The president concluded his recent State of the Union address with an appeal on behalf of those who've suffered from gun violence. We mourn with the families in attendance that night whose loved ones were stolen too early from this earth.
But in the midst of the president's emotional plea, we should also look to those whose lives have been saved because of the free exercise of our Second Amendment. In January, a Georgia woman in lawful possession of a firearm protected her children from certain tragedy when a violent intruder forced his way into their home. Last October, a similar scenario took place in Oklahoma when an intruder broke into a home where a 12-year-old girl was alone. When he approached the girl's hiding place, she fired a shot; the intruder fled, leaving her unharmed.
As Congress contemplates new restrictions on the Second Amendment, we must not fall into the trap of hastily adopting proposals that offer no additional safety. Nor should we trample on the rights of those who merely seek to protect their homes and families.
It's important to clarify from the president's January press conference the difference between his 23 executive actions and new gun laws. The president can't unilaterally write new laws that endanger the Second Amendment, despite his misleading claims that day. Any new assault weapon bans and onerous requirements to purchase guns must first be approved by Congress.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., is now leading this charge in Congress. Her assault weapon bill would outlaw firearms that are essentially the same as semi-automatic rifles or pistols commonly used for hunting and personal protection. The major difference with how Feinstein's legislation defines an “assault weapon” is by the firearm's additional cosmetic features. Otherwise, the weapon operates no differently and can only fire one round per pull of the trigger.