By Jeb Bush
Barack Obama has proved again why he will go down as one of the most liberal and divisive presidents in the history of our nation. Obama's declaration that he will impose his gun control agenda by executive order shows an utter disregard for the Second Amendment as well as the proper constitutional process for making laws in our nation.
Liberals like Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton seize on every opportunity to advance a gun-grabbing agenda. After the ISIS-inspired terrorist attack in San Bernardino, Obama and Clinton called for sweeping gun control provisions that would trample on the Second Amendment. Recognizing that there is no chance to push their agenda through Congress, where even less liberal Democrats oppose their gun control policies, Obama has once again turned to unlawful executive orders to bypass Congress. Similar to his executive orders to grant legal status to millions of immigrants here illegally without securing the border or the support of Congress, Obama is now trying to do an end-run on the Second Amendment.
When I am president of the United States, I will repeal Obama's anti-gun executive orders on Day One of my administration. I will oppose legislative actions that impose unnecessary burdens on law-abiding gun owners, and I will nominate and fight for conservative judges who have a deep respect for the Constitution and the Second Amendment. With the next president possibly having the opportunity to nominate as many as four justices to the Supreme Court, the stakes in this election couldn't be higher for gun owners. Hillary Clinton will surely stack the federal judiciary with liberal judges who will chip away at the Second Amendment. We cannot give her that opportunity.
The question facing Republican voters is who is the best candidate to take the fight to Hillary Clinton. No one has a stronger track record of standing up for gun owners and winning than I do. I am a lifetime member of the National Rifle Association (NRA) and as governor of Florida I passed several pro-Second Amendment pieces of legislation that made our state a national model for protecting and advancing gun rights. We were the first state to pass Stand Your Ground to enable citizens to defend themselves from attackers outside their homes. We also expanded concealed carry permits and provided reciprocity to gun owners in other states so they could carry while visiting Florida. As a result of our efforts to fortify Second Amendment rights of our citizens, Florida today has more concealed carry permit holders than any other state. I am proud of the fact that I earned an A+ rating from the NRA.
I am equally proud of the fact that we proved in Florida that reducing gun violence and crime and respecting the Second Amendment can go hand-in-hand. Early in my first term as governor, I signed a law that imposed tough mandatory minimum sentences on felons who used guns in their crimes. The legislation, which was called 10-20-Life, put gun felons behind bars for 10 years if they brandished a firearm in the commission of a crime; 20 years if they shot the weapon; and life in prison if they shot and injured or killed another person. Together with other tough on crime strategies, 10-20-Life helped reduce gun violence in Florida by nearly 20 percent while bringing our overall crime rates down to a 35-year low.
With radical Islamic terrorist organizations like ISIS using mass shootings like the ones in San Bernardino and Paris to wage jihad against America and our allies, I believe it is more important than ever to stand strong in defense of gun rights.
The Second Amendment is the original homeland security act. Rather than taking guns out of the hands of law-abiding citizens as Obama and Clinton would like to do, we should focus on keeping guns out of the hands of the terrorists who want to kill innocent Americans. My commitment to responsible gun owners is clear. As president of the United States, I will defend the Second Amendment, always.