Response from Senator Tom Harkin (D, IA)

This is a discussion on Response from Senator Tom Harkin (D, IA) within the The Second Amendment & Gun Legislation Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; This is what I got in response to the letters I've been sending. So far this is the ONLY response I've gotten and it's likely ...

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Thread: Response from Senator Tom Harkin (D, IA)

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    Member Array J.Thompson's Avatar
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    Response from Senator Tom Harkin (D, IA)

    This is what I got in response to the letters I've been sending. So far this is the ONLY response I've gotten and it's likely just a form letter at that, but it's clear that Senator Harkin doesn't get it (see bold). He seems to be another one of those who think the Second Amendment was all about hunting. I would encourage anyone who wants their voices heard, to send him an e-mail. I'm in the process of writing my response as well.


    Mr. John Thompson
    xxxx xxxxx xx xxx xx
    Des Moines, IA 50310-4252

    Dear John:


    Thank you for contacting me regarding proposed gun safety measures and mental health reform. I appreciate hearing from you about these important topics.

    Like all Americans, I was deeply saddened by the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. What added to our grief as a nation was that it also came on the heels of mass gun shootings in Colorado, Arizona, Wisconsin, and the senseless acts of violence that occur every day throughout our country. In light of all of these events, it is apparent that far too many Americans, including children, are needlessly losing their lives. We must come together as a country to prevent future tragedies and the senseless loss of life, and to ensure that no American lives in fear.

    On January 17, 2013, the President put forward a specific plan to protect our children and communities by reducing gun violence. The plan includes legislative and executive action that combined would close background check loopholes, ban military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, equip schools with safety resources and equipment, and increase access to mental health services.

    As a hunter, I know that the recreational use and collection of guns is important to many Iowans and I will continue to work to protect the rights of law-abiding American gun owners. But we need to ask whether people need unlimited access to any arms, including those capable of shooting hundreds of bullets in a very short time. We can support gun rights while continuing to support responsible legislation to reduce crime and make our schools and communities safer. Each of these goals is important and I believe that they can be accomplished simultaneously.

    That is why, over the years, I have consistently supported common-sense measures to protect our communities. For example, in the past, I have voted in favor of legislation to close the loopholes on criminal background checks on gun purchases at gun shows, and to require gun manufacturers to include child safety locks on guns. I have also voted against a blanket liability exception for gun manufacturers and sellers.

    The tragedy at Newtown also shined a light on the state of our country's mental health care system. Over the past several months, I have heard from many Iowans about this issue, and their voices have been joined with people across the nation, including President Obama, calling for us to take a hard look at improving access to mental health services. In so doing, it is important to combat a common, insidious misconception that people with mental illness are inherently violent. In fact, individuals with mental illness are far more likely to be the victims of violence than the perpetrators. We must remember that this unfounded stereotype is an impediment to reform, not a window into it.

    With this in mind, on January 24, 2013, as Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, I convened a hearing to assess the state of America's mental health. We heard from expert government witnesses, as well as health care providers, mental health agencies, and patients. To view a webcast of this hearing, please visit US Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions: Home.

    The hearing highlighted some of the shortcomings of the mental health care system. To begin with, mental health illnesses are chronic diseases that disproportionately affect young people under the age of 24. Yet the system appears to be failing some of these people. Less than half of children with an identified mental illness receive treatment, and the average gap between the onset of symptoms and the receiving of treatment is nearly a decade. Failing to diagnose and treat mental illness early in life seriously - and needlessly - aggravates adult mental health illnesses.

    Shortcomings in diagnosis and treatment also spill over into other areas of society. For instance, a student struggling with a mental illness, like depression or anxiety, faces additional difficulties maintaining good grades and graduating on time. Our prisons are also overburdened by people who should be receiving treatment and substance abuse counseling as part of their rehabilitation.

    We know that when individuals with mental illnesses receive appropriate treatment and support, they can recover and lead productive, healthy lives. I am currently examining proposals to strengthen access to mental health services in our communities, in schools, and in the clinical setting. In addition, as Chairman of the Senate Appropriations subcommittee that funds federal health initiatives, I plan to take a close look at opportunities to strengthen funding measures. I am also heartened at the reforms we have already made. The landmark health insurance reform law, the Affordable Care Act (ACA), provides nearly 30 million previously-uninsured Americans with access to health insurance plans that will be required to include coverage for mental health and substance abuse services. Integrating primary care and mental health services will reduce barriers to care and lessen the stigma of mental illness.

    Again, thank you for sharing your views with me. Please do not hesitate to let me know how you feel on any issue that concerns you.



    Sincerely,

    Tom Harkin
    United States Senator

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    Member Array J.Thompson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by retsupt99 View Post
    Indeed.

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    Like "progressive" has become the code-word for "liberal",

    "I'm a hunter" is code for "I'm going to pretend that I'm in favor of 2A rights, until I can eradicate them".
    BugDude and 8th ID like this.
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    These politicians need to learn to condense these long replys down to: "I don't care about you." All that extra ink is costing the taxpayers a fortune in wasteful gov't spending.
    8th ID likes this.
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    Most of these politicians do not believe the people will hold
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    Re: Response from Senator Tom Harkin (D, IA)

    Good, somebody else got the same email response I did...

    I walked a picket line with Tom, I appreciated his support at the time, and I told him as much in my snail mail to him.

    That said, I also told him not to count on my vote, should he support any further 2nd A restrictions.

    Shortly thereafter, he announced his coming retirement (no causal relationship to my letter, I'm sure, LOL). I cannot hold him responsible, he's history anyway.

    I've told his prospective replacement, Rep. Braley, I will not vote for him, should he get the nomination, if he votes for any 2nd A restrictions.

    It's all I can do...
    Rats!
    It could be worse!
    I suppose

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    As a former Cyclone, and someone present in Ames when he first ran for Congress, I have a few comments.

    Start with don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. It is true he is resigning, age catches all of us,
    but he is a stand up guy even if you don't agree with him on one issue.

    Tom was a VN Vet. In recent years he has been a champion for everyone with disabilities.
    He worked very hard to get a new Amended Americans with Disabilities act passed in 2008, and
    it was signed into law by GWB. (Bipartisan please note.)

    The Amended ADA is a huge improvement over the older version and
    his understanding of folks with disabilities of whatever nature was essential to getting the AADA enacted into
    law.

    His interest in the health and well being of everyone, and especially as he emphasized in this line from his letter,

    " We know that when individuals with mental illnesses receive appropriate treatment and support, they can recover and lead productive, healthy lives. I am currently examining proposals to strengthen access to mental health services in our communities, in schools, and in the clinical setting. In addition, as Chairman of the Senate Appropriations subcommittee that funds federal health initiatives, I plan to take a close look at opportunities to strengthen funding measures. I am also heartened at the reforms we have already made," is genuine, and it is relevant to solving some of the issues our society
    has with lunatics in possession of weapons.

    I don't personally know him, but I know the positive result of his hard work on many people who have a
    health/disability issue which was being ignored by EEOC prior to the advent of the new AADA.
    And, I have reason to believe that in a couple of years the drugs tests which annoy many will be
    administered in a more sane manner; at least I heard that the new rules were in the regulatory proposal mill.

    "Just sayin," everyone puts their pants on the same way. Because you or I disagree with him on aspects
    of gun control doesn't mean we have an ethical right to bash him every which way with our typing fingers.

    This is a man who served Iowa and The United States with distinction for almost half a century if you
    count his VN service. Have some respect.
    If the Union is once severed, the line of separation will grow wider and wider, and the controversies which are now debated and settled in the halls of legislation will then be tried in fields of battle and determined by the sword.
    Andrew Jackson

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    Re: Response from Senator Tom Harkin (D, IA)

    I have never been a "litmus test" or one issue voter...Until now.

    I respect the democratic Senator from Iowa for being elected so many times, for working on bi-partisan issues with his R counterpart in Iowa, and for much of the work he has done...

    That said, I firmly believe that ANY FURTHER DEGRADATION of our 2nd Amendment rights, will be the beginning of the demise of this Republic Democracy.

    I cannot, in good conscience, vote for anyone who votes for ONE single, further infringement on that right.

    I wish him God Speed in his retirement... But, I will forever hold it against him, should any of the proposed Federal measures pass, if I feel he could have helped our cause rather than hinder it.

    It is what it is.
    Rats!
    It could be worse!
    I suppose

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    Quote Originally Posted by oakchas View Post
    I have never been a "litmus test" or one issue voter...Until now.

    I respect the democratic Senator from Iowa for being elected so many times, for working on bi-partisan issues with his R counterpart in Iowa, and for much of the work he has done...

    That said, I firmly believe that ANY FURTHER DEGRADATION of our 2nd Amendment rights, will be the beginning of the demise of this Republic Democracy.

    I cannot, in good conscience, vote for anyone who votes for ONE single, further infringement on that right.

    I wish him God Speed in his retirement... But, I will forever hold it against him, should any of the proposed Federal measures pass, if I feel he could have helped our cause rather than hinder it.

    It is what it is.
    I understand your deep feeling, but thought too it would be appropriate to note this from his letter:
    "We can support gun rights while continuing to support responsible legislation to reduce crime and make our schools and communities safer. Each of these goals is important and I believe that they can be accomplished simultaneously.


    So, if that makes sense to you or to anyone else, and if it is not taken as code for destroying gun owner rights,
    there certainly is a lot of legislation which could be enacted to reduce (gun) crime and make communities
    safer. I believe his personal Agenda centers on mental health and disabilities, and that he didn't intend
    to be blowing off the concerns of gun owners by spending almost 1/3 of his letter on those matters. And let's face it,
    those mental health areas are the points where a real difference can be made-- expanded mental health care availability,
    and cessation of placing stigma on those who seek such help.

    I'm not a one issue guy either, and for me the litmus test is how we take care of each other as part of
    one American family.

    @Oakchas, my comment about "showing some respect" wasn't aimed at you or anyone who had yet
    posted in this thread. I was just trying to point out that he is an honorable man who has served his state
    and country well for a very very long time, and I was hoping to forestall any ad hominem attacks
    on someone who really has been a force for overall good in our country.
    Last edited by Hopyard; February 14th, 2013 at 10:40 PM. Reason: edited for clarity on one point; you to your
    If the Union is once severed, the line of separation will grow wider and wider, and the controversies which are now debated and settled in the halls of legislation will then be tried in fields of battle and determined by the sword.
    Andrew Jackson

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    VIP Member Array oakchas's Avatar
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    Re: Response from Senator Tom Harkin (D, IA)

    Quote Originally Posted by Hopyard View Post
    I understand you deep feeling, but thought too it would be appropriate to note this from his letter:
    "We can support gun rights while continuing to support responsible legislation to reduce crime and make our schools and communities safer. Each of these goals is important and I believe that they can be accomplished simultaneously.


    So, if that makes sense to you or to anyone else, and if it is not taken as code for destroying gun owner rights,
    there certainly is a lot of legislation which could be enacted to reduce (gun) crime and make communities
    safer. I believe his personal Agenda centers on mental health and disabilities, and that he didn't intend
    to be blowing off the concerns of gun owners by spending almost 1/3 of his letter on those matters. And let's face it,
    those mental health areas are the points where a real difference can be made-- expanded mental health care availability,
    and cessation of placing stigma on those who seek such help.

    I'm not a one issue guy either, and for me the litmus test is how we take care of each other as part of
    one American family.

    @Oakchas, my comment about "showing some respect" wasn't aimed at you or anyone who had yet
    posted in this thread. I was just trying to point out that he is an honorable man who has served his state
    and country well for a very very long time, and I was hoping to forestall any ad hominem attacks
    on someone who really has been a force for overall good in our country.
    Hop,

    Unfortunately, Harkin has also used the "I'm a hunter, and you don't need...." Line.

    I believe he meant that. Which, to me, means he will vote to infringe upon our rights some more... And that, I cannot abide... But, I can not try to take a job away from one who is quitting it, or retiring from it.

    I can hope he can see the folly of more infringement, and vote against it.

    But, "If wishes were horses, beggars would ride."

    I don't see the potential necessity to purchase tack in the foreseeable future.
    Rats!
    It could be worse!
    I suppose

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    Member Array SP2710's Avatar
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    It must have been sent out e-mail day at Senator Harkin's office today, because I got the same one also. Here's what I got from Congressman Steve King last month.



    Thank you for contacting me with your opposition to the Assault Weapons Ban and other measures that have been proposed in the wake of the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School. It is good to hear from you.


    In the aftermath of the horrific tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT, President Obama has called for the implementation of an Assault Weapons Ban, the end of a so-called "Gun Show Loophole," limitations on the size of magazines, and other measures to be implemented through executive order. Taking steps to prevent tragedies like the terrible events that occurred in Newtown is a noble cause. If there are Constitutional steps that can be taken to avert future tragedies like Sandy Hook, Congress needs to consider them. However, all measures that we consider must be in accordance with the Constitution and be based on actual evidence that they will reduce violent crime, not merely based out of hostility towards all firearms.



    Reducing violence across our nation is a worthy goal, but it is imperative that the Constitutional rights of our citizens are not forgotten in the process. Our Founding Fathers recognized the importance of our right to keep and bear arms, and I remain steadfast in my conviction that the Second Amendment rights of every American must be upheld and protected. It was clear to the Founding Fathers, and it is clear to me, that the Second Amendment protects the individual's right to bear arms and that the right of the people to defend themselves against tyranny is the reason for the Second Amendment. We cannot disarm all law abiding Americans in an attempt to preempt a deranged individual. As Congress considers measures relating to firearms, I will be sure to keep your thoughts in mind.



    Once again, thank you for contacting me. Please don't hesitate to do so again in the future.







    Sincerely,



    Steve King
    Member of Congress

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    Distinguished Member Array tangoseal's Avatar
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    That is one whack response. Man we have a failed republic indeed.
    "I believe that the right of the citizen to keep and bear arms must not be infringed if liberty in America is to survive." - Ronald Reagan

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    As a hunter, I know that the recreational use and collection of guns is important to many Iowans and I will continue to work to protect the rights of law-abiding American gun owners. But.....
    That's the thing with Democrats.... The're all BUTTS!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by F350 View Post
    That's the thing with Democrats.... The're all BUTTS!!!
    That and the fact that I could give two dog squeezes less about hunting when my 2nd Amendment right clearly is not written for that purpose.
    "I believe that the right of the citizen to keep and bear arms must not be infringed if liberty in America is to survive." - Ronald Reagan

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