Secure the border, save the Second Amendment

Phil Pavlov

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

This 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 President Barack Obama 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, congressional Democrats’ response was far more insidious. They proposed draconian new legislation to strip due process and constitutional gun rights from any American they can put on a secret government no-fly list.

When they didn’t get their way they staged a phony “sit-in” (complete with bathrooms and gourmet meal service, of course), sang songs and sent out fundraising emails to make a quick buck off the deaths of Americans slaughtered by a bloodthirsty terrorist.

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 unavoidable problems with D.C.’s approach to law and order is that it 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 strip away constitutional rights, it’s long past time that Congress focus on a few 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 charge to secure our borders and to clamp down on illegal immigration so we can prevent extremists from making their way into our own backyards where they can carry out attacks or radicalize others.

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 front lines of the Syrian refugee crisis, what happens when the screening process fails: violence, intimidation and terror.

We can’t afford to bring that to our shores, and I’ve stood up to block any attempt to bring it to Michigan.

Congress should follow our lead, crack down on illegal immigration, and block President Obama’s efforts to bring tens of thousands of Syrian refugees into 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 bigger international borders. In St. Clair 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 respect or support they need from Washington, D.C.

If Congress really wants to keep our communities 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.

Sen. Phil Pavlov, R-St. Clair Township, serves the residents of Michigan’s 25th Senate District.