'Second Amendment Hawk' Coburn Defends Gun Negotiations with Schumer
Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) said he's a "Second Amendment hawk" who's trying to arrive at an agreement on gun background checks with Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.).
"I believe we actually could do something that would lessen the probability that a dangerous person would get a gun and do that in the way that doesn't interfere with the Second Amendment rights or state's Tenth Amendment rights," Coburn said last night on CNN. "If we can do that and not impair anybody's actual rights, I think we ought to do that. I think it's common sense and I think it could have a great outcome for the American community."
He tamped down the Dems' narrative, though, that 91 percent of Americans polled support universal background checks for all gun sales or exchanges.
"Well, 91 percent of Americans support an enhanced background check provided there's a no record. That's a very big difference. So I think that's an important qualification of that statistic," Coburn said.
"What I think is, is people ought to be responsible that if they have a gun and they want to sell it, to make sure they're not selling to somebody who's mentally impaired or a felon. And I think we can figure out a way to do that, U.S. Congress that won't impinge on anybody's rights."
The senator said the lack of government record-keeping is critical "because the government doesn't have a right under the Constitution to know whether I bought a gun or not."
"My right to self defense and my Second Amendment rights under the Constitution doesn't give the government the right to have any knowledge of that," Coburn said. "It doesn't matter what you think the government will do. What matters is what the U.S. Constitution says."
He said people on the terror watch list nor people convicted of a felony buying guns.
"Here's the question that ought to be asked: Do we as Americans think people who are mentally impaired and are a danger to themselves or somebody else or people who are convicted felons of crime not -- I'm not talking white collar crime but crime -- should they have their rights limited and when it comes to buying a gun?" Coburn said. "And I think most Americans would agree that they probably should."
The senator said Schumer "quit talking to me" after he wouldn't bend on the enhanced background check.
"I've had a position that's been the same all along. I'm willing to do what it takes to actually make a difference so we don't have guns in the hands of people who shouldn't have them. How we do that is important. Where Chuck and I differed is how we did, but I didn't back away. Look, I'm not running for another elective office. I believe in the Constitution. I actually follow the Constitution. I don't pay attention to interest groups," Coburn said.
He also confidently predicted the gun bill is "not going to be filibustered" by Senate Republicans.
"Provided Harry Reid has an open amendment process to where he guarantees us if we have legitimate bills that are within the scope of this bill and we have a legitimate amendments, if he's not going to limit those, we ought to have this debate," said Coburn. "America needs to know where we stand. They need to know where we stand on protecting the Bill of Rights, but they also where we stand in terms of common sense."