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April 30, 2014

Candidates profess Second Amendment support

EDMOND — Does the federal government have a legitimate reason to limit the constitutional right of U.S. citizens to own and bear firearms? The question was asked to three candidates for U.S. Senate at a recent Oklahoma City Republican debate sponsored by the Oklahoma Conservative Political Action Committee at Olivet Baptist Church.

“First of all, the Second Amendment is a prohibition of the federal government to infringe on our rights to keep and bear arms,” said former state Sen. Randy Brogdon, R-Owasso.

The state of Oklahoma can set rules if it wants, Brogdon said. But the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution makes it clear that the federal government “shall not infringe,” he said.

“We have the inherent right, given by God, to protect our family,” said Brogdon, 60.

Brogdon ran legislation in the Senate to enable university students the opportunity to conceal and carry a gun on state campuses. University presidents were successful in defeating the legislation.

Brogdon said his son recently served in the military. If his son could carry a gun into a classroom, Brogdon said he would feel more secure knowing his son could use his gun if a threat to life was imminent.

“I hear people talking about their constitutional right all the time,” said former state House Speaker T.W. Shannon. “This is not a constitutional right. It is a God-given right. The Constitution only guarantees rights.”

Shannon will continue his staunch support of the Second Amendment, which earned him an A-rating from the National Rifle Association, he said.

“That philosophy guarantees all other rights of the constitution,” Shannon said of protecting self-government. He supports conceal and carry laws in Oklahoma, said Shannon, 32.

Congressman James Lankford, 46, said the Declaration of Independence speaks of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

These are inherent, basic values of the American system, Lankford said. The Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution is relevant because people have a right to life.

“We have a weapon to protect our life and our own families,” Lankford said. “It was an extension of this basic ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.’”

The right to protect one’s family has been an inherent right even before the U.S. was a nation, he said.

“This is inherent with who we are,” Lankford said.

He tells liberal congressmen and women to come to Oklahoma if they believe that gun ownership poses a risk.

“It’s one of the safest places to be and they should learn a lot from us,” Lankford said.

Oklahoma ranks 14th in average rankings across 10 measures of gun violence, according to the Center for American Progress. New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Hawaii, rank 46-50, respectively, according to the study. Louisiana and Alaska rank 1-2, respectively.

Other Republican U.S. Senate candidates for the unexpired term include Jason Weger, 31, of Norman; Kevin Crow, 46, of Chickasha; Eric McCray, 33, of Tulsa; and Andy Craig, 41, of Broken Arrow.

One Independent candidate, Mark Beard, 54, of Oklahoma City is also running for the Senate seat.

The three Democrats contenders for U.S. Senate include state Sen. Connie Johnson, 61, of Oklahoma City; Patrick Hayes, 39, of Anadarko; and Jim Rogers, 79, of Midwest City.

Voters will nominate their party’s candidates on June 24 for the statewide primary election. A run-off primary election is set for Aug. 26. The general election is scheduled for Nov. 4.

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