Tester rallies Congress to support gun rights in upcoming Supreme Court case

Senator gets dozens of senators to sign bipartisan friend-of-the-court brief

(MISSOULA, Mont.) – Senator Jon Tester rallied Republicans and Democrats in Congress to send a bipartisan message today to the U.S. Supreme Court: The Second Amendment applies to all law-abiding Americans, no matter where they live in the country.

Tester teamed up with Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas and U.S. Representatives Mark Souder, R-Ind., and Mike Ross, D-Ark.—to write a friend-of-the-court brief in favor of gun rights in the upcoming McDonald v. Chicago Supreme Court case.

Their 59-page brief was delivered to the U.S. Supreme court today, with signatures from 309 senators and representatives—more members of Congress than any friend-of-the-court brief in U.S. history.

McDonald v. Chicago will ultimately determine whether local governments have the right to pass their own laws restricting firearms.  It is similar to last year’s landmark Heller v. District of Columbia case, which overturned Washington, D.C.’s longstanding ban on firearms.

“Working together, we’re making our gun rights in this country stronger,” said Tester, who serves as vice chairman of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus.  “This isn’t about partisan politics.  It’s about the rights all law-abiding Americans have under our Constitution, and those rights are always worth fighting for.”

Senator Max Baucus was one of the first U.S. senators to support Tester’s and Hutchison’s document.  Tester got 55 other senators to sign the brief—including 17 Democrats.

“This is about protecting our rights as Montanans and Americans,” Baucus said. “Gun rights are guaranteed by the Constitution.  It’s as simple as that.”

“As a co-equal branch of government, the Supreme Court needs to know members of Congress believe the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms applies to all law abiding Americans regardless of the jurisdiction in which they reside,” Hutchison said. “I look forward to the Supreme Court’s consideration of McDonald v. the City of Chicago so this extremely important Constitutional question regarding a fundamental, individual right can be settled, once and for all.”

Tester and Hutchison also led the effort in Congress to support gun rights in last year’s Heller case.

The McDonald case is broader than the Heller case because it will apply to gun rights in all state and city governments—not just the federal government (the city of Washington, D.C., is part of the federal government).

“Congress’ constitutional options should not be compromised by firearms restrictions imposed by the States,” the brief states.  “Congress has a long history of protecting the right of the people to keep and bear arms.”

Earlier this year Tester and Baucus pushed Congress to pass a law allowing guns in national parks, which  President Obama signed into law.