Sen. Phil Fortunato responded strongly today to a new rule from the state’s Democrat lieutenant governor that will ban firearms from the Senate’s public gallery. In a hand-delivered letter to the lieutenant governor, whose duties include presiding over the Senate; Fortunato outlines numerous concerns with the ban, including its legality and enforceability.
“It’s no coincidence this ruling came right after the certification of the election giving the Democrats a majority in the Senate,” said Fortunato, R-Auburn. “This is just the first salvo of what I believe will be many anti-Second Amendment policies. The lieutenant governor’s actions merited an immediate response that challenges this ideologically driven, unnecessary and unconstitutional rule.”
In a letter explaining his decision to implement the ban on firearms once the Senate convenes Jan. 8 for the 2018 legislative session, the lieutenant governor cited the rule that defines the Senate president’s duties. Fortunato said a closer review of the Senate’s rules reveal no authority to restrict firearms.
“As presiding officer of the Senate, the lieutenant governor can do many things to preserve the decorum of the proceedings,” said Fortunato. “However, violating the public’s constitutional rights is not one of those. People lawfully carrying a concealed weapon is not a disruption and this action is unenforceable for numerous reasons that I’ve pointed out in my letter.”