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Accountability for Second Amendment Encroachment

Adrian Smith 3rd Dist

Since March 4, 1789, our Constitution has defined the powers of our federal government and bound the United States together. Ratified shortly thereafter, as ten amendments to the Constitution in 1791, the Bill of Rights reflects the genius of the American founders to safeguard liberty and guarantee the rights we hold dear as Americans. Through a bloody and bitter civil war, two world wars, and the threat of nuclear conflict, our Constitution, with the addition of 17 more amendments, has preserved our union longer than any other country’s governing charter in the world today.

When government actions infringe upon our rights, such as those delineated in the Second Amendment, it is essential we stand up as Americans and demand accountability to the time-tested freedoms protected by the Constitution.

In Congress I have consistently taken action to rein in Biden administration policies threatening the rights of American gun owners and defend our Second Amendment rights in a number of ways. Most recently, I supported a measure in the recent FY24 appropriations package to stop the Department of Veterans Affairs from automatically sending information on veterans, who seek assistance managing their VA benefits from a fiduciary, to the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check (NICS) system, without a judge's consent. Placing an individual on NICS blocks them from purchasing firearms, violating the due process rights of law-abiding veterans. I am pleased this language passed the Senate as well and was signed into law.

Additionally, the same appropriations package cut Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) funding by 7 percent. Under the Biden administration, Second Amendment rights have been under attack by severe overreach by the ATF.

In August 2023, ATF proposed a rule which would require universal background checks for gun sales even between private citizens. This egregious overreach would require individual Americans to obtain a federal firearms license, conduct a background check, and complete gun registration paperwork to sell even a single firearm. I am an original cosponsor of the Stopping Unconstitutional Background Checks Act, which would block any enforcement of this unworkable intrusion by the federal government.

Among its many unjust actions, the ATF has also applied abusive, unprecedented pressure on authorized Federal Firearm Licensees for minor typos and unintentional clerical errors. For small and mid-sized gun stores, doing everything they can to comply with federal law and keep guns out of the hands of criminals, this can be crippling. To fight back, I cosponsor legislation, the Reining in Federal Licensing Enforcement (RIFLE) Act, to provide recourse through an appeals process, for those impacted by ATF’s mistreatment.

I am also a cosponsor of the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, which would eliminate confusion among law enforcement and gun owners over which states recognize permits to carry concealed firearms. Nebraska passed legislation in 2023 allowing concealed carry, and many states already practice reciprocity. Constitutional rights don’t stop at state lines, and Americans who follow the law should not have to worry whether their right to bear arms applies as they travel throughout our country.

Whether due to legal loopholes or overregulation, erosion of our Second Amendment rights is unacceptable. I will always stand up for the rights of American gun owners and against unconstitutional policies which only stand to inhibit law-abiding Americans.