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Ranking Member Hastings’ Floor Speech on Restoring Americans’ Second Amendment Rights

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 20, 2009 - House Natural Resources Committee Ranking Member Doc Hastings (WA-04) spoke on the House floor today urging Members to restore Americans’ Second Amendment rights on federal lands. Full video and text of the speech, as prepared for delivery, follows:

Click here to watch the floor speech

“Mr. Speaker, since January, House Republicans have simply asked the Democrat Majority for a chance to debate this amendment and vote to allow citizens to carry firearms in national parks and wildlife refuges in accordance with State law.

Unfortunately, Democrat Leaders have spent the past five months using every legislative trick in the book to obstruct a fair and open process.

However, after Senator Coburn managed to force consideration of his amendment on this issue – Democrat Leaders have finally cried uncle and decided to hold a debate and a vote. I applaud their capitulation.

During today’s debate, you’ll hear gun control advocates falsely claim that this amendment will increase poaching because America’s gun owners won’t be able to resist the temptation to shoot the wildlife encountered in National Parks.

Their liberal base might believe this – but the American people won’t buy it.

The fact is American gun owners are simply citizens who want to exercise their Second Amendment rights without running into confusing red-tape.

Opponents of this amendment will also call it unprecedented, far-reaching, and radical – but the fact is that it merely puts National Parks and Refuges in line with the current regulations of National Forest and Bureau of Land Management. Let me reiterate, this is already the law of the land on National Forest and Bureau of Land Management property.

The current policy is outdated, unnecessary, inconsistent, and confusing to those who visit the checkerboard of public lands – and the policy needs to be changed this amendment does just that.

Finally, let me remind my colleagues that the current prohibition is only in place because a lone activist Federal judge in Washington, D.C. somehow rationalized that the Second Amendment should be subject to environmental review and red-tape bureaucracy – and decided to singlehandedly throw out the previous policy. And she did this despite the fact that the previous Administration had conducted months of review and a thorough public comment process.

Now, today, on this vote, the House has an opportunity to right this wrong.

I encourage my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to join me in restoring Americans’ Second Amendment rights on federal lands.”

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Print version of this document

Contact: Emily Lawrimore or Jill Strait (202) 226-2311

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