Culture Wars/Current Controversies

Rep. Peltola, Sen. Mullin Introduce Legislation to Protect 2nd Amendment Rights of Native Americans

WASHINGTON—Rep. Mary Pelota, who is Yupik, and U.S. Sen. Markwayne Mullin, a Cherokee Nation citizen, introduced legislation on Wednesday to protect tribal citizens’ rights to buy, keep and bear arms.

Peltola (D-AK) partnered with South Dakota Republican Dusty Johnson to introduce the bipartisan Tribal Firearms Access Act in the House of Representatives. Mullin (R-OK) and South Dakota Republican Mike Rounds introduced the companion legislation in the Senate.

The proposed legislation, which Johnson introduced with Mullin’s support in the previous Congress, would make it easier for Native Americans living on tribal lands to buy firearms. If enacted into law, the bill would list tribal governments as eligible entities to issue identification documents for the purposes of transferring ownership of a firearm.

“Tribal citizens, and all law-abiding Americans, have a fundamental right to keep and bear arms,” Mullin said in a statement. “For too long, a lapse in existing law has prohibited Tribal members from using their Tribal government-issued ID to lawfully purchase firearms. Our commonsense legislation corrects this unconstitutional infringement.”

The bill is being backed by a number of Republican House members, including Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK), co-chair of the Native American Caucus. The bill is endorsed by the National Rifle Association (NRA), the National Native American Law Enforcement Association and other gun-rights advocacy organizations.


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