Marco Rubio
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As Congress prepares to consider new gun control legislation, I stand firmly against any attempt to restrict the constitutional rights of responsible, law-abiding gun owners. As a concealed weapons permit holder, I value the freedom to exercise my Second Amendment right as protected by the Constitution and in accordance with gun laws designed to promote safe, responsible use. The right to bear arms is a unique and fundamental aspect of American liberty because, when exercised responsibly and in accordance with the laws in place, it makes our families and our property safer.

Last week, I announced I would join efforts to filibuster any gun control proposals that seek to restrict the rights of Americans who have never violated the law. Many Floridians, including our large number of hunters and sportsmen, use guns regularly and responsibly and do not deserve to be harassed or further regulated. Especially in light of recent shootings, safety is everyone’s priority. But the way to increase safety is not to take away the rights of responsible gun owners, including those wishing to protect themselves and their loved ones. Instead, by ensuring that those who obey the law can remain the first line of defense against violence, America will become better equipped to handle potential tragedies as they arise.

Current gun control proposals being discussed by Washington Democrats – by the admission of their own authors – would not have stopped the tragedies in Newtown or Aurora. The perpetrators of these actions were mentally disturbed monsters with a complete lack of interest in laws or ethics. For this reason, any effective plan to deal with future violence must focus on addressing mental illness and identifying those Americans who should be forbidden to own guns.

What advocates of indiscriminate gun bans fail to realize is that their efforts to legislate limitations on gun ownership will only work on those of us who are already predisposed to obey the law. Since a disregard for law is the very definition of criminality, criminals will not be deterred by Congress’ efforts to restrict their access to firearms. We’ve seen this in urban centers like Chicago and Washington, D.C. – when these local governments enacted gun bans, only law abiding citizens respected the law. Criminals carried on, emboldened by the knowledge that their victims would be more vulnerable and could be easily overmatched.

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Marco Rubio

Marco Rubio, a Republican, is a U.S. senator from Floria and former speaker of the Florida House of Representatives.