House Majority Whip Steve Scalise’s belief in the Second Amendment is unwavering.
In an interview Sunday with Chuck Todd from NBC’s “Meet the Press,” the Louisiana Republican explained that although he was critically wounded back in June by a gunman who attacked the GOP baseball team during a practice in Virginia, he does not believe gun control is the answer.
“Our Founding Fathers believed strongly in gun rights for citizens,” said Scalise.
“Don’t try to put new laws in place that don’t fix these problems,” he continued. “They only make it harder for law-abiding citizens to own a gun.”
Todd then asked the congressman whether the Second Amendment was an “unlimited” right, to which Scalise responded, “It is, it is.” Though he later acknowledged that there are laws on the books limiting 2A rights.
Scalise went on to address the issue of bump stocks, the accessory that was reportedly used in the tragic attack in Las Vegas last Sunday, saying that Congress should step aside and let the ATF re-evaluate whether the bump stock should be the subject of additional regulations.
“Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi already said she wants it to be a slippery slope,” he said. “She doesn’t want to stop at bump stocks. They want to go out and limit the rights of gun owners.”
“A week ago… most people didn’t know what a bump stock was,” he added. “So to think that we’re now all experts and know how to write some … panacea law — it’s fallacy. Let’s focus on the facts. Let’s get the facts and let’s go focus on some of the problems.”
To circle back to the question of whether the Second Amendment is unlimited, it’s not. The Supreme Court has said, in the 2008 landmark Heller decision, that while the right to keep and bear arms is an individual right unconnected to militia service it is “not unlimited.”
SCOTUS points to prohibitions on carrying firearms in “sensitive places” like schools or government buildings, laws banning felons and the mentally ill from possessing firearms and laws restricting the carrying of dangerous and unusual weapons, as examples of limitations that passed Constitutional muster over the years.
The question of what arms should and should not be restricted is an ongoing debate. The High Court, for instance, has yet to decide whether state bans on AR-pattern shotguns are constitutional. In recent years it’s shied away from reviewing a case examining that issue — maybe because it doesn’t want to say one way or the other.