June 26, 2008 - Issue: Vol. 154, No. 107 — Daily Edition110th Congress (2007 - 2008) - 2nd Session
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA V. HELLER
(House of Representatives - June 26, 2008)
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[Pages H6154-H6155] From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov] DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA V. HELLER The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under a previous order of the House, the gentleman from Georgia (Mr. Broun) is recognized for 5 minutes. Mr. BROUN of Georgia. Madam Speaker, today the Supreme Court made a strong move in support of individual gun rights in their decision in District of Columbia v. Heller. Since 1975, the residents of Washington, D.C., have had their second amendment rights to bear arms stolen from them by the D.C. government. The second amendment to the U.S. Constitution declares that: ``A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.'' Our Founding Fathers knew that without the second amendment, an oppressive government would eventually try to tear away our rights. They could not trust the government to always protect our rights, and so they wrote the second amendment. As James Madison later wrote: ``Who are the best keepers of the people's liberties? The people themselves. The sacred trust can be nowhere so safe as in the hands most interested in preserving it.'' The second amendment protects the fundamental, individual right of law-abiding citizens to own firearms for any lawful purpose. Further, any law infringing on this freedom, including a ban on self-defense and handgun ownership, is blatantly unconstitutional. Every study has shown that gun control is not effective in curbing crime. Rather, these types of restrictions only leave law-abiding citizens more susceptible to criminal attack. Other than law enforcement, only criminals have had handguns in the District of Columbia. The Supreme Court took a strong step forward today to protect the individual gun rights of Americans, and I applaud them for doing so. As Justice Scalia stated, ``The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home.'' Though the Supreme Court's decision does champion the individual right to bear arms, it also allows restrictions based on type, manner of carrying, purpose, sensitive location, and commercial sale of handguns. Most alarmingly, the Court irrationally envisioned that their holding may completely detach the second amendment right from its purpose. Regarding the purpose of the right, United States General George Washington Stated, ``A free people ought not only be armed and disciplined, but they should have sufficient arms and ammunition to maintain a status of independence from any who might attempt to abuse them, which would include their own government.'' Recognizing an evolving standard that limits the right to weapons to only those ``in common use at the time'' and accepting prohibitions of ``dangerous and unusual'' weapons, the Court gives short shrift to the fact that modern laws, of the very sort it strikes down today, have prevented the common use of ``sufficient arms and ammunition to maintain a status of independence from any who might attempt to abuse them, which would include their own government,'' as George Washington envisioned. The ruling outrageously claims that, ``the fact that modern developments have limited the degree of fit between the purpose and the protected right cannot change our interpretation of the right.'' The truth is that our second amendment right must fit the purpose, and this Court has separated the two. This Court wrongly leaves loopholes for prohibition of weapons that would be necessary for today's militia duty. Militia, at the time of our findings, included every male 18 years of age or older. I am an avid hunter and outdoorsman and proud owner of numerous firearms. The National Rifle Association, Safari Club International, and Gun Owners of America are just some of the numerous sporting associations that I am a life Member of. A full-body-mounted African lion and Kodiak grizzly bear are just a few of my prized trophies that visitors see when they come to my D.C. office. I strongly support the Constitution's second amendment right to bear arms and will defend the rights of law-abiding citizens to purchase, use, carry, [[Page H6155]] and keep firearms. I vigorously oppose all attempts to restrict the second amendment. I believe that any law, whether at the local, State, or Federal level, which restricts or infringes upon law-abiding citizens' ability to own a firearm is unconstitutional and should be repealed. The plain language of the Second Amendment clearly indicates that it was written to protect an individual's right to keep and bear arms. I believe, as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, John Adams, and other founding fathers believed, that the individual right to bear arms is a representation of freedom and independence and I will always defend that right from abusive regulations and licensing. ____________________