By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
On Wednesday, U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R) from Alabama joined conservative filibuster efforts on the floor of the Senate to oppose President Barack H. Obama and Senator Dianne Feinstein’s (D) from California unpopular gun control legislation. President Obama has spent months attempting to use the slayings of first graders and their teachers in Newtown Connecticut to convince legislators to further limit American citizens’ Second Amendment rights.
Sen. Shelby said on the floor of the U.S. Senate, “Mr. President, I rise to defend the Second Amendment to our Constitution. Mr. President, recent mass killings, such as those in Connecticut and Colorado, are the impetus for the gun control legislation before the Senate. I mourn the victims of these senseless acts of violence carried out by seriously disturbed individuals. Unfortunately, Mr. President, this legislation would do nothing to prevent such tragedies going forward. The harsh but unavoidable fact is that no amount of government intervention can prevent irrational people from doing terrible things. Therefore, we should not react to these tragedies in an irrational manner that would erode a fundamental right of every citizen.”
Alabama Republican Party Chairman Bill Armistead said afterwards, “I was very pleased to see there are still a few leaders in Washington who are willing to stand up for our 2nd Amendment rights. The Liberal Democrats have tried for years to disarm law-abiding American citizens, but time and time again we have stood our ground and demanded protection of our rights.” “This bill would have unfairly restricted the right to own a firearm for private citizens and limited the private sale or transfer of personal firearms. This is just another example of the government trying to overreach their Constitutional boundaries and turn this country into a ‘police state.’”
Sen. Shelby said, “The Second Amendment states unambiguously: “the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” It makes plain to criminals that their targets have the right to defend themselves, their families, and their property. Since criminals do not follow the law, new restrictions will hinder only the law-abiding among us. And make no mistake, M. President, this is just the first assault on the Second Amendment. More background checks today, gun registration tomorrow. Who knows what will follow after that. Congress should reject it all now.”
Congresswoman Martha Roby (R) from Montgomery said on Facebook, “I applaud Alabama Senators Jeff Sessions and Richard Shelby for standing against the latest attempt to erode our Second Amendment rights. The U.S. Constitution is the supreme law of the land and our most important governing code. The Second Amendment clearly recognizes an individual’s right to own a firearm, and, as a gun owner myself, I strongly value this fundamental American right. I believe it is our duty to ensure our rights and liberties are maintained for the next generation. I have fought efforts to erode our Second Amendment rights in the past, and rest assured I will continue to fight those efforts now and in the future.”
Sen. Shelby told his fellow Senators that rising gun ownership in recent years has actually corresponded to decreasing crime rates and that studies show there is no correlation between the now-expired assault weapons ban and the decrease in crime rates. Shelby said, “This so-called compromise amendment would do nothing but compromise our Second Amendment rights.” Shelby said that the amendment would allow health care providers to place a patient in the National Instant Criminal Background Check database violating patients’ privacy and removing their Second Amendment rights based on subjective judgments and without any clear guidelines or due process, likely without the patient even being informed of their doctor’s decision to inform on them. Shelby warned that this would only lead to more Americans avoiding mental health services for fear that they would lose their constitutional rights.
Chairman Armistead said, “There is no need for the government to know our every move, including when we sell our gun collection. Those are reasons why we must stop the Democrats and their ‘big government’ ideology. Our freedoms are at risk and America could change forever if we continue to allow this kind of infringement upon our rights. I am confident that Republican leaders will continue to protect our Constitutional rights.”
Sen. Shelby said, “This legislation is just the first step. It would lay the groundwork for even more draconian and ineffective gun control measures. As one of the Justice Department’s leading crime researchers has stated, the government’s ability to implement near universal background checks would rely at least in part on “requiring gun registration.” “Mr/. President, there are as many guns in this country as there are people, according to some estimates. That’s more than 300 million. The bureaucracy already cannot track all of the people illegally residing in this country. Why, then, would anyone believe that the bureaucracy could track all of the guns illegally possessed in this country?”
Sen. Shelby said that the legislation would cost taxpayers an estimated $100 million and wondered whether gun owners would be subject to even more fees or taxes simply to exercise their Second Amendment rights. Shelby said that instead of gun control the government should increase penalties on people who commit violent crimes, while addressing the deficiencies in our mental health system, accepting that government can not prevent all bad things, and looking at the impact of violence in entertainment (video games, music, TV, and movies) on violent crime in the nation.
Shelby said, “Common sense says that gloried violence can distort impressionable minds – particularly those afflicted with mental illness. Still, many in Hollywood defend the First Amendment to the Constitution with the same wild-eyed zeal that they trash the Second.”
Sen. Shelby said, “My constituents are deeply concerned about any infringement of their Second Amendment rights.” “Mr. President, this is a legislative misfire. I have outlined what I believe would constitute a clear-eyed response to the situation at hand. I will continue to vigorously oppose gun control legislation. I will continue to stand firm in defense of the Second Amendment.”
Efforts to end the filibuster by Shelby and the other pro-Second Amendment Senators came six votes short of the 60 needed to expand background checks. Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s ban on citizens owning so-called assault weapons was defeated by a margin of 60 to 40. A controversial effort to limit the size of gun magazines also went down by a similarly large margin. This effectively ended President Obama’s legislative efforts to limit Americans Second Amendment rights.
An angry Obama later said, “The fact is most of these senators could not offer any good reason why we wouldn’t want to make it harder for criminals and those with severe mental illnesses to buy a gun. There were no coherent arguments as to why we wouldn’t do this. It came down to politics — the worry that that vocal minority of gun owners would come after them in future elections.”