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GOP leaders push to protect gun owners and prevent Biden from declaring health emergency over gun violence

FIRST ON FOX: Sen. Mike Braun, R-Ind., and fourteen other GOP leaders introduced a bill Thursday to prevent the White House from declaring gun violence a national health emergency to enact gun control measures.

The bill, known as the Protecting the Right to Keep and Bear Arms Act of 2023, comes as Democratic New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham last week tried to enact an immediate 30-day prohibition on carrying guns in public areas or on state-owned properties in Albuquerque, calling gun violence a public health crisis.

‘Many said that public health emergencies would not be abused to impose gun control, but after we saw the vast expansion of executive power during COVID and the New Mexico governor use a public health emergency to effectively suspend the Second Amendment in her state, no one can doubt that this needs to be addressed,’ Braun said in a statement.

‘We need to set into law that no one can remove the right to defend ourselves and our families with the stroke of a pen.’

The legislation is likely to gain steam in the GOP-led House. U.S. Rep. Michael Cloud also introduced a bill this week with the same name in response to Grisham’s measure. Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas, and Rep. Mary Miller, R-Ill., cosponsored Cloud’s bill and joined the choir of criticisms of Grisham’s move to ban guns. 

A judge blocked Lujan Grisham’s 30-day gun ban on open and concealed weapons, leading the governor to amend the rule to restrict guns at public parks or playgrounds, ‘where we know we have high risk of kids and families,’ she said, according to ABC.

Lujan Grisham said in a statement she refuses ‘to be resigned to the status quo.’

‘Today a judge temporarily blocked sections of our public health order but recognized the significant problem of gun violence in this state, particularly involving the deaths of children,’ she wrote. ‘As governor, I see the pain of families who lost their loved ones to gun violence every single day, and I will never stop fighting to prevent other families from enduring these tragedies.’

In May, Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra labeled gun violence a ‘public health crisis’ after a mass shooting at an Atlanta medical office building. Earlier, California officials had written a letter urging Becerra to formally recognize it as a public health emergency.

Braun previously introduced the bill in 2021 and as an amendment in July of this year. 

The bill is co-sponsored by GOP senators Thom Tillis of North Carolina, Kevin Cramer of North Dakota, Jim Risch of Idaho, Mike Crapo of Idaho, Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming, Joni Ernst of Iowa, Cindy Hyde-Smith of Mississippi, John Hoeven of North Dakota, Steve Daines of Montana, Ted Budd of North Carolina, Roger Wicker of Mississippi, Rick Scott of Florida, Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Josh Hawley of Missouri.

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