Congressman Byron Donalds (R-FL) went on CNN to discuss red flag laws and gun ownership following the recent school shooting in Nashville, Tennessee.
Jake Tapper, longtime CNN host, questioned Rep. Donalds, asking him where an individual’s right to bear arms end compared the “individual right to live and not be gunned down in their school.”
Rep. Donalds responded to Tapper, stating that he was falsely comparing the Declaration of Independence with the U.S. Constitution.
We cannot use tragedy as a means to abridge Americans' constitutional rights. I'll always defend the rights of law-abiding citizens to Keep and Bear Arms.
— Byron Donalds (@ByronDonalds) April 13, 2023
“Well actually, Jake, I think you’re conflating. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is in the Declaration of Independence, not the United States Constitution. We all want to protect life at all times. But that doesn’t mean you get to abridge rights of American citizens. You don’t get to do that,” stated Donalds.
He would also state that if there is a mental health concern regarding the possession or repossession of an individual’s firearm, then government must go through the legal process in order to obtain someone’s property.
“If you want to go through the legal process and adjudicate mental health, I’m all for that. But you can’t take somebody’s property from them. And then they (the individual) have to petition the courts to get their stuff back. That’s the wrong way to go.”
Within the interview. Rep. Donalds says that he will always be against “red flag” laws, which looks to remove an individual’s firearm if law enforcement believes they are at risk of hurting themselves or others. Second Amendment advocates believe that these laws could be abused.
Donalds stated, “That’s always been my disagreement with red flag laws. It’s my disagreement today, and for the children who lost their lives in that [school], that is horrific. But what you’re dealing with there is somebody who knowingly went about breaking the law. And so, the law is designed to protect us all if somebody, an assailant chooses to break the law. That’s what the criminal proceeding is for. The Constitution is to protect the law to protect the rights of all law-abiding citizens.”
Rep. Donalds was nominated by the Freedom Caucus during the Speakership vote. He recently endorsed former President Donald Trump (R) over potential candidate Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R).