Gun owners in America know they can never rest easy. That’s because Americans’ constitutional right to keep and bear arms is always under fire from the political left and their allies in the White House, Congress and the media.
It doesn’t take much to prompt another assault on our Second Amendment Rights. All it requires is one high-profile case involving a criminal and a firearm, and there’s no shortage of liberal legislators and pundits willing to tar law-abiding gun owners with the same brush and call for gun control.
In that never-ending war, I have found it better to be proactive than reactive. It is better to take the legislative initiative rather than wait for the next incursion from the anti-gun crowd before taking action. That is why I have spearheaded many important initiatives over the years to uphold our right to bear arms.
In October, for example, Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) and I introduced the Firearms Interstate Commerce Reform Act, which brings gun laws into the 21st century by allowing the interstate sale of firearms and getting rid of antiquated and unnecessary restrictions on interstate firearms transactions that hurt business and jobs.
Specifically, the legislation would remove a number of restrictions from the Gun Control Act of 1968, which only allows dealers to sell rifles or shotguns to residents of a different state subject to a tedious series of conditions. These restrictions are aimed at stopping buyers from evading background checks.
Since 1998, however, all people buying firearms from dealers in the U.S. are subject to a sophisticated computer background check under the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System, which is much more advanced and renders the restrictions in the 1968 law obsolete. The current restrictions, unless changed, will continue to interfere with interstate commerce by hindering or preventing these sales. This bill would put a stop to that.
On another front, Sen. Jerry Moran of Kansas and I, along with 43 other senators, recently wrote President Obama and Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, to oppose ratification of the United Nations’ Arms Trade Treaty that could jeopardize our national sovereignty and restrict the rights of American gun owners.
Utahns and other Americans won’t tolerate this White House or Congress surrendering our national sovereignty to U.N. bureaucrats so they can dictate to us our liberties and freedoms. As your elected representative, I won’t tolerate it either.
While getting anything through Congress and this White House can be an uphill battle, I and other defenders of gun rights have had some notable successes in protecting the constitutional rights of our nation’s 93 million gun owners. For example, in 2009 we were able to overturn a ban that prevented passengers from bringing unloaded guns on Amtrak trains. Another victory that year was our Senate vote that lifted the ban on people carrying firearms in our national parks. There was also the United State Supreme Court decision in June 2008 to strike down a 32-year law banning handgun ownership in Washington, D.C.
Despite these hard-fought victories, the war is not won. There will be many more battles. Protecting our freedom has and always will require constant vigilance. When it comes to the Second Amendment, the defense can never afford to rest.
Be assured, this defender won’t.