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Idaho Senators Join Effort to Prevent Abuse of Public Health Emergencies to Impose Gun Control

Washington, D.C.--Idaho’s U.S. Senators Mike Crapo and Jim Risch introduced the Protecting the Right to Keep and Bear Arms Act to prevent the President and the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) from declaring a public health emergency to impose gun control. 

“Abusing national and public health emergency powers for purposes of exercising excessive government control to strip Americans’ Second Amendment right is a clear attempt to circumvent the U.S. Constitution,” said Crapo.  “We must not allow creative government bureaucrats to abridge this right while we seek to prevent violence perpetrated by criminals.”

“Banning guns is not a public emergency,” said Risch.  “Earlier this year, a liberal governor tried to use this scare tactic to ban guns in her state. We cannot allow a president to do the same and attack law-abiding gun owners. With the Protecting the Right To Keep and Bear Arms Act, President Biden and all future presidents would be prohibited from implementing an unconstitutional emergency declaration to take away your right to bear arms.”

Earlier this month, the Governor of New Mexico instituted a public health emergency for the purposes of suspending the Second Amendment-protected carrying of firearms.  This comes after years of activist groups encouraging the Biden Administration, specifically HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra, to take the same path to impose gun control by executive fiat.

Just this week, the Washington Post reported that the Biden Administration plans to create a new Office of Gun Violence Prevention in response to “stalled” progress in Congress.  A high-profile activist from the Community Justice Action Fund will serve a key role for the new office: an organization dedicated to declaring a national gun violence public health emergency as one of its three policy planks.

This legislation, led by Senator Mike Braun (R-Indiana), is endorsed by the Gun Owners of America.  Additional co-sponsors include Senators Thom Tillis (R-North Carolina), Kevin Cramer (R-North Dakota), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyoming), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), John Hoeven (R-North Dakota), Steve Daines (R-Montana), Ted Budd (R-North Carolina), Roger Wicker (R-Mississippi), Rick Scott (R-Florida), Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), Josh Hawley (R-Missouri) and John Thune (R-South Dakota).

The Protecting the Right to Keep and Bear Arms Act would:

  • Prohibit the President or their designee from declaring an emergency pursuant to the National Emergencies Act or major disaster pursuant to the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act in order to impose gun control;
  • Prevent the Secretary of Health and Human services from declaring a public health emergency pursuant to the Public Health Service Act for the purpose of imposing gun control; and
  • Prevent any government official from prohibiting the manufacture, sale or transfer of a firearm or ammunition during a disaster or emergency.