Protecting our constitutional right to keep and bear arms requires constant vigilance (OPINION)

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Gun owners in America know they can never rest easy. That’s because Americans’ constitutional right to keep and bear arms is always under fire from the political left and their allies in the White House, Congress and the media.

It doesn’t take much to prompt another assault on our Second Amendment Rights. All it requires is one high-profile case involving a criminal and a firearm, and there’s no shortage of liberal legislators and pundits willing to tar law-abiding gun owners with the same brush and call for gun control.

In that never-ending war, I have found it better to be proactive than reactive. It is better to take the legislative initiative rather than wait for the next incursion from the anti-gun crowd before taking action. That is why I have spearheaded many important initiatives over the years to uphold our right to bear arms.

In October, for example, Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) and I introduced the Firearms Interstate Commerce Reform Act, which brings gun laws into the 21st century by allowing the interstate sale of firearms and getting rid of antiquated and unnecessary restrictions on interstate firearms transactions that hurt business and jobs.

Specifically, the legislation would remove a number of restrictions from the Gun Control Act of 1968, which only allows dealers to sell rifles or shotguns to residents of a different state subject to a tedious series of conditions. These restrictions are aimed at stopping buyers from evading background checks.

Since 1998, however, all people buying firearms from dealers in the U.S. are subject to a sophisticated computer background check under the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System, which is much more advanced and renders the restrictions in the 1968 law obsolete. The current restrictions, unless changed, will continue to interfere with interstate commerce by hindering or preventing these sales. This bill would put a stop to that.

On another front, Sen. Jerry Moran of Kansas and I, along with 43 other senators, recently wrote President Obama and Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, to oppose ratification of the United Nations’ Arms Trade Treaty that could jeopardize our national sovereignty and restrict the rights of American gun owners.

Utahns and other Americans won’t tolerate this White House or Congress surrendering our national sovereignty to U.N. bureaucrats so they can dictate to us our liberties and freedoms. As your elected representative, I won’t tolerate it either.

While getting anything through Congress and this White House can be an uphill battle, I and other defenders of gun rights have had some notable successes in protecting the constitutional rights of our nation’s 93 million gun owners. For example, in 2009 we were able to overturn a ban that prevented passengers from bringing unloaded guns on Amtrak trains. Another victory that year was our Senate vote that lifted the ban on people carrying firearms in our national parks. There was also the United State Supreme Court decision in June 2008 to strike down a 32-year law banning handgun ownership in Washington, D.C.

Despite these hard-fought victories, the war is not won. There will be many more battles. Protecting our freedom has and always will require constant vigilance. When it comes to the Second Amendment, the defense can never afford to rest.

Be assured, this defender won’t.

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  • Shawn November 4, 2011 at 2:51 pm

    All gun control will do is give the Criminals the Control. They don’t care what the law is that why they are Criminals.

  • Mmmmmm November 5, 2011 at 4:51 am

    And let’s not let the fact that Marxists are driving these and other efforts because in the end this is really about taking the country ove. But no one will actually say it except Beck. The only one.

  • SGCB November 5, 2011 at 2:54 pm

    I thank Senator Hatch for his firm defence of the Second Amendment. I hope that he and other defenders of freedom on the Senate Judiciary Committee thoroughly question AG Holder on November 8, 2011, about Fast and Furious.

  • James A. Farmer November 5, 2011 at 3:36 pm

    The war on honest American gun owners commenced in 1968 during the administration of our worse
    ever president in American history: Lyndon B. Johnson (LBJ)! Johnson and his rotten socialist lieutenenant in the U.S. Senate the late Thomas Dodd (D) perpetrated and framed the 1968 Federal
    Gun Control Act. What can the honest free thinking autonomous American gun owner, vote, and civic
    minded citzen do today? Not just to protect the Second Amendment, but all our sacred freedoms from
    big government, the abusive nanny state, and socialists? They collectively can become informed, active,
    and empowered by accessing the web-sites of The John Birch Society ( and JPFO, Inc.
    (, respectively. Also, Gun Owners of America ( Don’t trust the establishment news media, elitist politicians, academia, and any of their ilk! The latter don’t have the
    best interests of this republic in mind.

  • Stu Strickler November 7, 2011 at 8:15 am

    Thank you Senator Hatch for standing up and supporting the US Constitution. There are those who would try to steal our firearms if given the chance. We can not and will not let this happen! If you value your God given right to own the firearm of your choice and carry it for self protection, be very careful how you vote in 2012!

  • Ron November 7, 2011 at 8:22 am

    Join hte NRA. If not for the NRA we would have lost this battle long ago! Ask the anti-gun crowd they will tell you ! Call 877-NRA-2000.

  • Dewmiester November 7, 2011 at 8:46 am

    I own and carry a hand gun legally. AND if needed I will use it in defence of myself, family or another. THIS is why Japan did not attack US soil – they knew that most American house holds had guns and were willing to fight back.

  • val November 7, 2011 at 9:23 am

    I am grateful to all who fight for our right to bear arms. I would also like to remind all that our right to vote is necessary to exercise if we are to maintain our rights in this nanny society. Please. Vote!

  • Firefly November 7, 2011 at 11:23 am

    Although I think it is time for you Sen. Hatch to retire, I applaud your efforts in support of our 2nd. Ammendment rights. You must keep fighting the U.N. Small Arms Treaty, and above all, you need to support the National Reciprocity CCW bill currently going before the House and then on to the Senate for passage. Its passage will go along way for law abiding CCW holders to continue to protect their families and themselves on a National level.

  • LENNY WORTH November 7, 2011 at 2:29 pm

    I do not own a firearm because I choose not to, but I am an American
    and believe the 2nd Ammendment should be respected.

  • Cuphtr November 7, 2011 at 4:16 pm

    Firearms Interstate Commerce Reform Act,

    Someone explain that, please.

    We should now be allowed to buy firearms and ammo ONLINE from any location in any location. I should be able to buy a firearm in Versailles Kentucky from Chicago Illinois (UPS or FEDEX).

  • Cuphtr November 7, 2011 at 4:17 pm

    Let’s eliminate the FFL roadblock. With NICS we don’t need licensed dealers.

  • John Reif November 7, 2011 at 5:24 pm

    I too have a Concealed and Carry from Florida and Utha. I teach Concealed and Carry classes through the N.R.A. I live in Illiinois and hate the way we are treated with the gun laws.

    John Reif
    R.R. 3 Box 230A
    Carrollton, Illinois 62016

    e-mail [email protected]

  • Blaine November 7, 2011 at 5:26 pm

    The Domestic Violence Offender Gun Ban, commonly referred to as the “Lautenberg Amendment” to the Gun Control Act of 1968) prohibits possession of a firearm or ammunition by persons convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence or who are under a restraining order for domestic abuse.

    Of course, I condemn domestic violence and I support appropriate punishment for those who are convicted of such a cowardly crime.

    However, the “Lautenberg Amendment” violates Article 1, Section 9 of the US Constitution (“No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed.”) in that it retroactively punishes non-felons for relatively minor crimes committed prior to enactment of the Lautenberg bill.

    Congress is specifically restricted from regulating the use and ownership of firearms by the Second Amendment. There is no loophole for congress to restrict guns for those convicted of domestic violence or any other crime.

    The prohibition against the free exercise of a constitutionally-enumerated right is an extreme (cruel and unusual) punishment for a misdemeanor. If a crime is so severe as to warrant the termination or suspension of a constitutionally enumerated right, it certainly should be severe enough to warrant a felony conviction.

    The “Lautenberg Amendment” is only a few words of many thousands of pages of federal law, regulation, and policy which are outside the authority given to the central government through the Constitution.

    As an elected official of the United States, Senator Hatch took an oath to “….support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same…..” By voting for the Lautenberg Amendment (and most other legislation) he violated that oath.

    I have repeatedly asked Senator Hatch what he is doing to undo the damage he did in 1996 when he voted for the “Lautenberg Amendment”.

    So far, Senator Hatch has not answered that simple question. Until he does, I doubt his sincerity regarding the Second Amendment in particular, and the Constitution in general.

  • Firefly November 8, 2011 at 11:19 am

    By the way, how many of you are aware that Obama, by Executive Order, made it illegal to own a firearm if you also possess a “medical marijuana” card ? Research it, its not too difficult. Just thought some of you might want to know…

  • bluedog November 9, 2011 at 1:23 am

    started police work in1963. I have been VERY in terested in so called gun control from that day fourth. I have never seen nor heard of the things that are being said today on rhe street and where ever a person goes. *0% of the people are talking of a civil war and that scares the hell out of me. What in the name of God is going on in thje USA? We need to clean house in D.C. then mabe they will get the point. Senatoe Merkley of Oregon wrote me and stated why he was infavor of more gun control. Why For the protection of our children. When I asked what about the protection of the Mexican children where the guns went He would not answer. Now how do you think I will vote in the next election? If this man doesnt care for the Mexican children then he cant care for my grandchildren even if they are white. You see children are children regardless of color. Just my thought.

  • Vernal December 31, 2011 at 11:19 am

    Let’s face it, Orrin has jumped the shark completely. I really don’t think he is all there. Why else would he duck out on some debates scheduled for next week with a few other candidates? I hope we make the right choice and help this nice man retire after being back in DC 36 years. We don’t want Utah’s version of Strom Thurmond.

  • Constitutionman January 17, 2012 at 3:00 pm

    For all of your information, it is not our constitutional right to bear arms. If you have ever read the American constitution, you will realize that the second amendment to the constitution reads, “[We have the right to a] (w)ell 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”. Since it is never specifically sated that the people shall have the right to bear arms at any time, it has always been up to speculation. Since we have accepted one common speculation as the meaning of this amendment, I will speculate for the opposing side. This amendment actually means that, when it is necessary to the security of a free State (such as in the case of English invaders attempting to reclaim their American Colonies), the citizens of the United States will be provided with the right to bear arms. If you remember learning this in high school, the constitution was written not so long after the American war for independence. I hope this will help you think before you use the, it is our constitutional right argument” again.

  • Dan January 24, 2012 at 11:54 pm

    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

    It sounds like our fore fathers were talking about the citizens. Get your facts right.

  • Firefly January 26, 2012 at 12:16 pm

    Well said Dan, can’t get any clearer than that.

  • ron January 27, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    The NRA and its minions have mastered the slippery slope argument: any reasonable restrictions we might make on an individual’s “right” (not so sure about that, but I’ll let it go) to own firearms or, indeed, any munitions that he or she might want to own, will lead to wholesale confiscation and imprisonment in concentration camps. NONSENSE! I’m all for allowing the use of firearms for hunting, target-shooting and even personal protection, but for God’s sake, the situation we have with firearms available on the streets of our cities practically just for the asking is absurd. If the NRA wants support, let’s hear some reasonable proposals (starting with some restrictions on automatic weapons, perhaps).

  • Bryan Hyde January 28, 2012 at 8:41 am

    The right to keep and bear arms is an extension of the natural right to defend one’s life. Even animals will fight to survive when their lives are threatened. The right to self-protection is based in natural law. That means that this right exists independent of government. The Second Amendment was included in the Constitution to emphatically prohibit those with a controlling nature from infringing upon our right of self defense. Clearly, this bugs the folks who wish to control others.

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