Thank you for contacting me regarding the tragic events in Newtown, Connecticut and the potential legislative responses currently being considered by Congress. I appreciate hearing from you and welcome the opportunity to respond.
Mere words are not enough to describe the grief I feel from the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary school. The lives of twenty beautiful children and six brave adults were taken far too soon; a parent should never have to bury their child. I know I share the sentiments of every American during this tragic time.
Upon taking office, I swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. As such, I am committed to preserving the right of law-abiding citizens to purchase, own, and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment. The shootings at Sandy Hook should not be used to promote an infringement on our Constitutional rights. In a free society like ours, it is an unfortunate reality that the government cannot prevent every evil and tragic event from occurring.
Semi-automatic firearms were introduced more than a century ago. They account for about 15 percent of the more than 250 million privately-owned firearms in the United States, and are used for the same purposes that other firearms are, including self-defense, hunting, and recreational and competitive target shooting. The term "assault weapons" is a general one used by the media and anti-gunners to intentionally blur the line between fully automatic firearms, which have been banned since the 1930's and semi-automatics, which are common and popular firearms.
It is my position that we do not need to enact another assault weapons ban. Evidence and FBI crime statistics have shown that the first attempt at a ban in 1994 did not produce any noticeable reductions in crime rates, which were already trending downward before the ban was enacted. More focus should be placed on the laws currently in place and on our nation's mental health system.
Our founding fathers included the Second Amendment in the Constitution in order to ensure citizens could defend themselves against all enemies, foreign and domestic, and we must never forget or compromise this right. Please know that I will fight the Administration and my colleagues in Congress at every turn in their attempts to restrict law-abiding American's right to purchase and own guns.
Again, thank you for contacting me regarding this important issue. Please feel free to call my office at (202) 225-7041 should you have any further questions or concerns about this or any other issue, or visit my website at Congressman Sam Graves : Home
for more information.