Defending the Second Amendment
Senator Alexander is a strong supporter and consistent defender of our Second Amendment rights under the U.S. Constitution to keep and bear arms. He has opposed the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty, helped defeat gun control legislation and asked hard questions of gun control advocates – all of which contributes to a clear record that has earned him an “A” rating from the National Rifle Association.
Guarding Against Obama Administration Overreach
On February of 2014, Alexander used his position as the lead Republican on the Senate health committee to press President Obama’s nominee for U.S. surgeon general on whether he would use the bully pulpit as “the nation’s doctor” to advance gun control.
Alexander noted Dr. Vivek Murthy’s statements on the social media site Twitter about being “tired of politicians … [who are] scared of the NRA.” The senator said at the hearing “I would hope you know that Americans have a First Amendment right to advocate the Second Amendment or any other amendment, and the Second Amendment is not a special interest group – it’s part of our Constitution.”
In follow-up questions, Alexander asked Murthy whether he would use his position in the surgeon general’s office to advance gun control. Murthy responded that he would not, but restated his position on the issue – Alexander ultimately opposed his confirmation.
Helping to Defeat Gun Control Legislation
When the Senate took up gun control legislation in spring of 2013, the senator voted against both the proposed assault weapons ban sponsored by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and the proposed expansion of background checks sponsored by Senators Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.). He said the “so-called ‘assault weapons’ ban” “clearly infringes on Second Amendment rights” and that the proposal to expand background checks “could easily evolve into a national gun registry.”
Alexander supported an amendment by Senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) that would have strengthened federal prosecution under existing gun laws and helped “keep guns out of the hands of criminals and those a court has decided are dangerously mentally ill.”
Alexander believes senators should always be ready to debate and defend Second Amendment rights on the floor of the U.S. Senate. He said, “To be unwilling to defend and debate Second Amendment rights on the Senate floor would be like joining the Grand Ole Opry and being unwilling to sing.” The Senate ultimately rejected both the “assault weapons” ban and background check expansion.
Opposing the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty
In October of 2013, Senator Alexander announced his opposition to the United Nations’ proposed Arms Trade Treaty, saying it “violates the Second Amendment rights of Tennesseans and all Americans” and joining a bipartisan group of 50 senators that outlined the treaty’s flaws in a letter to President Obama.
Alexander also cited Second Amendment rights as a reason for his support of the National Defense Authorization Act in December of 2013. The legislation, which authorizes funding for the Department of Defense, also prohibited funding from being used to implement any part of the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty without the advice and consent of the U.S. Senate.