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Public Statements

National Right-To-Carry Reciprocity Act of 2011

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. WOODALL. I thank the gentleman for yielding.

I love the Second Amendment. I got my first gun from Santa Claus when I was 6 years old. The first handgun I ever fired wasn't my dad's or my uncle's or my grandfather's--it was my mother's. I got my first concealed-carry application filled out as a freshman in law school. I lived in a bad neighborhood and needed it for self protection. I've had it for the last 20 years. I love the Second Amendment.

But if the Second Amendment protects my rights to carry my concealed weapon from State to State to State, I don't need another Federal law that says, yeah, I really mean it. It's already protected. If the Second Amendment doesn't protect my right to carry a concealed weapon from State to State to State, then the Ninth and 10th Amendments leave that responsibility to individuals and the States to regulate on their own.

I came to Congress to protect freedom. I don't believe the Second Amendment was put in the Bill of Rights to allow me to shoot targets. I don't believe the Second Amendment was put in the Bill of Rights to allow me to hunt for deer and turkey. I think the Second Amendment was put in the Bill of Rights so that I could defend my freedom against an overbearing Federal Government.

I don't want the Federal Government in any issue of the law where the Constitution does not require it.

And it does not require it here.

Don't tell me it's an Interstate Commerce Clause issue; we dismiss that on my side of the aisle regularly. Don't tell me it's necessary and proper; we dismiss that on our side of the aisle regularly. And don't tell me it's full faith and credit because we dismiss that on our side of the aisle regularly.

The temptation to legislate is great. The temptation is great. I absolutely believe in the intent of this legislation. I want the right to carry from coast to coast. Georgia has already orchestrated reciprocity agreements with 25 States. We've got 24 more to go. The Second Amendment exists so that we can keep and bear arms to defend ourselves against government, no matter how well-intended. Rather than arms, I ask my colleagues to use their voting cards today to defend us against the overreach of the Federal Government, no matter how well-intended.

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Mr. WOODALL. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

The amendment I have introduced today, because I have such appreciation for the goal of H.R. 822, says: Understanding what we are trying to get is reciprocity across the Nation for all of those States and for all of those citizens that have already labored in the vineyards to achieve reciprocity, let's leave those State agreements in place. If we must take more Federal responsibility, let's not take it from those areas where the States are working, where the process is working. If you live in my next-door neighbor State, in Alabama, you already recognize 22 other States' permits; in Georgia, we recognize 23; in Florida, to our south, 33. The system is working today. Legislatures are working out these agreements today. If we must expand the size and scope of the Federal reach in the gun law legislation, let's not trample on those agreements that already exist to achieve this goal that so many share.

I absolutely support the goal of H.R. 822, which is to ensure that all Americans have concealed-carry reciprocity across the Nation. That is already happening today, Mr. Chairman, through State legislatures, through State attorneys general, through State Governors negotiating these agreements. My amendment would leave those agreements in place and preserve the rights of States to continue to legislate and regulate in this area.

I reserve the balance of my time.

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Mr. WOODALL. Mr. Chairman, in closing, I thank the chairman of the committee for his work on these issues. I agree with so much of what he had to say, that it is absolutely true that the merit of this legislation is that it eliminates the patchwork of reciprocity agreements that go on across this country. And the price we pay for eliminating that patchwork is trampling upon the work of the States.

Now, I'm a freshman in this House, Mr. Chairman, and I think small government conservatives in previous Congresses have lost their way, particularly during the Bush administration. They went along with a huge expansion of government regulation, with the very best of intentions. They went along with the huge expansion of the size of government, with the very best of intentions. They increased the regulatory burden of the Federal Government, with the very best of intentions.

And this bill today is brought with the very best of intentions. But when previous Congresses have gone along with the very best of intentions, personal freedom and liberty have been eroded, even with the very best of intentions.

Mr. Chairman, the only thing that happens if the Woodall amendment passes today is that agreements that already exist for reciprocity, and any future agreements made for reciprocity, will be held supreme over a unified Federal standard. I ask my colleagues, my Republican colleagues and my Democratic colleagues, isn't it worth it? Isn't sacrificing a uniform framework worth it to protect the rights of State legislatures and the work of citizens across this country that they have put in to protect, preserve, and promote Second Amendment rights across this Nation.

I yield back the balance of my time.

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