Gosar Efforts Upholding Second Amendment Passes House


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Gosar EffortsUpholding Second Amendment Passes House

Amendment Defunds Army Corps of Engineers Ban on Self-Protection on Millions of Acres of Recreational Land          

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the United States House of Representatives passed H.R. 2354, the fiscal year 2012 Energy and Water Development Appropriations Bill, which included an important second amendment rights provision pushedby Congressman Paul Gosar (AZ-01). 

Introduced by Rep. Gosar (R-AZ), who was joined by Rep. Jason Altmire (D-PA) and Rep. Bob Gibbs (R-OH), this provision will allow a citizen to carry a firearm for self-defense on millions of acres of recreational lands managed by the Army Corps of Engineers.  Presently, the Army Corps of Engineers bans handguns and self-defense on these recreational lands. 

“The Second Amendment enshrines a fundamental right to self-protection.  The Constitution is not a lunch menu.  Federal agencies cannot pick and choose what parts of the Constitution they like and what parts they don’t like,” said Rep. Gosar.  “Just like the First Amendment applies across all fifty states, and all federal lands, so does the Second Amendment.  My amendment to the appropriations bill restores the equality of the Second Amendment, and restores continuity to firearm carry regulations on federal lands.”

Last Congress, Army Corps administered land was unintentionally omitted from legislation that allowed citizens to exercise their Second Amendment right to bear arms on National Park/National Wildlife Service lands. The Corps administers over 11.7 million acres, including 400 lakes and river projects, 90,000 campsites and 4,000 miles of trails.  Much of this land is remote and without quick access to emergency services or law enforcement, so the ability to carry a firearm in case of emergency is imperative.  The amendment restores continuity to Federal law, and reinstates the Second Amendment rights on these Federal recreation lands.

Congressman Gosar’s amendment garnered overwhelming bipartisan support and was adopted in the appropriations bill by voice vote.  Congressman Gosar is also a cosponsor of legislation introduced by Congressman Gibbs and Congressman Altmire, H.R. 1865 Recreational Lands Self-Defense Act of 2011, which would carry this policy on past the current fiscal year. 

The Energy and Water Development Appropriations bill funds the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Department of Energy, and a host of related independent agencies, including the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. H.R. 2354 shows that strong fiscal discipline and strong national defense, and a strong economy, can be achieved together.  It funds the respective agencies $5.9 billion below the President’s FY12 request, and $1 billion below the current fiscal year’s spending levels while maintaining adequate funding for energy independence programs, national defense programs, and construction projects that are vital to U.S. national security

“Passing a yearly budget for the federal government is the fundamental responsibility of Congress. I am proud to be a part of a House that takes that responsibility and the responsibility to reign in federal spending seriously,” said Rep. Gosar.  “The Energy and Water Appropriations bill recognizes the current fiscal times and funds the related agencies at levels nearly six billion dollar less than the President’s unrealistic budget proposal.  It makes the tough budgetary decisions necessary while still adequately funds programs that are critical to our nation’s security, safety, and economic competitiveness.”

The FY2012 Energy and Water Appropriations bill is the fifth of the necessary thirteen individual appropriations bills passed by the Republican-lead House of Representatives for the 2012 Fiscal Year.  The House is on pace to pass all thirteen before the end of the current fiscal year.

In 2010, the Democrat-lead House did not pass any of the standalone appropriations bills, forcing the 112th Congress to pass a Continuing Resolution, H.R. 1473, earlier this year to avoid a government shutdown.