/  Ranking Member Tom Cole Hearing Remarks on H.R. 1808

Ranking Member Tom Cole Hearing Remarks on H.R. 1808

As delivered during today's hearing:

Our fourth hearing of the week covers a deeply partisan bill, H.R. 1808, the Assault Weapons Ban of 2022. This bill constitutes the greatest attack on the constitutional rights of law-abiding gun owners that I have seen during my time here in Congress.

Again and again this Congress, we have watched the Majority try to reduce or eliminate the rights of American citizens to purchase or own firearms. Today’s measure is a direct attack on that right. Rather than protecting the rights enshrined in the Second Amendment, H.R. 1808 would ban a broad group of firearms, including some of the most popular firearms on the market today. This is a direct infringement of the Second Amendment, one that is certainly unconstitutional and one that I cannot and will not support. 

I will not vote to take away the right to bear arms from the 99.9 percent of gun owners who are law-abiding citizens. But more importantly, the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution does not allow Congress to take away that right. And for all of the Majority’s righteous talk in recent weeks about respecting supposedly settled rights in the Constitution, they certainly are only too happy to trample on one of them when it suits them politically. 

I believe this bill is deeply misguided. I have been clear that I believe that any effort to address gun violence must be deliberative and open and must ensure that constitutional rights are preserved for all Americans. Sadly, this measure does not meet that test.

It is also clear that this bill will not pass the Senate and will not become law. The Majority certainly is aware of that fact. But once again, we are here on a deeply partisan, deeply divisive and ultimately pointless messaging exercise.

I must once again remind the Majority that they need to decide if they are here to make political points or here to make law. Again and again and again, this committee is asked to take up bills like this one, bills that are very clearly only designed to make political points and that cannot become law. This practice is deeply frustrating and is not good for the institution or for the nation. I hope this practice changes and changes quickly. 

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Created: July 29, 2022