, there’s probable cause. Therefore, you cannot buy this weapon. That was the compromise.
The third one had to do with mental health issues.
And then there was the one brought by Murphy out of Connecticut who said that every gun purchase must have a background check. So, those were the four measures that were introduced, and all four failed.
DR. GINA LOUDEN: I don’t know any gun owner or Second Amendment advocate who wants terrorists to get guns. But republicans just want to have an appeal process, I guess, if for some reason an innocent American ends up on the no fly list or the terrorist watch list, which, by the way, happens all the time. There are about a million people on it right now, many people who don’t belong. But democrats don’t want people to be able to appeal. I don’t understand that. Do you?
MICHELE BYINGTON: No. I don’t understand that either. I mean, this is — no one wants, number one, terrorism to even exist, much less a terrorist find themselves being able to possess a gun and wreck havoc on innocent civilians. That’s a given. Nobody wants that. However, what we have to remember is that our country’s legal system is built upon due process.
DR. GINA LOUDEN: Right.
MICHELE BYINGTON: So, if somebody’s right is taken away, then it is due to due process. I mean, you had your day in court. It’s an adversarial system. You were able to present facts contrary to what was being alleged against you, and then an unbiased third party determines whether you were involved in terrorist activity and, therefore, you can’t buy a gun.
But I heard something pretty disturbing this morning that someone said that due process is getting in the way. That’s what our entire legal system is built upon. This is not the Salem Witch Trials, where just an accusation of being a witch gets you burned at the stake. No. That’s not how this country works.
DR. GINA LOUDEN: Michele, here’s the question, though. Were any of these measures that they were voting on, were any of them capable of stopping the Orlando killer or San Bernardino killer or any of the rest of them? Or are these politicians just trying to do something to show voters that they’re doing something, even if it isn’t effective and it wouldn’t have been effective and won’t be effective in future attacks?
MICHELE BYINGTON: None of these gun control measures would have stopped the Orlando attack for sure and not have stopped the San Bernardino attack whatsoever. This is retroactive. It is knee-jerk reaction by many people who are trying to point to the gun as the problem as opposed to radical Islamic terrorism as being the problem.
DR. GINA LOUDEN: All right. Well, there was an amendment by Senator Dianne Feinstein. And anyway, what would that exactly have done? Go ahead and tell us.
MICHELE BYINGTON: So, what she said was that as long as there’s a reasonable belief that you are suspected of terrorist activity, you can’t buy, possess or even look at a gun. Now, a reasonable belief is the lowest standard here in the United States. Basically a reasonable belief is a hunch that perhaps you’re engaged in terrorist activity, and that is frightening and that’s why — actually John Cornyn’s proposal was kind of the middle ground here. That was the compromise, and that was the democrats’ opportunity to take that compromise as opposed to the all or nothing. But as you can see, they took the nothing approach and nothing passed.
DR. GINA LOUDEN: And so, they’re trying to change probable cause to a reasonable —
MICHELE BYINGTON: Belief.
DR. GINA LOUDEN: Yes. And then — so, but this is the thing, today if they decided that all tea partiers, for example, were — could be put on this list, is there anything to stop the government from making such a list and saying anybody who’s ever been to a tea party is suspected of having been to a tea party can’t get a gun?
MICHELE BYINGTON: That’s exactly right, and that’s — that’s what’s so frightening about this. We’ve heard — as you mentioned, there’s about a million people on this no fly list. We’ve heard the cases of veterans being on this no fly list. We’ve heard the case of mistaken identity where somebody has the same name, and they weren’t allowed to fly. And I have no idea how you get off this list. No one has any idea how you get on the list, much less get off. And that is what — that’s where the problem lies, is there’s got to be due process here. Because just the mere fact that you and I are talking and the fact that I’m a gun lawyer may get me on the no fly list.
DR. GINA LOUDEN: Right. Exactly. It sounds like some pretty scary stuff, but it looks like most of it went down. Do you think the media is telling the story accurately?
MICHELE BYINGTON: No. That’s an easy one. No.
DR. GINA LOUDEN: That’s pretty easy. And so, what would you like the narrative to be on this? Like, if you could just give us your ten-second elevator speech on what actually went down here, what would it be?
MICHELE BYINGTON: If I could run the world, let me tell you what would happen. If we would stop calling semiautomatic firearms, whether it be an AR-15 or a Sig Sauer MCX, assault weapons. It’s not an assault weapon. An assault weapon is a machine gun, which is not lawful for American citizens to possess without federal approval. So, I think that this narrative and this fear mongering that civilians are able to get their hands on these assault weapons that are used in times of war only by military, that’s not true. The “AR” in AR-15 does not stand for assault rifle. It stands for ARmalite. It’s the manufacturer. It’s not “Assault Rifle,” and it has the same guts as the handguns that many of us carry around every day. One pull of the trigger, one bullet comes out. These are not machine guns. They’re not assault weapons, period.
DR. GINA LOUDEN: It looks —
MICHELE BYINGTON: That’s more than ten seconds. I’m very sorry.
DR. GINA LOUDEN: And it looks so much meaner when you put it in that black case that looks so military that it just fools everyone or else they’re intentionally ignorant. You have to decide. But anyway, thank you so much for being with us Michele. We appreciate it.
MICHELE BYINGTON: Thank you.