Second Amendment

Bullock: Right to bear arms in the Constitution

Montana governor strikes moderate note on gun control

Matt AJ

Gov. Steve Bullock (D-MT) speaks to the media before an event in Council Bluffs, Iowa on June 11, 2019

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Speaking to Jewish Insider on Wednesday, Steve Bullock broke from many of his rivals for the Democratic nomination, saying that he did not think the Supreme Court’s decision in D.C. v Heller was a bad decision and that the Second Amendment does contain an individual right to bear arms.

The statement came after a speech in which the Montana governor touted his support for measures like an assault weapons ban and universal background checks for firearms purchases in the aftermath of mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio.

In Heller, the court ruled for the first time that the Second Amendment to the Constitution did protect the individual right to bear arms for self-defense and overturned the District of Columbia’s ban on handgun possession. 

However, Bullock’s remarks on Heller separated him from a number of other Democratic candidates, including Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) as well as former Congressman Beto O’Rourke (D-TX), who have announced their support for reversing the landmark 2008 decision. In addition, Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presidential nominee in 2016, said she “disagreed” with the court’s decision in that case. 

Bullock touted his background as a red state gun owner as proof of his ability to successfully push gun control legislation if elected. “I’m calling on my fellow gun owners to take leadership in the fight against gun violence that’s tearing our country apart,” said Bullock. “I believe I can speak to folks who live in gun country.”

The Montana governor has long positioned himself as one of the more moderate and electable candidates running in the Democratic field. In addition to his remarks on Heller Wednesday, Bullock renewed his criticism of Medicare for All and for decriminalizing unlawful entry into the United States, positions that a number of Democratic rivals have also embraced. He described  those Democrats who want to ban private insurance and implement Medicare for All as wishing “to repeal and replace Obamacare.”

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