The Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) today endorsed efforts by Patriots to Restore Checks and Balances – a coalition of organizations and interests that includes the ACLU, tax reformers, medical privacy proponents and gun rights activists – to have certain sections of the Patriot Act reviewed. The coalition is meeting Tuesday in Washington, D.C.

“As a civil rights organization, we are very concerned about sections of the Patriot Act that allow invasions of privacy under the guise of some investigation that may be nothing more than a legal fishing expedition,” said SAF Founder Alan M. Gottlieb. “A search conducted without the knowledge or consent of a citizen, including a so-called ‘sneak-and-peek’ search, is an anathema to the foundations of our legal system. Sections of the Patriot Act allow the use of so-called ‘delayed-notification’ search warrants that let police search homes and businesses and remove property, including firearms, before telling the owners.

“As it stands,” Gottlieb continued, “the Patriot Act also permits the government to seize certain personal records from third parties, whether they are doctors, attorneys or even the neighborhood librarian, and they could not even tell you about it. Whatever happened to the concept of attorney-client privilege or doctor-patient privacy? Many people are concerned that such authority might threaten our Fourth Amendment rights.

“Because another section of the Patriot Act also could also ultimately be abused to stifle legitimate protest by various organizations, there are definitely First Amendment issues that should be addressed,” Gottlieb added.

“While these issues do not directly relate to the right of individual citizens under the Second Amendment to keep and bear arms,” he observed, “a threat to any civil right is a threat to all of them. While there can be little doubt that the authors of the Patriot Act had the best of intentions, sometimes it is true that good intentions are the stuff from which the road to Hell has been paved.

“I think it is important,” Gottlieb concluded, “to recall the words of Benjamin Franklin, who said, ‘They who give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety’.”

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