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Upholding the Second Amendment

March 12, 2021

Our Constitution’s framers affirmed our right to bear arms through the Second Amendment for an important reason; to provide Americans with means of protection and self-defense. This week Democrats brought to the House floor two bills they claim would protect safety by restricting gun ownership. I will always be vigilant in protecting Nebraskans’ Second Amendment rights, and I opposed both bills because they would do far more to harm the rights of law-abiding Americans than to address any real problem.

The first of these bills, the Background Checks Act of 2021 establishes universal background checks for all types of firearm transfers. It also creates serious new compliance burdens and legal pitfalls for law-abiding gun owners and forces us down the path towards an inevitable firearm registry requiring all law-abiding citizens to register their guns with the federal government. It is meant to deter criminals from obtaining firearms, but instead would punish law-abiding gunowners for handing a firearm to another person. Federal firearms laws already criminalize the transfer or sale of guns to children and criminals and adding more restrictions will not reduce gun violence when criminals are already willing to break existing laws with harsh penalties in order to procure a weapon.

Along with the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2021, I also could not support the Enhanced Background Checks Act of 2021, a bill that would do away with the current three-day process which ensures law abiding Americans can purchase a gun in a timely manner following the FBI’s background check. This legislation removes the required three-day timeline, allowing for indefinite delays to the process for all those wishing to legally and lawfully purchase a firearm, whether due to bureaucratic incompetence or to intentionally deter purchases because of the long unexplained delays. These bills do not address the underlying causes of violence, nor would they have prevented past tragedies, instead these further gun regulations only hurt the citizens already following the law.

Rather than limiting Americans’ Second Amendment rights, we should be looking for ways to defend them. I have supported a number of bills with this in mind. The Hearing Protection Act of 2021 would help protect the hearing of sportsman and hunters across Nebraska, and those who wish to defend themselves, by removing silences from the federal firearm category. The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act would ensure citizens who are able to conceal carry maintain that right when they travel to other states with comparable laws. The ability of gunowners to possess their guns should extend outside of just their homes.

I supported the Lawful Transportation of Firearms Act to allow Nebraskans to travel as they please, whether that be stopping for gas or staying in temporary lodging with their firearm. This bill gives gunowners the ability to possess their gun and ammunition even if they are simply passing through an area. I also cosponsored the Fair Access to Banking Act to ensure banks and other financial institutions do not discriminate in lending to legal gun dealers and firearms businesses.

The right to bear arms allows Nebraskans to own and utilize guns in order to deter crime, protect and defend themselves, their families, and their livestock, and engage in sport. We have seen instances of illegal gun activity and acts of gun violence far too much in our country, and reducing that violence is crucial. In that process however, we must be committed to upholding the Second Amendment rights the Constitution provides us. I stand with our Founding Fathers and the right they bestowed upon all Americans to bear arms.