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National Rifle Association chief not happy with Md. gun legislation

David Keene says Supreme Court already addressed restrictions and said you can't ban a firearm that is commonly owned and widely used for legitimate purposes

April 03, 2013|By JENNIFER FITCH | waynesboro@herald-mail.com
  • The GOP hosted National Rifle Association President David Keene for its annual Lincoln Day Dinner at Green Grove Gardens outside Greencastle, Pa.
Joe Crocetta, Staff Photographer

GREENCASTLE, Pa. — National Rifle Association President David Keene is unhappy about the gun-control measures passed Wednesday in by the House of Delegates in Maryland.

“I’m a Maryland resident, so I’m not very enthused by the way Gov. (Martin) O’Malley has gone about all this.

The so-called assault weapons ban he’s tried to impose in Maryland and he’s now gotten through the legislature is something I don’t think will stand up to constitutional challenge,” Keene said in an interview with The Herald-Mail.

Keene served as the keynote speaker for a Franklin County (Pa.) Republican Committee event Wednesday, just hours after the Maryland House of Delegates approved banning assault weapons, requiring people who buy handguns to provide their fingerprints and limiting gun magazines to 10 bullets.

The Second Amendment is subject to “reasonable restrictions,” just like the First Amendment, Keene said.

But the Supreme Court already addressed restrictions and said you can’t ban a firearm that is commonly owned and widely used for legitimate purposes, he said.

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“The AR-15, which is sort of the poster child for these folks in terms of a gun they don’t like, is owned by some 4.5 million or more American citizens,” Keene said, saying it’s the most used gun for firearms training and serves other purposes.

Keene said O’Malley and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo are trying to set themselves up for presidential bids, but he feels it will backfire.

“They are playing to a very narrow part of their party’s base,” he said.

On Wednesday, NBC News quoted President Obama as saying “there doesn’t have to be a conflict” between respecting gun rights and enacting new gun controls.

Keene called the president “wrong.”

“Presidents do not get the right to reinterpret the Constitution to satisfy their whims,” he said.

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