The Second Amendment Restored

The Supreme Court’s landmark decision striking down the District of Columbia’s ban on handguns recognizes the clear intent of our Founding Fathers — that the Second Amendment confers an individual right to keep and bear arms. The Court has given conservatives a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to promote a judicial philosophy that protects the rights of gun owners.

Unfortunately, D.C. is expected to act quickly to pass a new gun restriction. The District of Columbia is the responsibility of Congress, and so it’s imperative that Congress act just as swiftly to protect the Second Amendment rights of D.C. residents. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) has introduced legislation that would remove the District’s authority to “enact laws or regulations that discourage or eliminate the private ownership or use of firearms.”

There are several other similar gun bills and initiatives. Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) has sponsored the “Veterans Second Amendment Protection Act.” Sens. David Vitter (R-La.) and John Thune (R-S.D.), and Rep. John Boozman (R-Ark.) have bills to allow people to use conceal-and-carry permits when traveling outside their home state. Sen. Coburn (R-Okla.) and Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.) would restore the rights of individuals with permits to have firearms when in a national park. Yet none of these measures have been voted on in either chamber this year.

The Heller decision was a 5-4 decision, and it shows the importance of the types of judges that our next president will choose to sit on our high court and the lower federal courts established by Congress. The issue is volatile, as evidenced by the outcry when Barack Obama claimed that the residents of bitter small-town America “cling to guns or religion.” Obama says he’s a “strong supporter of the Second Amendment, but I do not think that that precludes local governments being able to provide some kind of common sense gun laws that keep guns out of the hands of gang bangers or children.”

John McCain signed a brief submitted to the Court advocating final disposition of the Court in the Heller decision. But he also championed legislation to force background checks for firearm sales at gun shows which effectively would shut down many of our nation’s gun shows.

Oil: The Left’s Solutions Leave Americans Behind

Liberal elected officials nationwide are dismissing every conceivable idea to lower gas prices. For many, that includes expanding domestic energy production. Instead, they propose a series of ideas that would punish American consumers and companies.

Take the “windfall profits tax.” According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO), such a tax would decrease domestic oil production and increase oil imports. Do liberals really believe that a greater reliance on OPEC will benefit America?

Probably not, but their newly crafted “Us-It-Or-Lose-It” policy would continue to punish companies that don’t produce on currently held leases. Liberals overlook the fact that some leases are being explored, others are waiting for the necessary infrastructure and others just don’t have significant quantities of oil.

Liberals also have another straw man to attack: traders. They claim that clamping down on “oil speculators” is the silver bullet. Nothing could be further from the truth. Commodity trading is essential to our economy, as it ensures some degree of predictability for businesses. Sarbanes Oxley-style regulations have never helped our economy and they won’t bring gasoline prices down.

Conservatives know that the current oil crisis cannot be regulated, taxed or litigated away. America needs to harness its huge supply of domestic resources. And we need to expedite the building of new refineries. That’s how to help lower the cost at the pump for the American consumer.
Law of the Sea

The U.N.’s Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST) is pending before the Senate. This little gem would compromise U.S. sovereignty over its citizens and the military’s use of the word’s oceans. Fans of LOST insist that the U.S. must join the treaty to get “a seat at the table” to secure rights to our outer continental shelf. Last month, however, the U.S. — despite not being a party to LOST — attended a conference with four other Arctic nations to discuss the outer continental shelf in the Arctic.

The U.S. acted as it should act — as a sovereign, independent nation — and it need not be a member of LOST in order to secure rights to its own territory. When President Truman declared in 1945 that the U.S. owned all resources on its outer continental shelf, the only “seat at the table” he required was the one sitting behind the desk in the Oval Office. The Bush administration should take note.