(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 
  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 
  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.