OMNIBUS PUBLIC LAND MANAGEMENT ACT OF 2009 -- (House of Representatives - March 25, 2009)
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Mr. BROUN of Georgia. As Members of Congress, we have taken an oath to uphold the U.S. Constitution. Today's vote on the omnibus lands bill is a vote on the right to own private property and on the second amendment right of law-abiding citizens to have and use firearms. The fifth amendment concludes with these words ``nor be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation.''
Our Nation is facing an economic crisis today. Yet Democrats are forcing this Chamber to rush through a bill that will increase government spending by as much as $10 billion. The Federal Government already owns over 650 million acres of land that they can't take care of. The National Park Service alone faces a backlog of $9 billion worth of projects that need to be funded.
If S. 22 passes, there will be more wilderness areas in the United States than the total developed land, 109-plus million acres versus 108.1 million acres. We should not be permanently locking up tens of millions of acres of the people's land.
The second amendment rights of law-abiding citizens to have firearms and use firearms are also in danger today. The second amendment to the U.S. Constitution declares that ``a well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.'' Last week, Democratic leaders in the House and the Senate added the Altmire amendment to the omnibus lands bill to prevent the Federal Government from banning hunting and fishing on certain types of Federal land.
At the time this amendment was added, the right of Americans to carry concealed firearms on park lands and wildlife refuges, in accordance with State law, was already recognized in Federal regulations. However, last Thursday, a U.S. District Court judge single-handedly decided to block this right. And it was an unconstitutional decision by this judge. Now there is a giant hole in the current Altmire language, and Congress should fix it. Congress must not allow one Federal judge to single-handedly deny Americans their second amendment rights on Federal lands.
My colleagues Mr. Hastings and Mr. Bishop introduced an amendment to this bill that would write into law the very protections struck down by this one Federal judge. Unfortunately, Democratic leadership would not allow a vote on this amendment that would repair the massive void in the current Altmire language. The omnibus lands bill was the best place to fix what this one Federal judge in Washington, D.C., has done, but we won't even be allowed a vote today.
It is not the role of the Federal Government to hoard massive amounts of land. And it is not the role to take away law-abiding citizens' second amendment rights.
Protect the fifth amendment. Protect the second amendment. Vote ``no'' on S. 22.
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