Our nation’s founders painstakingly created one of the most lasting documents in human history — the United States Constitution. For 225 years, our “unalienable rights” of life and liberty, combined with limits placed on the power of the federal government, have served as the cornerstones of America.

Members of Congress take an oath to “support and defend the Constitution.” There is no more important duty. If honored with this profound responsibility, I will research every issue in order to make the best decision for the people of Maine’s 2nd Congressional District while ensuring to uphold the Constitution.

An important part of our founding document is the Second Amendment, which clearly states “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” The Maine Constitution states that right “shall never be questioned.” Even so, some wish to mold rather than simply read the Constitution. That’s why it’s so important to have a 2nd District representative who understands the history and relevance of gun ownership today in Maine. I do.

Maine residents have a long history of safe and law-abiding gun ownership. We have one of the highest rates of firearms possession and one of the lowest rates of gun violence in the country. That’s why, last year, Maine Republicans and Democrats stood together to shield the public identity of residents with concealed firearms permits. That bipartisan outpouring of support for our constitutional rights was a breath of fresh air for freedom-loving Mainers.

Maine is home to some of the most avid outdoorsmen and women in the country. Few states can match the rural wilderness cherished by us Mainers. For generations, 2nd District families have responsibly used firearms to enjoy our long tradition of hunting and target shooting, and to ensure the protection of ourselves, our rights and our property. I still enjoy my .22-caliber lever-action rifle that I bought at age 14.

I’m a strong supporter of our Second Amendment rights. I do not support, and never have, the extreme objectives of national gun control groups, such as a federal directory of gun owners or expanded background checks.

Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution states the paramount importance to “provide for the common defense.” Members of Congress are required to defend our country and its citizens and property. Before voting to commit our brave uniformed sons and daughters to military conflict, I will insist that the president explain the national security and military objectives of the action; when and how to exit the conflict; and what the financial cost is expected to be. I will not vote to get involved in the bloody Syrian civil war, since it doesn’t threaten our national security.

The First Amendment to the Constitution includes our bedrock rights of free speech and assembly. It appears that the executive branch of the federal government abused its power by using the feared Internal Revenue Service to harass and intimidate Americans who hold different (conservative) political views. If proven true, those responsible for breaking the law must be held accountable.

For several years, the National Security Agency has systematically tracked and collected our emails, phone calls and other communications. Notwithstanding the counter-terrorism purpose and provisions of the Patriot Act, this surveillance activity of lawful Americans likely violates of our Fourth Amendment right against “unreasonable searches and seizures.” If so, these activities must stop; our laws should be tightened; and violators should be prosecuted.

Today, some liberal public officials feel that our Constitution is an old-fashioned document no longer reflecting the values of our nation and citizens. At times, they use this excuse, aided by the courts, to interpret the Constitution in a way that bends the law to advance their political agendas. This is wrong and should be exposed and stopped at every turn.

If privileged to serve as Maine’s next 2nd District congressman, I will diligently support and defend the Constitution of the United States. I understand the importance of protecting our hard-earned American liberties, prosperity and way of life.

Republican Bruce Poliquin is seeking the 2nd Congressional District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.