Q: Do you support 2nd amendment gun rights?
I am a strong supporter of our Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. I believe that law-abiding citizens should not have this right infringed upon by numerous and burdensome regulations designed to deter law-abiding citizens from purchasing firearms.
In addition, because criminals operate outside of the law, banning certain types of weapons will not prevent criminals from acquiring illegal firearms. I believe that instead of significantly limiting the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens through bans on certain types of firearms, the best way to help ensure the safety and security of our communities is to apprehend and convict violent offenders and make certain that they are punished to the full extent of the law.
On June 26, 2008, the Supreme Court issued a decision in District of Columbia v. Heller, which struck down the District of Columbia’s handgun ban, one of the most restrictive gun laws in the nation, as unconstitutional. In its ruling, the Supreme Court held the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to possess a firearm and to use that firearm for traditionally lawful purposes.
Because I never believed there was any ambiguity regarding the application of our Second Amendment rights, I am extremely pleased the Supreme Court, in unambiguous terms, interpreted the Second Amendment as an individual right to keep and bear arms, which applies to you and me, not just to state militias. That is why I joined a legal brief, signed by over 300 Members of Congress earlier this year, expressing our strong belief that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to possess firearms. In this ruling, the Supreme Court preserved one of the fundamental tenets that our Founding Fathers had the foresight to guarantee to us in the Bill of Rights at the birth of our nation.
As a result of this Supreme Court decision, other laws across the nation similar to the restrictive D.C. gun ban are already being challenged in lower courts as unconstitutional. As these laws are scrutinized, I am confident that our individual Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms will be preserved as lower courts follow the Supreme Court’s decision in District of Columbia v. Heller, which will guide them as the highest precedent in the land on this direct issue.
When I was a member of the California State Assembly, because of my support for gun rights, I earned an “A+” rating from the National Rifle Association. I intend to continue to work to protect our Second Amendment rights.