For a few years now, there has been an ongoing debate in the political mainstream about the personal property rights of businesses and whether they can restrict their customer base by banning those they disagree with. Those opposed to restricting business note examples like bakers refusing to do business with homosexual couples, calling them homophobic and wrong. Historical examples include segregation, looking back at a time when businesses had separate water fountains and bathrooms for African-Americans. Some businesses even refused to do business with those of a different skin color.
Now a Maine restaurant has taken a stand against guns, specifically the AR-15. Anne Verrill, who owns the Foreside Tavern in Maine, took to Facebook to rip ownership of the weapon. Local news outlet WMTW 8 quoted the now deleted Facebook post, “Let me be clear, this is not a political issue. This is a human rights issue. If you own this gun, or you condone the ownership of this gun for private use, you may no longer enter either of my restaurants, because the only thing I want to teach my children is love.”
Now it is Verrill’s right as the property owner to limit access to those she does not want to do business with. The problem here is that this is a political issue and she also is completely misinformed.
In a followup post on the Foreside Tavern’s Facebook page, she stated “I want our government to be able to deny someone they can put on the “no fly” lists to not buy a semi-automatic weapon.”
Does the Foreside Tavern now endorse restricting the Bill of Rights? A “no fly” list isn’t the result of due process, where a judge presides over a case and a verdict is dropped that someone broke the law. Instead, it’s a government bureaucracy operating on suspicion and working outside of the justice system. No judge or jury decides to put someone on a “no fly” list, which implies someone is guilty of a crime.
In 2010, the New York Times discussed the case of 8-year-old Mikey Hicks. Because the Department of Human Security had been monitoring an individual named Michael Hicks, the child was treated like a criminal and patted down at the airport. His arms and entire body was thoroughly patted down, including in his crotch area. The first time this occurred was when young Hicks was 2.
The lists are maintained by the Terrorist Screening Center, which also works with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. 8-year-old Mikey Hicks was never brought before a judge or found guilty in a court of law. He was treated like a criminal because his name was the same as someone on the list. This is what happens in the absence of due process of law.
Verrill’s endorsement of the “no fly” list as a means for depriving constitutional rights implies support for the thorough pat down of a young child, with Transportation Security Administration agents traumatizing him.
The second Facebook post by the Foreside Tavern continues, “If evil and hate want to boycott my restaurants then so be it because I believe good will be on my side on this. As long as my doors are open I will believe that love is love.”
The problem is those responsible gun owners who own an AR-15 or any weapon labeled as “weapons of war” are not evil and do not promote hatred. Responsible gun owners are as outraged with the events at Pulse in Orlando, Florida as those opposed to gun ownership. What does feed evil and hatred though is lawlessness and a deprivation of due process of law.
Groups like ISIS operate without due process and do not believe in freedom. They have thrown homosexuals from rooftops, burned a Jordanian pilot alive, and beheaded countless Christians. These are things that wouldn’t happen here in America because not only does our Constitution guarantee due process of law, it also prohibits cruel and unusual punishment.
These guarantees cease to exist when government bureaucrats can make decisions outside of the justice system that revoke rights of citizens. This is the problem with the “no fly” list and the position of the Foreside Tavern’s position on the issue.