WASHINGTON, D.C. – While Sen. Thom Tillis (RINO-NC) is doing his best to play the part of principled Republican as he looks toward reelection in 2020, he just can’t seem to help but sponsor legislation that reveals himself to be nothing more than a Big Government politician who won’t hesitate to violate your rights in the name of good press. Earlier this year, Tillis, along with Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), introduced Senate Bill 265, the Threat Analysis, Prevention and Safety (TAPS) Act of 2019.
The purported goal of the TAPS Act is to develop a national strategy to prevent targeted violence through behavioral threat assessment and management. It is being presented as a “bipartisan, bicameral solution to prevent targeted violence and make local communities safer.”
In plain language the TAPS Act is a law to empower the federal government to create a register of people who may commit crimes at an unspecified time in the future. Once they have a list, it’s all the easier to strip those potential criminals of their God-given rights, such as confiscating someones firearms due to a threat assessment based on online behavior.
If you feel like you’ve seen this movie before, it may be because you have.
The promotion of the senate bill, along with a companion bill in the U.S. House with 84 co-sponsors, rests upon the ostensibly noble end of preventing mass shootings and the like. To reach that end, the legislation empowers the federal government with the means to summarily violate the constitutionally protected rights of Americans.
Of the TAPS Act, Tillis says:
“We cannot allow mass casualty events to become the new normal in America, and it is imperative that we take strong proactive steps to prevent them. The bipartisan TAPS Act utilizes an innovative approach that is proven to be effective, creating a uniform program to identify threats and provide states with the opportunity to receive the training and resources necessary to save lives and keep our communities safe.”
Don’t worry, citizen; Big Brother will protect you.
Tillis, again carrying water for Democrats, hypes up the rate of mass casualty events in the United States (a distortion, at best) to justify giving the government unprecedented police powers. He, and other sponsors, want the power to deem someone a threat and to arrest them before they have ever committed a crime.
Of vital importance, the federal government — the structured monopoly of force within our nation — is constitutionally restricted from doing anything beyond its enumerated powers, and, morally speaking, relegated to mere reactionary enforcement measures as to protect individuals from government tyranny under any guise.
The TAPS Act directly and fundamentally conflicts with this framework in ways that will inevitably lead to the rights of innocent citizens being violated. Since the bill authors aim to curb mass shootings, the 2nd Amendment rights of citizens are particularly at risk.
The TAPS Act would enable law enforcement to throw probable cause right out of the window, codifying unconstitutional profiling practices using a nationally designated task force of behavioral threat assessment experts, and then force-feeding enforcement of the act to States by bribing them with grant money.
Once it’s out there, like any expansion of government power, it will be nearly impossible to undo. Then we will exist in a nation where saying “concerning” things online can get you thrown in jail without ever having actually broken a law. That’s right, in the Frequently Asked Questions section of one sponsor’s legislative guide to the TAPS Act, the Act can be used to move against citizens whose communications ’cause concern’
“[T]hese requests arise because the individual in question has made public statements verbally, in writing, or on social media, that cause concern, with no expectation of privacy.”
Who defines what level of concern? Whose concern? An angry ex-wife’s concern? A disgruntled former employee’s concern? An internet troll’s concern? When the terms are so ambiguous, that is a giant red flag for a law that will be abused despite the best intentions of politicians looking for good press.
It also means the threat assessment units activated by this act will be involved in every aspect of Americans’ lives, from schools to the workplace, to the very streets on which they live. Monitoring, judging, creating files that can and will be shared with other agencies. And all it costs you is your privacy, your dignity, and your tax dollars.
It doesn’t take a big leap of imagination to envision a TAPS Act model employed to monitor and regulate other areas of thought. Posting rants skeptical of Climate Change? Threat. Talking about the Founder’s view that every generation needs a revolution? Threat. Not ‘Woke’ enough for social justice standards? Threat.
Basically, the TAPS Act, and those like Tillis that are so eager to empower Big Brother, is a threat to you and your liberty. It give the government far too much power and lacks any clear indication that it would even accomplish its asserted goals. Even if it did, how much of your rights are you willing to give up so Big Brother can keep you safe?