On May 5 The Daily Beast bemoaned the fact that the Secret Service will perform background checks on all journalists who plan to attend the Democrat or Republicans conventions.
In short, this means journalists will now have to undergo government scrutiny of their mental and criminal backgrounds before being able to exercise their First Amendment rights.
According to The Daily Beast:
Journalists who don’t pass muster—in what several complain is an inscrutable security screening process for which there are no plainly established criteria, and from which there is no appeal—will be denied credentials to cover the GOP’s July 18-21 conclave in Cleveland, at which reality show billionaire Donald Trump is expected to be nominated, and the Democrats’ July 25-28 meeting in Philadelphia, at which former New York senator and secretary of state Hillary Clinton will likely be named the standard-bearer.
Gun owners know the feeling and have long been burdened by being required to pass government “muster” before being allowed to exercise Second Amendment rights. There has been little sympathy from the press for gun owners, much less empathy. But journalists are now making arguments against background checks that are very similar to those made by gun owners.
For example, Newark Star-Ledger Washington correspondent Jonathan D. Salant criticized background checks for journalists, saying, “I personally think it’s the government deciding who can and can’t be a journalist, and I don’t think the First Amendment allows that.”
Salant is surely referencing the First Amendment language that says “Congress shall make no law” establishing a national religion or “abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.” Perhaps journalists will also notice the language of the Second Amendment, particularly the words “shall not be infringed.”
AWR Hawkins is the Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.