January 29th, 2013 06:04 PM
Responses from my (MI) Senators
First off, let me start off by...
Unfortunately, these aren't much of a surprise...
Thank you for contacting me about the tragic and senseless violence in Newtown, Connecticut. I appreciate you sharing your thoughts and concerns with me.
If there is anything that deeply unites Americans across the country it is our love for our children and grandchildren and our desire to keep them safe. In the wake of the heartbreaking tragedy at Sandy Hook elementary, all of us must come together to determine what steps can be taken to protect our children. That means discussing how we can strengthen our gun laws to help stop attacks like this from happening again, while protecting responsible gun ownership and preserving our hunting heritage. It also means strengthening mental health services, and focusing on the broader culture of violence in the media and our society. These solutions may not be easy, but one thing should be clear – complacency and inaction until the next attack must not be an option.
Thank you again for contacting me. Please continue to keep me informed about issues of concern to you and your family.
United States Senator
Dear Mr. XXXXX:
Thank you for contacting me about gun safety issues. I appreciate you sharing your views with me.
I support sensible gun safety laws and strict enforcement of those laws to help prevent crimes, suicides and violence committed with firearms. I support the steps President Obama outlined recently to curb the gun violence that plagues our nation, and I believe Congress can and should work to enact legislation to prevent gun violence without infringing on the rights of law-abiding citizens.
I was an original cosponsor of the Brady Law (P.L.103-159). This law requires prospective handgun purchasers to undergo criminal background checks before purchasing a firearm from a licensed dealer. The background check system is able to make 92 percent of background check determinations on the spot, and since 1994, has prevented more than 1.5 million firearm purchases. Additionally, according to Centers for Disease Control statistics, since the Brady Law went into effect, the number of gun deaths in the United States dropped 22 percent, from 39,595 in 1993 to 30,769 in 2007. The number of gun homicides dropped by more than 29 percent, from 17,024 in 1993 to 12,129 in 2007.
While the Brady Law has been successful in reducing gun violence, I believe more has to be done. For example, only 60 percent of all gun sales in the United States take place at licensed federal dealers, where background checks are mandatory. The remaining 40 percent of gun sales are conducted by unlicensed individual sellers, often at gun shows, and a background check is not required. This means that across our nation, any dangerous individual can go to a gun show and purchase a deadly weapon without any form of background check. To close this ‘gun show loophole,’ I am a cosponsor of the Gun Show Background Check Act. This bill would enact the common sense principle that anyone who wants to purchase a firearm at a gun show should be able to pass a simple background check. Ten national police organizations support closing this loophole.
Additionally, I am a cosponsor of the Denying Firearms and Explosives to Dangerous Terrorists Act, a bill that seeks to reduce gun violence by keeping firearms out of the hands of terrorists and criminals. Although hard to believe, nothing in current law prohibits individuals on terrorist watch lists from purchasing firearms, unless they fall into another disqualifying category. This “terror gap” in federal law must be closed, and this bill would do just that. This legislation would deny the transfer of a firearm when a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) background check reveals that the prospective purchaser is a known or suspected terrorist and the Attorney General has a reasonable belief that the purchaser may use the firearm in connection with terrorism. Keeping guns out of the hands of terrorists is just common sense.
I also have always supported the rights of sportsmen and hunters. Hunting is a way of life for millions of Americans and plays an integral role in modern wildlife management. But military style assault weapons have no sporting purpose. Because of these weapons, our nation’s citizens are in greater danger and police officers across the country are encountering criminals armed with highly lethal military style weapons.
To support our law enforcement community and to save lives, I am a cosponsor of the Assault Weapons Ban of 2013. This legislation would prevent the future possession, manufacture, sale and importation of assault-type weapons while grandfathering weapons lawfully possessed at the date of the bill’s enactment. It would ban firearms with detachable magazines and military style features, such as grenade launchers, protruding pistol grips, and barrel shrouds. It would support law enforcement officers across our nation, who should not be forced to confront lawbreakers toting military arms. And it would protect the rights of hunters by specifically naming thousands of firearms with legitimate sporting, sentimental or other value that would remain legal to possess.
This bill also would ban high capacity ammunition magazines. Studies have shown that high capacity ammunition magazines are used in 31 to 41 percent of fatal police shootings in cities across our nation. They also have been used by the perpetrators of numerous mass shootings, including at Columbine High School, Virginia Tech, the Tucson shooting of Representative Gabrielle Giffords and 19 others, the attack on a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, and the horrifying shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. The Newtown shooting alone left twenty six people dead, twenty of them children.
We must not wait until more places are added to this heartbreaking list. We can and should act swiftly to protect our families and loved ones from mass shootings. These measures have the overwhelming support of law enforcement communities around our nation, who have implored us to make changes to stop the flood of these types of weapons into the hands of those who would use them for harm. I will continue to work for common-sense gun safety measures.
Thank you again for contacting me.
January 29th, 2013 07:24 PM
Um, yeah no suprise here huh!
The sight of these two would make a billy goat puke.
They are reprehensible, as far as legislator's go.
If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.
Washington didn't use his freedom of speech to defeat the British, He shot them!
Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedy." -- Ernest Benn
January 29th, 2013 07:26 PM
Put them on the list to get replaced.
January 29th, 2013 09:19 PM
Responses from my (MI) Senators
That was a very disturbing letter filled with misleading statistics and propaganda. We are lucky here in Arkansas to have a great crop of 2nd Amendment supporting representatives. Just to show the stark difference, here is a letter from my Congressman, Tim Griffin.
Thank you for contacting me to express your concerns regarding gun control in America. It is very important for me to know your views, and I appreciate you taking the time to share them.
I appreciate hearing your concerns on this important issue and am carefully considering solutions to the issue of gun violence in America. Words cannot express the sorrow felt by myself and millions of Americans and individuals all around the world over the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. The murder of these innocent schoolchildren, their teachers, and administrators by a deranged killer is sickening and saddening. My thoughts and prayers are with the friends and families of these victims and the entire Newtown, Connecticut community as they recover from this horrific act of violence.
On January 16, 2013, President Obama announced his plans to curb gun violence in the United States along with 23 Executive Orders to address gun background checks, mental health and security in our nation's schools. You may view the specifics of the plan on the White House website here: http://www.whitehouse.gov/issues/pre...g-gun-violence. While I support many of the President's ideas addressing mental health and enforcing federal laws already on the books and understand the need to prevent these attacks and reduce gun-violence, I disagree with the President's proposed gun control legislation and believe that his proposals on restricting the rights of law-abiding citizens with tried-and-failed, anti-Second Amendment policies are counterproductive. I am committed to finding solutions that curb violence, not 'feel-good' legislation that leaves our children no safer and Americans less free.
First, I remain dedicated to working to prevent similar attacks from occurring in the future while also ensuring the protection of our Second Amendment rights. In the wake of this tragedy, individuals have called for increased restrictions on firearms, and it's important to assess all of the facts available - including that, currently, most hunting weapons and almost all pistols used for self-protection are semi-automatic. The idea offered by many that semi-automatic weapons are out of the mainstream and should be banned is inaccurate. Regarding legislating to prevent tragedies like that which occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the state of Connecticut has in place exactly the kinds of laws that gun control advocates claim will prevent tragedies like Newtown, yet those laws were ineffective at preventing this horrific attack.
It is important to note that the shooter in this incident, Adam Lanza, effectively stole the weapons he used in the attack. He did not purchase them, and they did not belong to him. In fact, according to media reports, when he tried to purchase a rifle just days before the attack, he was told there would be a waiting period. Moreover, Connecticut law requires gun owners to be at least 21, and Adam was only 20. Obviously the murderer, Adam Lanza, had no intention of following any laws, and I am not aware of any legislative proposal that would have changed that.
Some have argued that we should bring back the Federal Assault Weapons Ban, which was in force from 1994 to 2004. However, this ban was ineffective in preventing the Columbine High School shooting from happening in 1999. In a 1999 report by the National Institute of Justice, Impacts of the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban: 1994-96, criminologists Jeffrey Roth and Christopher Koper examined the effects of the federal assault weapons ban in its first two years of operation and found no statistically significant reduction in murder rates. According to the report: "The ban did not produce declines in the average number of victims per incident of gun murder or gun murder victims with multiple wounds." The study also concluded that "any assault-weapons ban that does not ban firearms that are equally lethal (such as those many Americans already own) is ineffective." An assault weapons ban would not have prevented a high school shooting in California on January 10, 2013, that was committed with a shotgun.
Further, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, a strong advocate for strict gun control policies, highlights the strong gun laws of Connecticut. According to the Campaign's website: "Connecticut has strong gun laws that help combat the illegal gun market, prevent the sale of most guns without background checks and reduce risks to children." In the campaign's 2009 state scorecards released for all 50 states, Connecticut earned 53 points out of a total of 100 and had the nation's fourth strongest gun laws. According to reports, the rifle used in the Newtown shooting was a .223-caliber Bushmaster M4 carbine. This firearm was legal under Connecticut's current assault weapon ban.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) introduced legislation, S. 150, on January 24, 2013, that would ban the sale and manufacture of more than 150 guns, including a number of handguns and rifles. Many of these firearms are targeted simply because of their appearance. The legislation also bans magazines holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition. Sen. Feinstein's bill is more of the same tried and failed gun control measures that many of her Democrat colleagues oppose. Sen. Feinstein's bill will do nothing to stop heinous criminal acts like the Newtown tragedy. It will only further prevent law-abiding citizens from exercising their Second Amendment rights while doing little to prevent criminals from obtaining these weapons. Sen. Feinstein's bill has little chance of passing the Senate, but I will review any House legislation carefully.
I understand your concerns regarding this tragic attack and similar attacks that have occurred in the United States. I know that we as a nation must have a serious conversation and find effective solutions and laws on the federal, state, and local level to prevent these attacks in the future. I believe one effective way to address this issue is to take a closer look at the mental health care laws and services in the United States as well as our crude and violence-laced culture.
As a member of the Congressional Health Care Caucus, I am working to build awareness and to educate my colleagues about the importance of mental health to promote developments in research, treatments, programs, and services. I am committed to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to make insurance more accessible and affordable for those with mental illnesses. One way to do this is to ensure that all Americans, regardless of race, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status, receive access to mental health services and treatment. I believe that we have long overdue work to do in health care for mental health.
In times of national tragedy, it is understandable that people would demand action to respond to tragedies and to prevent these tragedies in the future. I am committed to working with my colleagues to enact effective solutions without infringing on Americans' Constitutional rights.
Again, thank you for contacting me. It is an honor to represent Arkansas's Second Congressional District, and your input allows me to do my best in representing the District. Please do not hesitate to contact me at my Little Rock office at (501) 324-5941, and my Washington, D.C. office at (202) 225-2506. You can visit me online and choose to receive my e-newsletters at Griffin.House.gov. I'm also online at Facebook.com/RepTimGriffin, Twitter.com/RepTimGriffin, and YouTube.com/RepTimGriffin.
Member of Congress
January 29th, 2013 09:46 PM
I have called both of my senators and my representative and they are all on my side of things. It is depressing that I can not have any effect on the debate as all that I have direct voter impact with agree with my sentiments.
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