June 9, 2023

Senator Ricketts’ Weekly Column: Defending the Second Amendment

June 9, 2023

In my first speech on the U.S. Senate floor, I promised Nebraskans I would reject every effort to restrict our liberties and always fight for the freedoms of the Nebraskans I serve. There are few freedoms more important than those outlined in our U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights. Earlier this week, I was proud to follow through on that commitment by fighting a Biden administration attack on Nebraskan’s Second Amendment rights.

Our Second Amendment is rooted in the truth that individuals have an inherent right to defend not just themselves, but also their families and property. Our Founding Fathers recognized that self-defense is a natural and unalienable right, not a privilege given by government. In fact, the right to keep and bear arms is a fundamental part of individual liberty and, like all of our other rights, we have a duty to exercise those rights responsibly.

When I was governor, we worked tirelessly to safeguard our Second Amendment rights in Nebraska. I signed bills to protect the identities of gun owners with concealed carry permits and provide them better notification and information regarding permit renewals. We created an online process to renew, update, or replace a Concealed Handgun Permit, saving gun owners across the state valuable time. Additionally, I signed an order declaring Nebraska a Second Amendment Sanctuary State, promising to stand up to federal overreach and attempts to regulate our rights. While the fight to protect our rights is never over, I am grateful that Nebraska continues to be a state that cherishes our first freedoms.

As U.S. Senator, I have continued to defend the rights of law-abiding gun owners. I’ve co-sponsored Senator John Cornyn’s (R-TX) Constitutional Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2023 to ensure Nebraskan’s concealed-carry rights remain protected when they cross state lines. I’m also supporting Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith’s (R-MS) Gun-owner Registration Information Protection (GRIP) Act. With anti-gun proposals on the rise in Democrat-led cities and states, the GRIP Act would prohibit federal funding to maintain gun registries. My fear is these kinds of registries could be weaponized in the future to target people who at the time owned or purchased firearms legally.

In addition to getting laws on the books to protect our rights, I’m also fighting the Biden administration’s bureaucratic attacks on the Second Amendment. I recently co-sponsored a Congressional Review Act resolution led by Senator John Kennedy (R-LA) that would block enforcement of an anti-Second Amendment pistol brace rule issued by President Biden’s Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) earlier this year. For a decade, ATF approved of pistol braces that allowed disabled veterans and other Americans to handle a firearm more safely. Due to these past approvals, millions of Americans, including many disabled veterans across Nebraska, have purchased these braces. Now, the Biden administration has decided to issue a rule that reclassifies pistols as short-barreled rifles if they have a stabilizing brace attachment. This classification change would threaten otherwise lawful gun owners with up to a decade in jail and huge fines if they fail to register, return, or remove their already approved pistol brace. Bureaucrats have no business burdening Americans’ constitutional rights with such regulatory whiplash. While a federal judge issued a ruling temporarily blocking the rule, Congressional action would block it permanently.

Our right to keep and bear arms is protected in our Bill of Rights. I will not stand by and let the Biden administration’s attacks on law-abiding gun owners go unchallenged. The oath I swore to defend the Constitution of the United States demands it. Nebraskans respect our constitutional rights and exercise them responsibly. I will continue to oppose any attempt to erode or dismantle our cherished freedoms.

Along with Senator Fischer and the rest of my colleagues in the Nebraska delegation, my team and I are here to serve you. Contact my team and I anytime by phone at 202-224-4224 or on my website at www.ricketts.senate.gov/contact. I am honored to serve our great state and will continue to work to protect the Good Life from Washington overreach.