AmmoLand's John Crump gets to talk with U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith who is an excellent ally of hunters & gun owners in the U.S. Senate with an “A” rating from NRA-PVF.
Washington D.C. –-(Ammoland.com)- Cindy Hyde-Smith is the junior United States Senator from the state of Mississippi. Governor Phil Bryant appointed her to the office in April of 2018 when Thad Cochran resigned from the seat. She won a special runoff election on November 27 against Democrat Mike Epsy.
Sen. Hyde-Smith wasn't always a Republican. She represented the 39th district of Mississippi in the state's legislature as a Democrat. It was here where her conservative beliefs fell out of line with the Democratic party. She decided she needed to follow her conscious and switch parties to GOP.
Before her appointment, the Senator was the first woman elected as the Mississippi Agriculture Commissioner in 2011. A position she was uniquely suited to hold because she is married to a cattle farmer. The people of Mississippi reelected her to that office in 2015.
In the short time the Mississippi native has been in the U.S. Senate she has already made a splash. She sponsored and helped passed bills to allow states to extend the duck hunting season and legislation to combat chronic wasting disease (CWD). She is also the co-sponsored of the Constitutional Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2019 as well as other bills.
I had a chance to interview the Senator about her background, the bills she has supported and those that she has opposed. I also had an opportunity to find out how it is working with the left side of the aisle in Congress.
John: A lot of the bills you have co-sponsored have to do with hunting. You introduced legislation allowing states to extend the duck hunting season, and legislation to combat chronic wasting disease (CWD). Did you grow up around hunting?
Sen. Hyde-Smith: My legislative efforts are reflective of the interests and priorities expressed to me by Mississippi constituents, rather than my own. But that’s not to say hunting isn’t a part of the Hyde-Smith family. I enjoy hunting.
My daughter Anna-Michael, who got a lifetime membership to the NRA on her second birthday, is an avid hunter. I remember her harvesting her first deer when she was only 11-years old.
Hunting is a billion-dollar industry in Mississippi. Over the past year, I’ve heard from many Mississippians about the duck season issue, as well as the growing threat of Chronic Wasting Disease.
John: In 2010 you switched from a registered Democrat to a registered Republican. Why did you switch parties?
Sen. Hyde-Smith: I’ve been a conservative all my life. Back in 1999, the people of my area deserved better representation in the Mississippi Legislature, so I did what was necessary to unseat the Democratic incumbent.
But judge me by my record. You’ll find I have a strong conservative record throughout my time in the Mississippi legislature, as Agriculture Commissioner, and United States Senate. I have a 100 percent pro-life rating. I’ve been with President Trump every step of the way. I’m a lifetime member of the NRA, need I say more?
John: How different is it serving in the US Senate compared to the Mississippi State Senate?
Sen. Hyde-Smith: The scope and the pace of the being a United State Senator is worlds apart from being a state senator. I’m enjoying the honor to represent the entire state and all its residents. This fast pace presents specific challenges and opportunities to act on issues that can benefit my state.
I’m interested in representing the values of the people in my state, and that includes defense of our Second Amendment rights, which are being tested in a lot of troubling ways all across the country.
John: One of the bills you co-sponsored is the Constitutional Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2019. Can you give us an update on its status?
Sen. Hyde-Smith: I’m a Mississippi enhanced-carry permit holder, and I firmly believe law-abiding gun owners with concealed carry permits should be able to carry them in states with right-to-carry laws. I’m proud to cosponsor Senator Cornyn’s Constitutional Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act.
That bill has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee, and I hope the committee will take it up. We can be skeptical about how most Democrats in Congress will view this common-sense, states’ rights legislation; we just have to keep up the fight to support the rights of gun owners.
John: The Gun-owner Registration Information Protection Act (GRIP Act) is another bill that you co-sponsored. That bill ensures federal funding cannot be used by states to form gun registries. Why is it important to make sure states don't use federal funds for these registries?
Sen. Hyde-Smith: Quite simply, we need to close any loopholes that are being used by some states to get around this law. We are already seeing states, and even Democrats in the House, ramp up their gun control efforts. The far-left would like nothing better than to track legal gun owners. My GRIP Act is a solid attempt to ensure federal law is enforced.
John: Why did you oppose the Penny Bill which would have cut federal spending by 1% over five years?
Sen. Hyde-Smith: The first bill I introduced in January was an amendment to the Constitution requiring the President to submit, and Congress to approve, a balanced budget each year. I believe the growing deficit and debt will catch up with us. We need a process to ensure balanced budgets are in place before our indebtedness becomes an even more significant threat to our economy and our national security.
The so-called Penny Plan was a budget gimmick that would have harmed Mississippi, gutted our military, and veteran’s benefits, without doing enough to cut wasteful spending. This proposal would’ve done more to hurt our military than eight years of President Obama, whose administration cut defense spending by more than $150 billion. It’s also telling that neither President Trump nor the Defense Secretary supported it.
John: Why do you think the majority of Democrats in Congress oppose gun rights as vigorously as they do?
Sen. Hyde-Smith: I think a lot of the opposition to gun rights on the left is optics, mostly to appeal to their liberal base. However, there are some out there who genuinely don’t believe Americans should have the right to bear arms, or that America would be a safer place if we enacted stricter gun laws, which would merely result in law-abiding citizens getting rid of their guns while criminals and terrorists kept theirs. I’ve never understood it – never will.
John: It seems like the new Democrats in Congress are very left-leaning. Most of these new members are in the House, and you are in the Senate. Have you worked with any of these members yet, and if so, how difficult is it to work with people with the complete opposite view as you?
Sen. Hyde-Smith: I haven’t had the pleasure of working with too many House members yet, but I have had to work with Senate Democrats on the Appropriations and Agriculture committees. I don’t think a responsible lawmaker can rule out working with anyone if you share a common goal. That said, I’ll stick to my guns when it comes to upholding my conservative principles and doing what’s best for my state and the country.
John: Some of your colleagues want a new “assault weapons” ban. Even the Clinton era Justice Department said that the last ban was ineffective. Why do you think they are so insistent on a new ban when the old one didn't work?
Sen. Hyde-Smith: Again, optics mostly…to appeal to their liberal base. But, how would “assault weapons” be defined? To me, it sounds like a disguised attempt to chip away at the Second Amendment slowly. Start going down that path, in a few years liberal Democrats will want to call a single shot 20-gage an “assault rifle.”
John: Last question. If there was a bill up for a vote that would ban bump stocks, would you vote for or against it?
Sen. Hyde-Smith: I’m not sure legislation regarding bump stocks will be offered after the Supreme Court denied a temporary hold on the ban. I’m curious about just how the ATF is going to go about enforcing it and if a lot of law-abiding gun owners run afoul of the ban.
The mass shooting in Las Vegas was horrific, but I’m very concerned that the bump stock ban could set a precedent for other administrative restrictions down the road. So, the answer to your question is no. I would vote against it.
AmmoLand would like to thank Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith for her candid answers to questions that gun owners have for their representatives.
- Readers can find out more about Senator Hyde-Smith at www.hydesmith.senate.gov
About John Crump
John is an NRA instructor and a constitutional activist. He is the former CEO of Veritas Firearms, LLC and is the co-host of The Patriot-News Podcast which can be found at www.blogtalkradio.com/patriotnews. John has written extensively on the patriot movement including 3%'ers, Oath Keepers, and Militias. In addition to the Patriot movement, John has written about firearms, interviewed people of all walks of life, and on the Constitution. John lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and sons and is currently working on a book on leftist deplatforming methods and can be followed on Twitter at @crumpyss, on Facebook at realjohncrump, or at www.crumpy.com.