Begich Supports Gun Rights in Upcoming Supreme Court Case
As a strong supporter of the Second Amendment, U.S. Senator Mark Begich has joined a bipartisan message to the U.S. Supreme Court: The Second Amendment applies to all law-abiding Americans, no matter where they live in the country.
Sen. Begich signed a friend-of-the-court brief in favor of gun rights in the upcoming McDonald v. Chicago Supreme Court case. The case will determine, following the Court's landmark ruling in Heller v. District of Columbia, whether local and state governments retain the ability to enact any laws restricting firearms.
"It is essential the Supreme Court affirm the constitutional rights granted to law-abiding citizens and protect the right of Alaskans to 'keep and bear arms'," Sen. Begich said. "I have been proud to join a bipartisan effort to support the gun rights of Americans and Alaskans. I hope for a firm declaration from the Supreme Court that strengthens the Second Amendment."
The brief, led by Sens. Jon Tester (D-MT) and Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) and Reps. Mark Souder (R-IN) and Mike Ross (D-AR), garnered the support of 309 senators and representatives, a record for any friend-of-the-court brief in U.S. history. At 59-pages in length, the brief was filed with the U.S. Supreme court on November 23, 2009.
McDonald v. Chicago is a natural follow-up to last year's Heller decision, which overturned Washington, D.C.'s longstanding ban on firearms. The McDonald case is broader in scope, applying to gun rights in all state and city governments. In contrast, Heller applied only to areas under the control of the federal government, including the District of Columbia.
Before he was elected to the Senate, Begich publicly supported the Supreme Court decision to affirm the second amendment in the Heller case.
"Congress' constitutional options should not be compromised by firearms restrictions imposed by the States," the brief states. "Congress has a long history of protecting the right of the people to keep and bear arms."
Advocating for the second amendment earlier this year, Sen. Begich supported a law, signed by President Obama, allowing guns in national parks. He is also the only Democrat to sponsor S.371, which allows citizens who have concealed carry permits from the State in which they reside to carry concealed firearms in another State that grants concealed carry permits. Begich also supported a new requirement to allow passengers to carry guns in their checked luggage while traveling on Amtrak.