For immediate release July 7, 2008
NEWTOWN, Conn. -- Following the recent landmark Second Amendment ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court, the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the trade association for the firearms industry, sent presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) a letter, dated July 4, asking whether he believes laws in the City of Chicago – his hometown – that ban law-abiding citizens from having firearms, including handguns in their home, violate the Second Amendment.
The letter, signed by NSSF Senior Vice President and General Counsel Lawrence G. Keane, referenced the District of Columbia, et al. v. Heller case which held the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects the individual right of law-abiding Americans to "keep and bear arms," including pistols and revolvers.
The decision by NSSF to send Sen. Obama the letter stems from the candidate's recent remarks in which he noted his agreement that the Second Amendment provides an individual right to keep and bear arms, a statement that is in seemingly stark contrast to his support for banning the civilian ownership of handguns, a position he took as an Illinois state senator, and to his position supporting the D.C. gun ban.
The Supreme Court will likely hear new Second Amendment related cases following the Heller decision and there remains a strong likelihood of the next president appointing at least one new Supreme Court Justice. These possibilities demand that candidates for office clearly articulate how they view firearms freedoms and the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Americans.
Keane inquired of Sen. Obama:
In light of the Heller decision, NSSF would like to know whether you believe the City of Chicago's gun ban violates the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Chicago residents? Do you continue to support banning an entire class of firearms from private ownership by law-abiding citizens, including your fellow Chicago residents? Do you believe the Second Amendment rights of Americans should depend on where they happen to live? If you do, which other individual rights enshrined in the Constitution do you believe are limited by municipal borders?NSSF has not yet received a response from Sen. Obama or his campaign.