Gerald E. Connolly (D, VA) letter & Demorat thinking in the House
This is a discussion on Gerald E. Connolly (D, VA) letter & Demorat thinking in the House within the The Second Amendment & Gun Legislation Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; Connolly responding for my pro Second Amendment response to legislation that I registered using POPVOX.COM
My congressman's answer (below) must have been written by Mayors ...
March 15th, 2013 03:23 PM
Gerald E. Connolly (D, VA) letter & Demorat thinking in the House
Connolly responding for my pro Second Amendment response to legislation that I registered using POPVOX.COM
My congressman's answer (below) must have been written by Mayors Against Illegal Guns.
He is quoting this survey: "In May, Luntz conducted a poll for Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a group backed by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg that pushes for stricter gun control measures. The poll found both NRA members and gun owners strongly supported mandatory criminal background checks for anyone purchasing a gun and support requiring gun owners to report lost or stolen guns to the police."
Reference: Frank Luntz: NRA not listening to public - Kevin Robillard - POLITICO.com
My comments (in parenthesis & red).
March 15, 2013
Thank you for contacting me to express your opposition to certain gun safety proposals, particularly banning "assault weapons" and "large" ammunition magazines. I appreciate your taking the time to share your views with me, and I appreciate the feedback I have received from constituents throughout the 11th District addressing the regulation of firearms and upholding Second Amendment rights. As you can imagine, a large community such as ours boasts a broad and diverse set of views on gun regulation, ranging from individuals who accuse me of doing too little for not favoring an outright ban on all firearms, to individuals who accuse me of doing too much for not favoring the absolute abolishment of all firearm laws and regulations, to everything in between.
Our community's wide range of opinions and perspectives on gun policy has enabled me to hear firsthand from constituents and gain an understanding of the varying policy preferences in our District. I have worked hard to avoid rigid dogma while considering various legislative proposals, and I am committed to striking a reasonable balance that protects the right of law-abiding citizens to possess firearms, without hampering public safety or law enforcement capabilities to solve violent crimes. To be absolutely clear, I have sworn to support and defend the Constitution of the United States, and I believe the U.S. Constitution protects the right of Americans' to keep and bear arms.
I am committed to protecting and upholding the sacred Second Amendment rights that millions of law-abiding, gun-owning Americans hold dear, a group that includes many of my Republican and Democratic friends and colleagues in Congress, members of my staff, and thousands of our neighbors in the 11th District. In fact, I believe my former colleague, the Honorable Gabby Giffords of Arizona, and her husband, Mark Kelly, eloquently captured the views of many who might fall under the "sensible center" with respect to gun safety laws:
Forget the boogeyman of big, bad government coming to dispossess you of your firearms. As a Western woman and a Persian Gulf War combat veteran who have exercised our Second Amendment rights, we don't want to take away your guns any more than we want to give up the two guns we have locked in a safe at home. What we do want is what the majority of NRA members and other Americans want: responsible changes in our laws to require responsible gun ownership and reduce gun violence.
On that note, I am hopeful that moving forward, our community can find common ground to advance reasonable policies that protect gun rights and improve gun safety, and which would carry the support of all Americans, including law-abiding, card-carrying members of the National Rifle Association (NRA).
I actually was surprised to learn that the prominent Republican strategist and pollster Frank Luntz conducted a poll that found NRA members and gun owners overwhelmingly support common-sense gun safety measures. According to the results of the Luntz survey, I actually share many of the views held by rank and file NRA members and non-NRA gun owners. For example:
· 87 percent of NRA members agree that support for Second Amendment rights goes hand-in-hand with keeping guns out of the hands of criminals; (agree)
· 74 percent of NRA members and 87 percent of non-NRA gun owners support requiring criminal background checks of anyone purchasing a gun; (I don't think so)
· 79 percent of NRA members and 80 percent of non-NRA gun owners support requiring gun retailers to perform background checks on all employees – a measure recently endorsed by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the trade association for the firearms industry; (probably true)
· NRA members strongly support allowing States – not the Federal Government – to set basic eligibility requirements for people who want to carry concealed, loaded guns in public places, with 91 percent of NRA members stating States should decide; (probably true)
· 75 percent of NRA members believe concealed carry permits should only be granted to applicants who have not committed any violent misdemeanors, including assault; (probably not true; yes for felonies, but no for misdemeanors)
· 74 percent of NRA members believe permits should only be granted to applicants who have completed gun safety training; (No issue, probably true)
· 68 percent of NRA members believe permits should only be granted to applicants who do not have prior arrests for domestic violence; (probably not true; yes for felonies, but no for misdemeanors)
· 63 percent of NRA members believe permits should only be granted to applicants 21 years of age or older; (probably true)
· 71 percent of NRA members support barring people on terror watch lists from buying guns; (probably true; however people probably don't know that there are a lot of erroneous names on that list i.e. Ted Kennedy name was on the list, but not correct)
· 64 percent of NRA members believe the law should require gun owners to alert police to lost and stolen guns; and (probably true, but should not be a crime if you don't tell them in XX hours, etc.)
· 69 percent of NRA members believe there should be no restrictions on law enforcement use of criminal gun trace data to conduct criminal investigations and dismantle illegal gun trafficking networks. (probably true, but would be used to justify UBC & registrtaion)
(The way these questions were asked, they don't sound unreasonable until you think about how they will be used to justify UBC, registration, stop National Right to Carry Reciprocity, ban "assault weapons", magazines, etc.)
I am inclined to agree with Mr. Luntz's conclusion. He said, "I don't think the NRA is listening. I don't think they understand most Americans would protect the Second Amendment rights and yet agree with the idea that not every human being should own a gun, not every gun should be available at anytime, anywhere, for anyone." (Wrong!)
A more recent poll of Virginia voters by Quinnipiac University showed 58 of Virginians support banning the sale of assault-style weapons and 59 percent support banning the sale of large or high-capacity ammunition magazines. I share the assessment of retired four-star General Stanley McChrystal that there is no need for military-style assault rifles in our communities, particularly our schools. I believe the General's comments on gun safety are worth considering:
"I spent a career carrying typically either a M16, and later a M4 carbine. And a M4 carbine fires a .223 caliber round, which is 5.56 millimeters, at about 3,000 feet per second. When it hits a human body, the effects are devastating. It's designed to do that. That's what our soldiers ought to carry. I personally don't think there's any need for that kind of weaponry on the streets and particularly around the schools in America. (We don't carry military weapons. Is he proposing that the caliber be eliminated? Why not 7.62 then, an even more potent round.)
I believe that we've got to take a serious look – I understand everybody's desire to have whatever they want – but we have to protect our children and our police and we have to protect our population. And I think we have to take a very mature look at that. I think we have to look at the situation in America. The number of people killed by firearms is extraordinary compared to other nations. I don't think we're a bloodthirsty culture, and we need to look at everything we can do to safeguard our people."
The Quinnipiac poll also found 66 percent of Virginians oppose efforts to allow educators to carry concealed weapons in our schools. I strongly believe that the Second Amendment ensures that law-abiding citizens have the right to keep and bear arms, but I agree that guns do not belong in schools. In fact, I was pleased to hear the statement of New Jersey's Republican Governor, Chris Christie, who when asked about the National Rifle Association's proposal to place armed guards in every school, stated "You don't want to make this an armed camp for kids, I don't think that's a positive example for children. We should be able to figure out other ways to enhance safety."
I recognize that just as there are millions of law-abiding Americans who exercise their right under the First Amendment to enjoy violent movies or video games without ever committing a violent crime, there are also millions of law-abiding Americans who exercise their right under the Second Amendment to enjoy owning a firearm without ever committing a violent crime.
Further, I believe that just as our Nation accepts that we can uphold our First Amendment rights, while simultaneously implementing reasonable regulations of artistic expression, such as implementing age-restrictions for certain movies or video games, we can uphold our sacred Second Amendment rights, while simultaneously implementing reasonable regulations to improve the safety of gun ownership in America, many of which are listed above.
In addition, another critical issue that the mainstream media has failed to devote enough attention to is the fact that the vast majority – I believe nearly 100 percent – of firearms dealers are law-abiding, dedicated businessmen who follow the law and do everything they can to prevent sales of firearms to criminals.
Unfortunately, the admirable practices of legal firearms dealers in the United States has not received proper recognition, an oversight that also explains why the media has failed to understand that efforts to close "the gun show loophole" are not aimed at preventing the sale of firearms outright, but meant to level the playing field for licensed firearm dealers and protect legitimate gun dealers from being undercut by unscrupulous gun show sellers who do not exercise the same level of caution or care. (What BS)The public seems to understand this common-sense reform, and the recent Quinnipiac poll shows 92 percent of Virginians favor requiring background checks for purchases at gun shows.
Surely as a Nation we can find a way to require major gun show dealers to follow the same laws and regulations that apply to brick and mortar dealers, (Blatant false statements) while protecting family members who wish to sell firearms to each other, or pass along family heirlooms, from onerous regulation. Unfortunately, it appears that interest groups and firearms manufacturers are doing everything they can to transform what should be a thoughtful, civil conversation into a polarizing debate. (Debate .. riiiight. Just like Moran's town hall last week)
I have been accused of trying to dismantle the Second Amendment for simply asking whether high-powered, military-style semi-automatic firearms with large-capacity magazines – which were used in the D.C. sniper murders, the attempted assassination of Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, and the mass shootings in Aurora and Newtown – should be readily available to the general public. Or for wondering whether the Second Amendment applies to weapons such as the FIM-92 Stinger missile launcher, a personal portable infrared homing surface-to-air missile platform capable of downing commercial aircraft.
Clearly such weapons are not intended for traditional hunting, and it is debatable whether they are the most effective firearms for use in home or self-defense. Even avowed conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, in an interview on Fox News, recognized that certain gun safety measures are constitutional, and it is a shame that attempting to initiate a discussion with respect to making gun ownership safer for all Americans guarantees that one will be branded as an enemy of the Second Amendment by special interests.
I also believe that we need to strengthen mental health support across the Nation. We must strengthen State record sharing resources and requirements to bolster the National Instant Background Check System (NICS). This need was tragically exposed by the Virginia Tech shooter Seung-Hui Cho and the Tucson shooter Jared Loughner, individuals who only passed background checks because disqualifying information about mental illness and criminal drug abuse were not entered into the NICS due to lax record sharing compliance by States.
Once again, thank you for sharing your views on firearms regulation and the Second Amendment. Even though we may have differences of opinion in regard to certain aspects of gun laws and regulation, I hope it is clear that I do not approach this issue lightly, and I genuinely desire to reach consensus on commonsense gun safety measures that reflect the popular will of the 11th District. I believe the Luntz survey provides an excellent framework for moving forward, presenting promising policy proposals that carry broad support among gun-owners and non-gun owners alike. For more information on my views on other issues, please feel free to visit my website at Congressman Gerry Connolly : Home. I also encourage you to visit the website to sign up for my e-newsletter.
Gerald E. Connolly
Member of Congress
11th District, Virginia
How do you debate with people who are so deceitful & dishonest? This is what we are facing & why we have to keep calling & writing. Let them know that despite their Horse Hockey, there are a lot of people out here that disagree with their assault on the Second Amendment!
Ten Bears: It's sad that governments are chiefed by the double tongues. There is iron in your words of death for all Comanche to see, and so there is iron in your words of life. No signed paper can hold the iron. It must come from men.
March 15th, 2013 03:51 PM
You cant debate with someone whose mind was made up before you started talking. Each and everything in that letter from background checks to mental health to preventing this and that and the other thing by some law even if 100 percent of NRA members support it is an infringement on 2A, illegal, and Constitutionally null and void no matter who supports or passes it gun owner or no gun owner court congress or president. Sorry but facts are facts thems the facts. Lot dont like it but truth is truth.
You dont have to believe a train is coming. Itll run over you anyway.
March 15th, 2013 07:43 PM
Honestly, it's not a bad letter for a Dem. Kaine & Warner's responses were worse. He sounds like he loves statistics. I'd hit him with the the FBI statistics on violent crime that show rifles are are used in < 3% and hammers are used to kill more people than guns.
I always aim for the right eye...and I never miss - Goldeneye
March 16th, 2013 10:56 AM
Hmmm. SIGPAPA, Rep Connolly cites statistics from a Republican (presumably comservative) pollster to reach his conclusions and your authority is your opinion--an opinion which you use to call him deceitful and dishonest. What's wrong with this picture? Seems like you are in the minority whether you like it or not. Poll results are facts; your opinion is not.
March 16th, 2013 01:44 PM
Poll results are facts? That's a new one. Not only are they NOT fact, they aren't even reliable beyond the group of people questioned.
I am one of those NRA members who doesn't think the NRA is listening. The NRA has their own interest in mind first and foremost. Never, ever forget that. The only person excessively worried about your interests is you.
Concealed means hidden from ordinary observation so as to prevent disclosure or recognition. A deadly weapon is concealed when it is carried on or about the person in such a manner that another person in the ordinary course of events would not be placed on notice that the weapon was being carried.
March 16th, 2013 02:07 PM
Facts? Your yes or no answer to the question "are you still beating your wife?" is a fact. Poll questions and answers are subject to a lot of interpretation.
Originally Posted by keboostman
After all, who is opposed to "common sense" gun laws? Nobody. Is the definition of "common sense" subject to debate? Of course.