Thomas Jefferson once argued that, "laws that forbid the carrying of arms . . . disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes . . . . Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man." These words were as true then as they are today.

The recent D.C. Circuit Court decision was the first from a federal appeals court to hold a gun control law unconstitutional on the ground that the Second Amendment protects the rights of individuals, as opposed to the collective rights of state militias. Judge Silberman wisely concluded that the Second Amendment protects an individual right just as the First Amendment protects free speech and the Fourth Amendment bars unreasonable searches.

Not only was this decision important for its holding, but it was also significant for its reasoning and clear support for the intent of our Nation's founders to protect individual rights in the Bill of Rights, including the Second Amendment.

If we are to honor and uphold our Constitution, the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms cannot be infringed. I have reintroduced H.R. 73, The Citizens' Self-Defense Act, to protect the right of law-abiding citizens to obtain firearms for security, and to use firearms in defense of themselves, family, or their home, and to provide for the enforcement of that right.

The court noted that four of the six residents who appealed to the D.C. Circuit Court wanted to possess handguns in their respective homes for self-defense. They were not asserting a right to carry such weapons outside their homes.

The Constitution protects an individual's right to keep a firearm in their home to defend themselves and their family. I currently have 30 cosponsors supporting the Citizens' Self-Defense Act, and I am optimistic about the success of this important Second Amendment bill.