Donald J. Trump’s best friend on Capitol Hill, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R.-Ala.), told Breitbart News that he is very concerned about Senate Republicans caving in on gun rights.
“We have a constitutional right to keep and bear arms. Congress has passed various laws dealing with the possession of firearms. But, you can’t have a secret list somewhere that denies an American citizen the right to free speech, freedom of religion,” the Alabama senator said after his remarks at Thursday’s session of the Security Industry Association’s Government Summit.
Gun rights are real, he said. “It’s as real a right as free speech and to be free from illegal search and seizure.”
Senate Democrats helped defeat a bill proposed by Republican Whip Sen. John Cornyn (R.-Texas) that would have blocked gun sales to people on the federal government’s No-Fly List with a process for review. Then, they came back with 15 hours of extended debate on the Senate floor dedicated to demanding action on preventing terrorists from buying guns in America.
“What Senator Cornyn proposed that I supported was: OK, you don’t get to buy a weapon if you’re on one of these lists, but you have to have a reasonable opportunity in short order to go somewhere and defend your constitutional right to keep and bear arms,” Sessions said.
“I think it’s a sound policy that deals with the constitutional issue and the national security issue,” he said.
Sessions said he has not spoken with Trump, who is the GOP’s presumptive presidential nominee, about Trump’s remarks suggesting that he would lobby the National Rifle Association to drop their opposition to any program that suspends an American’s gun rights without due process, such as is the case with the No-Fly List, which is a purely administrative action based on a federal employee’s own judgment.
“My advice to him is: ‘Fine, let’s talk about it some more. Maybe there is something that can be worked out that we can all be happy about. I think it is positive that he is willing to engage on the issue.”
The NRA is correct, Sessions said. “If you allow the principle of a constitutional right to be eroded too much, then it starts disappearing.”
The Senator said he was hopeful that the NRA and Trump would be having a conversation about the issue.
“I am not set in concrete about what Senator Cornyn proposed,” he said. “Maybe there is something that would work better and the NRA could be supportive of.”