Sen. Jeff Sessions, attorney general nominee, answered questions during the January 10 confirmation hearing about the Second Amendment, making clear that the right to bear arms is “historic” and constitutionally protected.
C-SPAN reported that Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) said, “In Louisiana, Senator, we believe that love is the answer. But we also believe that we have the right under the Constitution to own a gun, just in case. Could you share with me your thoughts on the Second Amendment?”
Sessions responded, “Well, I do believe the Second Amendment is a personal right. It is a historic right of the American people. And the Constitution protects it and explicitly states it.” He added, “It is just as much part of the Constitution as any of the other great rights and liberties that we value. So my record is pretty clear on that.”
Sessions went on to express his conviction that the right can be forfeited via criminal behavioral choices. Moreover, he stressed that the existence of a right to keep and bear arms does not excuse those who bear them with criminal intent. He said:
People can forfeit their right to have a gun, and it can be a factor in receiving sentences and being prosecuted if you carry a gun, for example, during the commission of a crime. That can add penalty and convictions to you. I think that’s a legitimate and responsible restraint on the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.
In contrast, during the June 5, 2016, airing of This Week with George Stephanopoulos, Hillary Clinton twice refused to confirm that the right to bear arms is constitutional. Under pressure to explicitly confirm or deny, she would only say, “If it is a constitutional right, then it–like every constitutional right–is subject to reasonable regulation.”
AWR Hawkins is the Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and host of Bullets with AWR Hawkins, a Breitbart News podcast. He is also the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.