Texas Rep. Michael Cloud re-introduced a bill Tuesday that would prohibit the president and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) from declaring public health emergencies to enforce gun control measures.
If enacted, the Protecting the Right To Keep and Bear Arms Act would also prevent government officials from restricting the production, sale or transfer of firearms and ammunition during major disasters or emergencies, “thereby preventing them from illicitly using public health authority.”
“For a long time, radical left politicians have been open about their willingness to use executive authority and rob Americans of their Second Amendment rights,” Cloud said in a statement.
The bill comes as some Democrat politicians have declared public health emergencies due to gun violence.
Last week, Democrat New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham tried to enact an immediate 30-day prohibition on carrying firearms in public areas or on state-owned properties in Albuquerque, calling gun violence a public health crisis.
“That is unacceptable, and it is Congress’ duty to prevent it,” Cloud said. “The Biden administration, Gov. Grisham, and others have exercised extraordinary executive power to push their liberal agenda and expand the power of the government. My bill would push back against any infringement on the Second Amendment and prevent the federal government from gaming the system to implement sweeping gun control regulations.”
A judge blocked Lujan Grisham’s 30-day gun ban on open and concealed weapons, leading the governor to amend the rule to restrict firearms at public parks or playgrounds, “where we know we have high risk of kids and families,” she said, ABC reported.
A GOP resolution introduced in the House last week would condemn Lujan Grisham in response to her emergency order. Republicans, some Democrats and Second Amendment advocates have heavily criticized Lujan Grisham, arguing the order infringes on Americans’ constitutional rights.
“This instance of New Mexico’s tyrant governor using a ‘public health emergency’ to unilaterally suspend the Second Amendment is just the latest example of public officials illegally using ’emergency powers’ to infringe on constitutional rights,” Aidan Johnston, director of federal affairs for Gun Owners of America, said in a statement.
He added, “We saw countless similar examples during the COVID pandemic, and lawmakers must act with a sense of urgency to ensure that President Biden and his anti-gun administration do not attempt something similar to these examples on a national level.”
Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas, and Rep. Mary Miller, R-Ill., also support Cloud’s bill and criticized Grisham’s move to ban open firearms.
In May, Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra labeled gun violence a “public health crisis” following 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.