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Sen. Tom Coburn vows to keep up fight for expanded gun rights on federal lands

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Sen. Tom Coburn says that it is just a matter of time before the Senate passes the proposal it rejected this week that would allow gun owners to carry their weapons on federal lands managed by the Army Corps of Engineers in states where carrying weapons is legal already.

Mr. Coburn, Oklahoma Republican, said during an appearance on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" Thursday that he plans to go on a public relations blitz that aims to show the public that expanding this gun right could decreases criminal activity on these lands.

"I will eventually get it [passed] because it makes sense," Mr. Coburn said. "What I will do is publicize every rape that goes on on corps lands and every murder, and I will say, 'These wouldn't have happened, or a good portion of them wouldn't have happened, if we passed this amendment.' "

The amendment failed Wednesday on a 56-42 vote, putting it four votes shy of the 60 needed to be adopted under Senate rules.

"The fact is we ought to be worried about making sure that people who shouldn't have guns — people on the do not buy list — do not get them, rather than restricting those who are good, great, citizens from carrying out their own responsibilities and expressing their Second Amendment Rights," Mr. Coburn said.

Mr. Coburn compared the proposal to a measure he pushed through the Senate years ago that expanded the right to carry firearms on National Park Service lands.

"Remember in 2010? Everybody said, 'You can't dare let guns go into the national parks,' and, of course, the rapes murders and robberies and assaults are down about 85 percent since we did that," Mr. Coburn said. "The fact is violence has decreased, safety is up, and the only place you can't do that is on corps lands. Corps lands has more visitors, more rapes, more murders, more violence than we ever had in parks, but, for some reason, they don't want us to give them the ability to express their Second Amendment right."

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