Dear Mr. RedRunnerGTS
Thank you for writing to me and expressing your views on the Second Amendment and the role of gun laws and their enforcement by agencies such as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (BATFE). I appreciate hearing from you on this important issue.
The Second Amendment is one of the most important rights set forth by the Bill of Rights and one that is uniquely American. The Constitution states, "the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." I strongly support this right and have diligently fought to ensure infringement does not occur.
It may come as a surprise to many people, but the federal government has at times violated the Second Amendment rights of its citizens. For example, for years, the federal government--through agencies such as the BLM, the Park Service, and Fish & Wildlife—have banned citizens from carrying sidearms for self-defense on public lands. These lands are used for hiking, camping, other purposes. As you may know, the 111th Congress remedied that and passed a law that repealed those bans and authorized possession of firearms for self-defense on National Park Service and National Wildlife Refuge System lands. However, when Congress changed the law to include park and refuge lands, the bill language omitted land owned and operated by the Army Corps of Engineers.
During the appropriations process in the 112th Congress, I took action to ensure our Second Amendment right would not be infringed by introducing my own amendment to the "Energy and Water Appropriations Bill" to remedy this. My amendment, called the Gosar Gun Amendment, sought to defund a federal regulation (36 CFR Sec. 327.13(a)) by which the Army Corps enforces, creates, and authorizes its ban on self-defense firearms. My amendment passed, and I was pleased to see the Gosar Amendment included in a House passed "Energy and Water Appropriations Bill" earlier this year. I will work hard in order to see this clarification passed into law.
While the rights to both own a weapon and to defend oneself and one's property are clear and unambiguous, we must remain vigilant to ensure that government agencies, both state and federal, do not overstep the bounds set forth by the Constitution. For example, under the guise of monitoring and regulating illegal weaponry, the BATFE sometimes exceeds its scope of authority and its efforts then compromise the lawful exercise of the constitutional right to own a gun. As gun owners, however, we must ensure that those who own guns learn how to use them safely and understand the circumstances when they can be used.
Our Founding Fathers believed strongly in the principle that it was up to the citizens to both defend themselves when necessary and defend their country when called upon to do so. The prominence of the Second Amendment reflects that. As a lifelong hunter and avid outdoorsman, I have been a life-long supporter of responsible gun ownership. Rest assured, I will continue fighting for our Second Amendment right during my tenure in Congress.
Again, I appreciate your thoughts and concerns. It is a pleasure to serve Arizona as part of its Congressional Delegation. Your suggestions are always welcome, and if ever I may be of assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me. To receive the latest legislative updates and news you can sign up for my e-newsletter by visiting my website at www.gosar.house.gov
Paul A. Gosar, D.D.S.
Member of Congress