The Constitution guarantees the right of individual, law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms. I am committed to protecting the Second Amendment and will fight any attempts to weaken that fundamental right. Given recent mass shootings, we must carefully examine current federal gun laws designed to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally unstable and ensure they are being properly enforced. But as a gun owner and staunch defender of the Second Amendment, I will not support measures that infringe on Americans’ constitutionally-protected rights.
I am a proud cosponsor of H.R. 528, the Recreational Fishing and Hunting Heritage and Opportunities Act, which will help to preserve America’s sporting, hunting and fishing heritage. It promotes economic and job growth through recreational sporting activities and removes regulations and roadblocks that could block or limit access to hunting and fishing on federal lands.
Reciprocity for Concealed Carry Permits
On December 22, 2015, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring announced that the Commonwealth of Virginia would stop honoring concealed carry permits from 25 states, including Tennessee. This is absurd, especially for the law-abiding Tennesseans who cross into Virginia often for work or other reasons. On January 19, 2016, Virginia Congressman Morgan Griffith and I held a press conference in Bristol to highlight the impacts of this misguided and foolish decision. I strongly believe that your Second Amendment right doesn’t stop at a state line, and Tennesseans with valid concealed carry permits ought to have the right to carry their firearms across state lines.
I was pleased Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe reversed the Attorney General’s decision. I believe Congress must act to make sure that the Second Amendment protects all responsible, law-abiding adults, regardless of which state they are in. This is why I have H.R. 986, the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, which would allow individuals who possess concealed carry permits in their home state to carry in any other state that does not prohibit concealed carry.
I am a concealed carry permit holder myself, and you can rest assured I will continue to speak out against and oppose ridiculous measures like the one moving forward in Virginia.
In January, President Obama formally announced his plan to unilaterally expand gun control laws. Unsurprisingly, the president has again overstepped the boundaries and power of his office. While we all want fewer senseless acts of violence to occur in our communities, the president is choosing to punish lawful gun owners and restrict their Second Amendment rights rather than address the actual causes of mass murders - such as the need for improved mental health care and the growing threat of terrorism. I am adamantly opposed to these executive actions and have done everything in my power to stop the president from continuing his war on the Constitutional rights of American citizens.
One of the most concerning parts of the executive orders is the Social Security Administration’s ability to add a person’s name and parts of their personal and mental health records to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) without proper due process. It is estimated that this change could allow the records of approximately 75,000 people each year to be submitted to NICS without any mechanism to appeal until after their names have already been added.
This is wholly unacceptable, which is why I am a proud cosponsor of H.R. 3126. This legislation was introduced by my colleague Dr. Ralph Abraham (R-LA) and would prohibit the Commissioner of Social Security from furnishing the name of any individual in a report to NICS unless a Federal court has determined the individual should not be allowed to purchase a firearm because of their mental capacity. We can all agree someone who has severe mental problems should not be allowed to have a gun, but in this country we are entitled to due process. No American citizen should be stripped of their rights without their day in court, and I will continue to support commonsense legislation like H.R. 3126.