WASHINGTON – With threats of federal or state efforts to promote gun control through emergency declarations, U.S. Senators Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Miss., again cosponsored legislation to ensure that law abiding Americans do not arbitrarily have their rights stripped in the name of any irresponsible “public health emergency” declaration.
Wicker and Hyde-Smith are original cosponsors of the Protecting the Right To Keep and Bear Arms Act of 2023, legislation that would prevent the President, Secretary of Health and Human Services, or other government officials from declaring certain emergencies or disasters for the purpose of imposing gun control. It was reintroduced by U.S. Senator Mike Braun, R-Ind.
“Americans have a constitutional right to keep and bear arms, and no disaster or emergency declared by bureaucrats can circumvent that right,” Wicker said. “I will fight any attempt by this Administration to make an end run around the Constitution.”
“No emergency declaration will fix the senseless policies that are fueling the violent crime surge in blue cities and states. The use of such a declaration would be an abuse of the power to declare emergencies, violate the constitutional rights of law-abiding gun owners, and, worse, further erode public confidence in those who govern them,” Hyde-Smith said.
“Many said that public health emergencies would not be abused to impose gun control, but after we saw the vast expansion of executive power during COVID and the New Mexico Governor use a public health emergency to effectively suspend the 2nd Amendment in her state, no one can doubt that this needs to be addressed,” said Braun. “We need to set into law that no one can remove the right to defend ourselves and our families with the stroke of a pen.”
The Washington Post this week reported that the Biden administration will create a new Office of Gun Violence Prevention in response to “stalled” progress in Congress. A high-profile activist from the Community Justice Action Fund will serve a key role for the new office: an organization dedicated to declaring a national gun violence public health emergency as one of its three policy planks.
Additionally, a federal judge last week suspended a “public health emergency” declaration issued by the liberal governor of New Mexico to infringe the rights of law-abiding citizens to have open and concealed carrying firearms.
The Protecting the Right To Keep and Bear Arms Act (S.2911) would:
- Prohibit the President or designee, from declaring an emergency pursuant to the National Emergencies Act or major disaster pursuant to the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act in order to impose gun control.
- Prevent the Secretary of Health and Human services from declare public health emergency pursuant to the Public Health Service Act for the purpose of imposing gun control.
- Prevent any government official from prohibiting the manufacture, sale, or transfer of a firearm or ammunition during a disaster or emergency.
Additional original cosponsors include U.S. Senators Thom Tillis, R-N.C., Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., Jim Risch, R-Idaho, Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo., Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, John Hoeven, R-N.D., Steve Daines, R-Mont., Ted Budd, R-N.C., Rick Scott, R-Fla., Tom Cotton, R-Ark., Josh Hawley, R-Mo., John Thune, R-S.D., Mike Rounds, R-S.D., Markwayne Mullin, R-Okla., Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and J.D. Vance, R-Ohio.
Wicker and Hyde-Smith also cosponsored this Braun measure in the 117th Congress.