U.S. Sen. Susan Collins is proposing a compromise bill in response to the debate over restricting gun sales to people on the “no fly” and terror watch lists. Nobody wants guns in the hands of sociopaths and murderers, but these lists are certainly not the answer.

The problem is that you’re put on these lists in secret – with no due process. You do not have to be a criminal or even a threat. You would not even know if you’re on a list unless and until you try to board a plane. Ask any of the dozen or more “Robert Johnsons” who are misidentified as someone on the watch list.

The way these lists are being applied, every citizen is subject to criminal punishment with no day in court.

The Fifth Amendment states: ” … nor shall any person … be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law … .”

That’s a mere inconvenience in the eyes of at least some in Congress. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., said this on MSNBC recently: “It’s all due process. … Due process is what’s killing us right now.”

No, Joe. You’re killing due process.

So is Sen. Collins with her new proposals. What she is compromising are our fundamental rights – and it’s about much more than guns.

I understand and appreciate her passion and sincerity when Sen. Collins says, “I want to get something done. I don’t want this to be (the movie) ‘Groundhog Day,’ where nothing gets done.”

The problem is that in this rush to action, we’re moving in the opposite direction of our Founders, who risked everything, including their lives, to secure liberty for themselves and for us.

Now we are all too eager to exchange liberty for safety.

Jim Bouchard

Libertarian candidate for U.S. House, 1st Congressional District