|11:11 AM EDT||
Virginia Foxx, R-NC 5th
Ms. FOXX. I must urge my colleagues to vote ``no'' on the previous question so that we can amend this rule to restore Americans' second amendment rights on public lands and wildlife refuges. In January, with overwhelming support from both sides of the aisle, the Federal Government announced a commonsense policy to allow citizens legally to carry concealed firearms in national parks and wildlife refuges in accordance with State law.
Last week, House and Senate leaders added an amendment, sponsored by Representative Jason Altmire, to the Omnibus Public Lands Management Act that protects hunting and fishing on certain parts of Federal land. It clarified that the States have the authority to manage fish and wildlife. In short, the Altmire amendment made certain that Americans kept their second amendment right to carry concealed firearms on public land.
However, in an arbitrary reversal of sound policy on March 19, a U.S. district judge single-handedly decided to block this commonsense policy to allow citizens to carry concealed firearms in national parks and wildlife refuges in accordance with State laws. As Ranking Member Hastings said, ``There is now a giant hole in the Altmire language.'' Americans' constitutional second amendment rights are again in jeopardy, and I call on the Democrats in charge to amend this rule so Congress
can protect these rights as we were sent here by our constituents to do.
For months, Democrats in the House and Senate have done everything in their power to block the House from voting on any amendments to this enormous 1,200-page, $10 billion bill which combines over 160 land bills, most of which have never had hearings in either the House or the Senate.
This bill contains hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars in new spending and locks up additional public land which may have energy resource potential. Many of the bills rolled into this package are controversial and ambiguous, yet in a series of hasty maneuvers to silence dissent, the Democrats have worked to marginalize rather than engage the healthy debate our constituents deserve on these bills.
With this new court ruling, Americans' second amendment rights would be in jeopardy on all Federal land, including 2 million new acres of land designated as ``wilderness areas'' under this bill. Today, there are 708 federally imposed ``wilderness areas'' totaling 107 million acres of land in 44 States. If this bill is enacted, the amount of Federal wilderness areas will exceed the amount of all developed land in the United States. If Congress does not take action to protect every American's constitutional
rights now, it won't be long before these rights are in jeopardy on even more land. [Page: H3846]
Madam Speaker, I ask unanimous consent to insert the text of the amendment and extraneous material into the Record.