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Eric Mack
16 March 2023


All 10 Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee have co-sponsored the Respect for the Second Amendment Act to codify recent Supreme Court rulings upholding the constitutional U.S. right to keep and bear arms.

"I am very pleased that all Senate Judiciary Republicans are speaking with one voice when it comes to supporting the Second Amendment rights recognized by the Supreme Court in the Heller and Bruen decisions," Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., the ranking member, wrote in a statement, while also delivering the announcement in a Thursday news conference. "Now more than ever, it is important that Congress recognize and support that the Second Amendment is an individual right and that the right to bear arms to defend oneself is an integral part of American society."

With the Democrat attacks on the Second Amendment, Senate Judiciary Republicans want to codify the recent rulings that uphold constitutional law.

"With this bill, we are ensuring that the rights affirmed by the Supreme Court are part of the federal code — and preventing a future Supreme Court from reversing this decision," Graham continued. "The Respect for the Second Amendment Act will memorialize the holdings in these landmark Supreme Court cases and provide further protection to the Second Amendment."

The Supreme Court found a New York state law restricting concealed carry was unconstitutional (New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen).

"It's important that we continue to protect the Second Amendment rights of all law-abiding Americans through legislation like this," Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, the former Senate Judiciary chairman, said in a statement. "Our history and Constitution are clear. Americans have the right to bear arms. This bill will codify and strengthen many of the court decisions from recent years affirming that right.

Also co-sponsoring the bill were: Sens. John Cornyn, R-Texas; Mike Lee, R-Utah; Ted Cruz, R-Texas; Josh Hawley, R-Mo.; Tom Cotton, R-Ark.; John Kennedy, R-La.; Thom Tillis, R-N.C.; and Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn.

"Law-abiding Americans should not be subjected to arbitrary requirements and government bureaucracy when applying for a concealed carry permit," Cornyn wrote in a statement. "This bill ensures the Second Amendment is protected and Texans can exercise their constitutional right to bear arms, and I'm proud to support it."

Ultimately, a constitutional amendment applies to all states and cannot be unwound by Democrat-ruled ones like New York, according to Cotton.

"Last year the Supreme Court verified what the Constitution makes clear, that Americans have undeniable Second Amendment rights that can't be taken away, by the State of New York or anyone else," Cotton wrote in a statement. "Our bill will strengthen the Second Amendment against future attacks and allow law-abiding citizens to challenge attempts to strip them of their rights."

While the federal judiciary can interpret laws and their application, it remains the Constitution and Congress that writes and passes law, Kennedy added.

"Congress has the ability to use its authority to guard against state overreach — and that is what this bill does," Kennedy wrote in his statement. "At a time when the constitutional right to keep and bear arms is under attack in courtrooms throughout America, we must ensure that the Supreme Court's decision about the Second Amendment is not only legal precedent but that the law preserves it forever."

Among the details in the bill:

  • Creates a backstop to any future change from the Supreme Court.
  • Allows to lawsuits "against any law, rule, ordinance, etc., that infringes on Second Amendment rights."
  • Shifts the burden of attorney fees and costs to the government if the private lawsuit wins.
  • Enables courts to strike down state and local gun control laws when they conflict with federal law.




 
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