While President Barack Obama strenuously argued in his State of the Union address that victims of gun violence deserve a vote on new gun control legislation, a trio of Republican Senators seem to disagree and have threatened to filibuster any bill that enacts additional restrictions on gun rights.
In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., Sens. Rand Paul, R-Ky., Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Ted Cruz, R-Tex., indicated that they intend to oppose any legislation that would infringe on the American people's constitutional right to bear arms.
The Senators said they would also oppose legislation that infringes on the people's ability to exercise their rights without being subjected to government surveillance.
"The Second Amendment to the Constitution protects citizens' right to self-defense," the Senators wrote. "It speaks to history's lesson that government cannot be in all places at all times, and history's warning about the oppression of a government that tries."
They added, "We will oppose the motion to proceed to any legislation that will serve as a vehicle for any additional gun restrictions."
The letter, which was obtained by a number of news organizations, was expected to be delivered to Reid on Tuesday.
Last Thursday, Reid formally introduced new gun control legislation, setting the stage for a contentious debate on the issue when the Senate returns from a two-week recess.
Reid noted that the legislation includes provisions to expand background checks, improve school safety and reduce gun trafficking.
While a controversial assault weapons ban was dropped from the legislation, Reid promised that the chamber would vote on restoring the proposal to the bill.
"The bill I advance tonight will serve as the basis for opening debate," Reid said. "Once debate begins, I will ensure that a ban on assault weapons, limits to high-capacity magazines, and mental health provisions receive votes, along with other amendments."
He added, "In his State of the Union address, President Obama called for all of these provisions to receive votes, and I will ensure that they do."
In one of the more memorable parts of the State of the Union address, Obama acknowledged the opposition to certain gun control measures such as the assault weapons ban but argued that the proposals deserve a vote in Congress.
Referring to Hadiya Pendleton, a 15-year-old girl shot and killed in Chicago, Obama said. "Hadiya's parents, Nate and Cleo, are in this chamber tonight, along with more than two dozen Americans whose lives have been torn apart by gun violence. They deserve a vote."
"Gabby Giffords deserves a vote," Obama continued to frequent applause. "The families of Newtown deserve a vote. The families of Aurora deserve a vote. The families of Oak Creek and Tucson and Blacksburg, and the countless other communities ripped open by gun violence -- they deserve a simple vote."
Gun control jumped to the top of Obama's domestic agenda after a mass shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, killed 26 people, including 20 children.
by RTT Staff Writer
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