Gun bill is going nowhere
By U.S. Senator Lisa
February 28, 2009
Legislation recently introduced
in the U.S. House of Representatives reminds us that we must
remain vigilant in the defense of our Second Amendment rights.
Many in Fairbanks, and across the nation, have expressed great
concern about the introduction of HR 45, The Firearm Licensing
and Record of Sale Act, and I would like to address these concerns.
HR 45, introduced by U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Ill., would require
any person owning a handgun or semiautomatic firearm to obtain
a federal firearms license. To apply for this license, individuals
would have to submit to thumb-printing and release their medical
records. The bill would even make it a crime for gun owners to
change their addresses without notifying the attorney general.
First, let me reassure all Alaskans that I adamantly am opposed
to HR 45. The bill would be impossible to enact, unacceptably
invasive and likely is unconstitutional. The legislation has
gained no support and stands zero chance of passage.
But the legislation has served one purpose: It's a reminder that
Americans must remain vigilant in the protection of our constitutional
rights. While we must not take actions that would endanger the
public, I applaud the many Alaskans who have taken the time to
gather in opposition to this legislation. Gun owners absolutely
are right to take notice and oppose efforts to erode the Second
Amendment, and I stand ready to lend my support.
Despite potential threats, gun owners celebrated a victory last
year with the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in District of Columbia
v. Heller. For the first time, the high court unequivocally upheld
an individual's constitutional right to bear arms. The majority
opinion said "there seems to us no doubt, on the basis of
both text and history, that the Second Amendment conferred an
individual right to keep and bear arms."
I was pleased to support Dick Heller in his challenge of the
D.C. gun ban by joining a group of 55 U.S. senators in a friend-of-the-court
brief expressing our belief that the Second Amendment was intended
to protect an individual's right to bear arms. Additionally,
in 2007, I supported efforts to bring common sense to firearm
rules on public lands. These efforts became successful last year
with a new rule requiring federal agencies to defer to state
laws regarding concealed firearms in national parks. I am pleased
with the new rule and have co-sponsored legislation to expand
and make the rule permanent. In addition, the 110th Congress
passed important legislation to bring fairness to the background
check system. I also backed efforts to codify the Heller decision
and to protect veterans from being improperly stripped of their
Second Amendment rights.
The new year has brought a new Congress and a new administration.
I am pleased by President Barack Obama's campaign statements
in support of the Second Amendment. However, I remain wary of
those in the administration and in Congress who would seek to
restrict our rights.
Rest assured that I will keep a watchful eye on attempts to restrict
Second Amendment rights and vigorously will oppose them should
they come before the U.S. Senate.
About: U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski
(R) has represented Alaska as a Republican in the United States
Senate since 2002.
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