Wicker Opposes Gun Control Efforts

The Second Amendment Is Not Up for Debate

September 25, 2023

The governor of New Mexico made national headlines this month when she brazenly violated the Second Amendment. Citing rising gun violence in Albuquerque, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham declared the situation a public health emergency. She then announced a 30-day ban on the right to carry firearms in the city and surrounding county. The blatantly unconstitutional move immediately attracted outrage.

Her actions are the latest example of liberal efforts to infringe on gun rights. Public safety is important, but the government’s response has to protect the rights of law-abiding citizens – especially since law-breakers will not adhere to gun restrictions. I have always worked to defend the rights of every Mississippian to own guns for both self-defense and recreation. This recent episode underscores the importance of those efforts.

The Second Amendment is a First-Class Right

Thankfully, Governor Lujan Grisham was roundly criticized for her ban. The city police chief, the county sheriff, and even the state Attorney General said they would not enforce or defend her executive order. Within a week, a federal judge ruled that the governor had violated the Constitution. I applaud the judge’s decision. But I am concerned that the governor will not be the last to use emergencies to relegate the Second Amendment to second-class status.

In response, I joined legislation to keep that from happening at the federal level. The bill, authored by Senator Mike Braun, would prohibit federal officials from using the term “public health emergency” as a pretext for gun-control tactics. Called the Protecting the Right to Keep and Bear Arms Act, the proposal takes its name from the amendment that has guaranteed this American right for centuries. It would prevent these leaders from following in the governor’s footsteps.

Blocking Biden’s Gun-Control Schemes

New Mexico’s governor is not the only official showing disdain for the Constitution. The Biden bureaucracy is also moving to restrict freedoms.

Many Mississippians remember the outrageous pistol brace rule the administration published in January. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms changed their policy regarding pistols fitted with stabilizing braces. Now, they subject these guns to the same regulations and taxes as short-barreled rifles. The rule holds felony charges over gun owners, and it disadvantages the disabled veterans and sportsmen who need the brace. I joined a Senate resolution to prevent enforcement of the rule and welcomed a recent court decision casting doubt on its constitutionality.

In a more recent move, President Biden went on the offensive against hunters. His Department of Education sought to slash funding for schools that host hunting education and archery programs. These courses benefit over a million students in 8,000 schools, and they actually increase gun safety. Instructors teach proper firearm handling, and students hone athletic skills. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith and I joined a bill to protect these programs. The Allowing for Recreational Resources for Outdoor Wellness (ARROW) Act would prohibit President Biden from punishing schools hosting classes like these.

I am a member of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus, and I have always advocated for the right to keep and bear guns. The president fails to understand that hunting is a longstanding family tradition for many Americans and that it attracts tourism dollars for many states like Mississippi.

The Constitution recognizes that people have a right to protect themselves and their loved ones. President Trump appointed three excellent, conservative justices to the Supreme Court, and they have ruled in favor of gun rights. In Congress, I will also continue supporting efforts to shore up protections guaranteed by the Second Amendment.