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Statement of Rep. Mark Udall on the argument before the Supreme Court of the United States of Heller v. District of Columbia

Statement

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

"This is an important and historic case regarding the interpretation of the Constitutional reach of the Second Amendment. After hearing oral arguments today, the Supreme Court of the United States will be deciding on the core meaning of the Second Amendment and whether it protects an individual right or a "collective" right intended to preserve the ability of the States to maintain their militias.

"I strongly believe that the Second Amendment protects the rights of law-abiding Americans to own firearms for hunting, target shooting, self-defense or any other lawful purpose, which I think the overwhelming majority of the American people - both those who own firearms and those who do not - recognize is a freedom both unique and fundamental in this country.

"So, I agreed with the holding of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in Parker v. District of Columbia, that the Constitution's Second Amendment protects the rights of individuals to keep and bear arms. And I think the Court of Appeals' decision striking down several gun laws passed by the D.C. City Council in that case was rightly decided and persuasively reasoned with regard to that fundamental point. Indeed, when the Court of Appeals issued its decision I indicated at the time that the decision would necessarily change the way Congress approached Second Amendment rights - and the balance between respect for locally-based regulation in the District of Columbia and the rights of D.C. gun owners. In that regard, I appreciate the fact that the federal courts have finally given clearer direction and am hopeful that the Supreme Court will further describe the breadth of this important part of our Constitution's Bill of Rights.

"While I hope that the Supreme Court will affirm this key point, I think it is also important that the Court heed the warning of the Solicitor General of the United States that its decision should not "cast doubt on the constitutionality of existing federal legislation," including restrictions on possession of firearms by convicted criminals, fugitives from justice, illegal immigrants, and people suffering from mental disorders. I think we all share the goals of those restrictions, and I believe that affirming this point and defining the Second Amendment as protecting an individual right should not be mutually exclusive."


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