At a time when efforts are underway across the country to restrict gun ownership, patriotic Americans are rising up in strong defense of the Second Amendment. This is especially true across Kentucky where there is significant grassroots energy aimed at defending a right that our founding fathers knew was of critical importance.
In recent years we have seen efforts by state and federal politicians to chip away at Second Amendment protections. Perhaps the most prominent piece of gun legislation up for discussion in Kentucky -- and in many states -- is a proposed red flag law, or Extreme Risk Protection Order. A red flag law would allow a judge to order that an individual's firearms be taken away if he or she is deemed dangerous to themselves or others. How long firearms are taken away under these "extreme risk protection orders" depends on the circumstances and can usually be extended only after another court hearing. The orders also bar the person they cover from purchasing guns. As discussions of red flag laws and other gun control proposals increase on the state and federal levels, I've heard growing concerns from Kentuckians.
What Second Amendment supporters -- myself included -- raise issue with is the inherent lack of due process related to red flag laws. Specifically, allowing courts to confiscate guns from individuals who have not committed a crime is a clear incursion on individual rights. I am also strongly opposed to other radical proposals filed in Washington and Frankfort which criminalize gun ownership and further limit the rights of law-abiding Americans.
I took to the floor of the House of Representatives this past week to speak out on this issue, making my opposition to red flag laws and other forms of gun control known. As a member of the Congressional Second Amendment Caucus, this issue is very important to me. As I said in my speech, I pledge to strongly oppose any effort to infringe on the fundamental freedom of gun ownership.
I've been committed to supporting legislation in Congress that protects a citizen's right to bear arms, including my original cosponsorship of bills like the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act. Under Kentucky law, my constituents are permitted to carry concealed firearms. I believe the ability to concealed carry should not be restricted by arbitrary state lines. For this reason, I was proud to be an original cosponsor of this bill, which allows individuals with concealed carry privileges in their home state to exercise that same right in other concealed carry states.
Safeguarding rights for hunters and recreational sports shooters has also been a priority of mine. Over the years, many individuals have experienced adverse health effects from inadequate hearing protection when shooting. Government bureaucrats should not be preventing safe hearing protection options for shooters.
To mitigate this issue, I'm proud to cosponsor the Hearing Protection Act - legislation which repeals the burdensome $200 tax on the purchase of firearm noise suppressors and removes these tools from the definition of firearms.
Like many of my constituents, I grew up on a farm and have owned and used guns for most of my life. I'm proud to represent a constituency of law-abiding gun owners, recreational sports shooters and hunters who value and respect the Second Amendment. As a strong supporter of upholding this important tenet of our Constitution, I'm proud to see Kentuckians speaking out about gun regulations that infringe on the Second Amendment and wholeheartedly support them in these efforts.
I'm encouraged to see grassroots movements here at home bringing attention to efforts to chip away at Second Amendment protections. It is critically important that supporters of gun rights stay engaged and monitor proposals seeking to undo the constitutional right to gun ownership.
Likewise, I will continue working diligently with the Trump Administration and fellow members of Congress to uphold the rights of law-abiding citizens in Kentucky and across the nation.
Rep. James Comer is a United States Congressman for the 1st Congressional District, which spans from south central Kentucky to the river counties of far western Kentucky. Contact him with any questions or concerns in his Washington D.C. office at 202-225-3115, in the Tompkinsville Office at 270-487-9509, in the Paducah Office at 270-408-1865, or schedule an appointment in the Madisonville Office by calling 270-487-9509.