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The Second Amendment is as Fundamental as the First Amendment

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Washington, April 29, 2010 | comments
The pro gun demonstrations in Washington, D.C., and the crowds gathered across the Potomac River in Virginia last week were a stark reminder of the passion with which Americans value their personal freedoms. These men and woman journeyed from across the country to remind their government that the Second Amendment, the right to keep and bear arms, is a right guaranteed them as law abiding citizens and is as fundamental as the First Amendment, which allowed them to make their voices heard in the first place.
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The pro gun demonstrations in Washington, D.C., and the crowds gathered across the Potomac River in Virginia last week were a stark reminder of the passion with which Americans value their personal freedoms.  These men and woman journeyed from across the country to remind their government that the Second Amendment, the right to keep and bear arms, is a right guaranteed them as law abiding citizens and is as fundamental as the First Amendment, which allowed them to make their voices heard in the first place.

Debate on the floor of the House last week about gun rights and congressional representation in the District of Columbia perfectly illustrated the flaw in anti-gun Members of Congress arguments. They speak eloquently about preserving the constitutional rights of residents of the District of Columbia by granting them a voting Member of Congress, and in the next breath deny them the constitutional right to peacefully keep and bear arms. These members want to pick and choose which constitutional rights they feel Americans deserve to keep.  This is a defective line of reasoning, and the American people are not buying it.

The gatherings in Virginia themselves were a victory for gun rights supporters.  Even one year ago it was illegal to carry a firearm into a national park.  One year ago each demonstrator would have been fined or arrested, but last week they were allowed to carry out their peaceful demonstration without interference.  This victory is one of many, including the landmark Heller decision by the Supreme Court, that have shown a recent trend toward strengthening the Second Amendment in this country.  Indeed, 24 states loosened restrictions on firearms last year alone.

That said, the right to bear arms remains under attack from interest groups and politicians, including many Members of Congress who want to erode the Second Amendment by enacting burdensome regulations.  There are even Members who would prefer to just eliminate gun rights all together, and abolish the Second Amendment, saying it is outdated and obsolete.  They say that the Framers only wrote it out of a distrust of standing armies, that they never intended it to be an individual right of every American.  They are wrong.  The ability of law abiding citizens to protect themselves, their families and their homes is a right that will never be unnecessary.  The right to collect historic firearms or to hunt will never be outdated.  These are rights upon which our country was built and maintained, and nothing could be more important.

That is why I have once again cosponsored H.R. 5162, the Second Amendment Enforcement Act, which would restore the Second Amendment rights of D.C. residents, as the Supreme Court declared in the Heller case and as is required by the Constitution.

Placing blame on a gun after an act of violence is akin to blaming a hammer after completion of a shoddily built home.  I will continue to push for stricter penalties for those who use firearms to commit crimes and I will continue to ensure law abiding citizens have the right to peacefully keep and bear arms.

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