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Opinion | Give them an inch, they’ll take your rights

Last week, I had the great experience to join my colleagues in a little friendly competition at the Congressional Clays Competition hosted by the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus. It was great to express our Second Amendment rights with some healthy rivalry, but it reminded me of those in this country who cannot express this right freely.

Our Founding Fathers enshrined the right to keep and bear arms in our nation’s Constitution. Throughout our history, we have seen the importance of the Second Amendment for people to make a living, to provide for their families and to protect their life and liberty.

Unfortunately, there are those in the United States who want to limit our Constitutional rights and infringe upon our freedoms. One place in particular trying to restrict the rights of gun owners to defend themselves is the City of New York. Based on their unconstitutional regulations, a court case, N.Y. State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. City of New York, has been underway to right this egregious wrong. After several appeals, this case will determine if New York’s ban on transporting a handgun to a home or shooting range outside city limits is constitutional.

When I heard this case was heading to the Supreme Court, I knew something had to be done. That is why I led 120 of my House colleagues in filing an amicus brief before the court in support of the right to bear arms. An amicus brief, known as a “friend of the court” brief, is filed by parties not in a case to provide the court with information, expertise or insight on an issue.

Our Constitution is clear: the right to bear arms shall not be infringed. This case will provide the Supreme Court the first significant Second Amendment case in nearly ten years. Importantly, this will be the first time President Donald Trump’s nominees, justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, will get a chance to rule on the Constitutional right to keep and bear arms for protection and sport.

It is vital the court use this opportunity to rein in out of control liberal legislatures and judges who are trying to destroy the Second Amendment rights of Americans.

As a gun-owner and avid hunter, I know how important it is for folks to express their rights. Many people I have heard from in Alabama over the years feel the same way. It seems far-left Democrats throughout the nation have lost touch with our founding principles many still hold dear.

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Some people might say that this is only a New York issue that the Supreme Court should stay out of. But, when it comes to our Constitutional rights, it only takes an inch for a mile-wide divide to start. It doesn’t make sense that people of New York be held to a different standard than the people of Alabama, New Mexico or Montana.

We must be constantly vigilant against such encroachments. This is a matter of privacy, telling you what you can and cannot carry in your own vehicle, and this is a matter of the sanctity of one of the oldest freedoms we know as Americans.

The Second Amendment enshrines an individual and fundamental right of citizens to protect themselves from violence and tyranny. Courts should block attempts to restrict those rights based on disingenuous arguments like those made by the City of New York. My colleagues and I were proud to call on the Supreme Court to uphold the Constitution and protect the rights of American citizens to own firearms.

No matter what, I will continue to be a strong advocate for gun owners throughout the United States, standing up to out-of-touch Democrats and fighting for our rights.

Bradley Byrne is the president and CEO of the Mobile Chamber of Commerce and a former Republican congressman who represented Alabama's 1st Congressional District.

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