Although some have expressed federalism concerns, Rep. Paul Braun (R-Ga.) has introduced H.R. 2900, the Secure Access to Firearms Enhancement (SAFE) Act, to provide reciprocity in regard to the manner in which nonresidents of a State may carry certain concealed firearms. In the Senate, Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) has introduced S. 2213, the Respecting States' Rights and Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act. Activity on these measures thus far? Zilch.
Gun rights advocates did get a little something to cheer about late last week. The House approved an amendment to the Defense Authorization bill that exempts military personnel from Washington, D.C.’s gun ban. But that is just a small step. Both chambers have yet to bring up legislation repealing our capitol city’s unconstitutional gun ban.
Meanwhile, gun issues that got some legislative action last year remain in legislative limbo this session. H.R. 822, legislation to allow state-issued conceal carry gun permits in most states, passed the House 272-154 last November. It crossed to the Senate, where it has lain ignored by the Senate Judiciary Committee ever since.
Our Founding Fathers recognized the natural right of people to protect themselves. After all, they had to take up arms to win their own freedom. So they made darn sure that the bill of rights guaranteed that “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
Two recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions have provided clarity on the nature and extent of this right. In D.C. v Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008), the Court affirmed that the Second Amendment is an individual right. In McDonald v Chicago, 51 U.S. 3025 (2010), the Court applied the Second Amendment to the states. These two rulings should have empowered and inspired lawmakers to push for more freedom—not to pretend as though they don’t deserve the time of day.
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