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NewsOK Blog: Oklahoma lawmakers blast Obama's gun proposals

January 5, 2016
News Stories

NewsOK Blog - Chris Casteel

Members of Oklahoma's congressional delegation on Tuesday blasted President Barack Obama's proposals to increase background checks for gun buyers by expanding those who would be defined as gun dealers under federal law.

Obama made a tearful pitch at the White House to take action to stop mass shootings, urging Congress to fund more federal agents to police gun sales and legislation to ensure mentally ill people can't purchase guns.

Some Oklahoma members of Congress called the president's proposals unconstitutional, though federal courts have not ruled that requiring background checks violates 2nd Amendment rights. Also, contrary to the statement by Sen. James Lankford, the U.S. Supreme Court did not rule until 2010 that Americans in every state have a right to own a gun for self defense. For decades, Supreme Court case law implied that the 2nd Amendment applied only to militias.

Here are some of the comments made by the Oklahomans:

Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Tulsa: “In an effort to show off to his liberal base, Obama announced several executive actions on gun control that would not have prevented any of the mass shootings that he claims inspired this push. For months he has had his staff working night and day to find ways for him to push his gun control agenda unilaterally while we’ve been waiting years for any leadership or a clear strategy for the Middle East, ISIL and Syria.

"Fort Hood, Chattanooga and San Bernardino were terrorist attacks that have happened here, in America, and we need to make sure that we are strengthening our borders, our visa programs and our surveillance of possible terror suspects before we try and curb Americans’ 2nd Amendment rights when they need them the most.”

Sen. James Lankford, R-Oklahoma City: "All Americans, Republicans and Democrats alike, are broken-hearted by senseless acts of violence, especially towards children. As we grieve for those who are affected by violence, we must evaluate the root causes that lead to violence, like broken families, mental health, drug use and a culture that glorifies violence. Just like the 23 executive actions on guns the president released in 2013, the latest round of executive actions generally misses the root causes of violence in our culture.

“Law-abiding Americans have a constitutionally-protected right that has been upheld by the highest court in the land for decades. A president who aggressively demeans the rights of law-abiding citizens fails to achieve real policy goals, and actually increases the sales of guns and ammunition since people are rightfully concerned about the future of their Second Amendment rights."

Rep. Tom Cole, R-Moore, said, “President Obama’s plan to circumvent Congress is not only unconstitutional, his gun control plan shows utter disregard for the powers entrusted to each branch of government.

“Further, his proposal would do absolutely nothing to prevent deranged criminals from committing horrific crimes. In fact, the president’s plan instead infringes upon the rights of law-abiding citizens and needlessly punishes those who haven’t committed any crimes. This hostility toward the Second Amendment has been an unfortunate hallmark of his presidency."

Rep. Steve Russell, R-Oklahoma City: “The right to keep and bear arms is as fundamental to American freedom as any other of our constitutional rights.

"This right is God-given as much as the freedom to worship, freedom to express, freedom to assemble, freedom to possess property and have privacy protected, or to have a trial adjudicated by your peers. These are inalienable rights, not granted by government, but rather they are God-given. The creator of the universe did not make human beings with fangs, claws, quills or odors for their self-defense.

"Instead, he gave them their intelligence, and by extension, their hands to fashion implements to protect their lives. While the president is certainly welcome to choose to not defend himself as is his right, it is not his right to prohibit others from protecting their lives, liberty, and property."

Rep. Jim Bridenstine, R-Tulsa: "President Obama once again usurped the legislative power of Congress by executive overreach. The president’s gun control executive actions will infringe on the 2nd Amendment rights of law-abiding Americans, but do nothing to prevent gun crime and mass shootings. I am confident that his proposals will be challenged in court and ultimately vacated.

"Obama’s new executive actions on gun control would have not prevented mass shooting tragedies from Columbine to San Bernardino.

"The executive actions broaden guidance on who must obtain a firearms license while being deliberately vague in defining who will be considered a gun dealer. This will give federal agents undue power and make people reluctant to engage in gun transactions for fear of being selected for politically-motivated prosecution. The actions not only violate 2nd Amendment rights to keep and bear arms but also 4th Amendment protections against unreasonable searches and seizures."

Rep. Markwayne Mullin, R-Westville: “Oklahomans have grieved with the communities around the country that have experienced senseless tragedies. Unfortunately, more gun control will not deter criminals from perpetrating evil acts. We must focus on closing our borders to individuals who wish to do us harm. We must let law enforcement and health professionals identify and address the root causes of violence, like radicalism and mental illness.

“Of course, like many of his other actions, President Obama’s latest abuse of power will be challenged by Congress and in the federal court system.”

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