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Graham Leads Senate Judiciary Committee Republicans On Introducing Bill To Codify Second Amendment Rights For Law Abiding Citizens

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today introduced the Respect for the Second Amendment Act.

The legislation is cosponsored U.S. Senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Josh Hawley (R-Missouri), Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), John Kennedy (R-Louisiana), Thom Tillis (R-North Carolina) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee) – every Republican member on the Senate Judiciary Committee. 

Last year’s Supreme Court decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen found that a New York state law restricting concealed carry of firearms was unconstitutional. In light of the decision, this legislation seeks to make permanent Second Amendment rights afforded to law abiding Americans, and prevent a future Supreme Court from going back on this decision.

“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. 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 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. 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,” said Senator Graham.

“It’s important that we continue to protect the Second Amendment rights of all law-abiding Americans through legislation like this. 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,” said Senator Grassley.

“Law-abiding Americans should not be subjected to arbitrary requirements and government bureaucracy when applying for a concealed carry permit,” said Senator Cornyn. “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.”

“Last year the Supreme Court verified what the Constitution makes clear, that Americans have undeniable 2nd Amendment rights that can’t be taken away, by the State of New York or anyone else. Our bill will strengthen the 2nd Amendment against future attacks and allow law-abiding citizens to challenge attempts to strip them of their rights,” said Senator Cotton.

“Congress has the ability to use its authority to guard against state overreach—and that is what this bill does. 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,” said Senator Kennedy.

“The Supreme Court’s historic decision in Bruen affirmed that the right to self-defense does not disappear at a person’s front door,” said Brian Calabrese, Managing Director for Federal Affairs for the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action. “On behalf of our millions of members, we thank Senator Graham for sponsoring legislation to reinforce Bruen in federal law.”

“NSSF appreciates Senator Graham’s leadership to ensure that the Second Amendment as the U.S. Supreme Court has interpreted it is faithfully and uniformly applied throughout our nation and at all levels of government. Your Second Amendment rights are the same whether you live in South Carolina or California,” said Lawrence G. Keane, National Sports Shooting Foundation Senior Vice President for Government and Public Affairs.

The Respect for the Second Amendment Act:

  • Recognizes the importance of Second Amendment rights.
  • Codifies Bruen into federal law, which creates a backstop to any future change from the Supreme Court.
  • Creates public and private causes for action for any harmed individual so they can file suit against any law, rule, ordinance, etc., that infringes on Second Amendment rights.
  • Levels the playing field by shifting attorney fees and costs to the government if the private lawsuit prevails, so that individuals and groups can vindicate their rights without financial burden.
  • Enables courts to strike down state and local gun control laws when they conflict with federal law.

Full text of the bill is available HERE.