Oklahomans denounce Obama’s war on legal firearms

January 24, 2013

President Obama has circumvented Congress with a series of executive orders restricting gun rights and that decision has drawn overwhelming criticism from Oklahomans.

Store shelves are being emptied of ammunition and gun sales are through the roof as Americans anticipate further action by Obama without the approval of Congress. Even Democrats in the House and Senate say they will vote against the new body of federal gun laws recommended by Obama.

“I support the Second Amendment,” said U.S. Rep. Jim Bridenstine, R-Okla. “The president’s legislative proposals including a ban on various types of guns and magazines violate our constitutional rights and I will not support such proposals.”

Obama’s new gun restrictions were born out of a reaction to the shooting of 26 people – including 20 children – in December at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut.

“However, as we debate these measures, we first must ensure our constitutional rights and individual liberties, including the Second Amendment right to bear arms, are protected,” said U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla. “Instead of repeating the failed policies of the past, Congress should work on thoughtful and constitutional ways to prevent unspeakable tragedies like this from happening again.  The fact that almost every public mass shooting tragedy occurs in a place where guns are prohibited shows that restricting Second Amendment rights tends to disarm everyone but the assailant.  Secondly, we must acknowledge that with rights come responsibilities. Gun owners must exercise personal responsibility and do everything in their power to prevent firearms and ammunition from falling into the wrong hands.

“Finally, policymakers in Washington should remember that the legislative process is downstream from culture.  The laws we make in Washington have less impact than the movies and video games that are shaping the hearts and minds of the next generation.  Special interest groups from across the spectrum – from Hollywood to the NRA – all have a responsibility to defend a culture of life and liberty.  Still, Congress shouldn’t take our cues from these groups.  As elected officials, we should be beholden solely to the Constitution.  Our job as it relates to interest groups is not to take instructions from them, but to give direction to them through our constitutional authority to legislate.”

Coburn said it is a good idea to strengthen mental health databases and reporting to the NICS system but the states are responsible for the NICS system, not the federal government.

Coburn said he supports the 2nd Amendment but he will not filibuster the gun debate.

“I would welcome the opportunity to debate these issues on the floor of the Senate, and would encourage Majority Leader Reid to schedule a full and open debate,” Coburn said. “Members of Congress and the American people have a right to know where members stand on these key policies.  If members can’t defend their positions, they don’t deserve to be here.

U.S. Rep. Markwayne Mullin, R-Okla., said the Constitution was written to limit the government, not the rights of the people.

“In Oklahoma there are many law-abiding citizens who hunt, fish and keep guns for self-protection,” Mullin said. “The last thing we need to do is to infringe upon the rights of those citizens. Criminals who chose to break the law will not be deterred by any number of executive actions. These rights are a fundamental way of life for people in my District and across the United States.

“The president is politicizing a national tragedy to impose his own personal agenda. This is outrageous and an outright assault on civil liberties. I strongly oppose restricting the rights of law abiding citizens to keep and bear arms and will do everything I can to protect our second amendment rights.”

U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., said the actions of a few criminals should not impact the constitutional rights of Americans.

“I will continue to strongly oppose any effort to undermine the Second Amendment and an individual citizen’s right to keep and bear arms,” Inhofe said.  “What people need to understand about the announcement is that it involved two very distinct actions by the president: 1) executives actions that the President will be implementing unilaterally, and 2) making recommendations to Congress for laws that it should pass. Most of the planned executive orders are common sense changes that are within the president’s current powers to implement, namely:

• Launch a national safe and responsible gun ownership campaign.

• Provide law enforcement, first responders and school officials with proper training for active shooter situations.

•  Maximize enforcement efforts to prevent gun violence and prosecute gun crime.

• Launch a national dialogue led by Secretaries Sebelius and Duncan on mental health.”

Inhofe said his big disagreement with Obama is on the laws Obama wants Congress to pass.

“We know from experience that an assault weapons ban will have no meaningful effect on gun violence, as many of the changes that are implemented by a such a ban are cosmetic in nature,” Inhofe said. “Statistics demonstrate that a ban on particular weapons will not significantly decrease crime. Such a ban will, however, significantly decrease our rights guaranteed by the Constitution.  The text of the Constitution clearly confers upon an individual the right to bear arms – and not just for the purposes of hunting as many liberals will claim.”

Last week, Obama signed 23 executive orders. In his first four years, he issued 144 total executive orders.

State Sen. Nathan Dahm, R-Broken Arrow, has filed three proposals in response to the president.

“Oklahomans understand that the right to keep and bear arms is intrinsic to our cultural identity,” said Dahm. “Our nation’s founders intended the Second Amendment to protect the right of individuals to own guns, and it is critical for lawmakers to be diligent in our protection of that right.  This legislation furthers our efforts to protect Oklahomans from federal overreach.”

Dahm has filed Senate Bill 548, the Second Amendment Preservation Act, legislation that will protect the right of Oklahomans to keep and bear arms by opposing all unconstitutional laws, orders or regulations imposed by the federal government that violate the individual right to keep and bear arms as guaranteed in the Second Amendment.

Also filed by Dahm, Senate Bill 401 states that licensed gun owners who have not been convicted of a felony will not be charged with a felony for possessing a weapon in a Gun-Free School Zone.  The measure will close a loophole created by federal law, and protect law-abiding Oklahomans from wrongfully being charged with a felony.  Senate Bill 552 will allow any Oklahoman 21 years of age or older, and who is not a convicted felon, to keep a pistol in their vehicle for the purpose of self-defense.

“When we were sworn in, we took an oath to support and uphold the Constitution, and I intend to do just that,” Dahm said.  “A broad majority of Oklahomans oppose gun restrictions, and expect their elected officials to defend their Second Amendment rights.  With federal authorities currently considering gun restrictions, we must be diligent.”