BELLEVUE, WA â€“ A proposal by Sen. Tom Coburn to expand gun rights made sense, and Senate anti-gunners who opposed the measure should be held accountable by voters, the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms said today.
Sen. Coburnâ€™s proposal would have allowed armed private citizens to legally carry firearms on Army Corps of Engineers lands in states where carrying firearms for personal safety is already legal. The vote was 56-43, four votes shy of a required 60-vote threshold.
â€œDemocrats set that threshold,â€ noted CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb. â€œItâ€™s okay when an anti-gun minority thwarts the will of the people, but when pro gun rights senators do it, they scream bloody murder.â€
Currently, citizens may only bring firearms on to Corps lands for hunting. Other federal lands, primarily national forests and national parks, are open for carrying firearms for all kinds of reasons, including self-defense.
â€œSenator Coburn was trying to do the right thing at the right time,â€ Gottlieb said. â€œCorps lands should not be any different than other federal lands where the Second Amendment certainly should apply.
â€œHowever, anti-gunners led by Californiaâ€™s Barbara Boxer pandered their opposition on the flimsy grounds that law-abiding armed Americans create some kind of national security risk, which is ludicrous,â€ he continued. â€œBut that argument certainly shows how Sen. Boxer and her gun prohibitionist colleagues feel about citizens exercising a constitutionally-protected fundamental civil right.â€
Coburn, who serves on CCRKBAâ€™s National Advisory Council, argued that existing federal law would still protect â€œcritical infrastructureâ€ by prohibiting weapons in such areas.
â€œThe fact that 11 Democrats and one independent supported Coburnâ€™s measure shows that it has bipartisan support,â€ Gottlieb said. â€œSen. Coburn pushed through the earlier amendment allowing firearms in national parks, and this effort was a natural progression to open up more lands to legally-armed citizens. Boxer and her allies have once again demonstrated an unreasonable fear of their fellow citizens.â€