Several conservative lawmakers and news makers responded to President Barack Obama’s gun control announcement yesterday.
The Vice President’s committee was appointed in response to the tragedy at Newtown, but very few of his recommendations have anything to do with what happened there. Guns require a finger to pull the trigger. The sad young man who did that in Newtown was clearly haunted by demons and no gun law could have saved the children in Sandy Hook Elementary from his terror.
There is evil prowling in the world – it shows up in our movies, video games and online fascinations, and finds its way into vulnerable hearts and minds. As a free people, let us choose what kind of people we will be. Laws, the only redoubt of secularism, will not suffice. Let us all return to our places of worship and pray for help. Above all, let us pray for our children.
“In fact, the piling on by the political left, and their cohorts in the media – to use the massacre of little children to advance a pre-existing political agenda that would not have saved those children – disgusts me personally. The second amendment to the Constitution is a basic right of free people and cannot be, nor will it be, abridged by the executive power of this or any other president.
Congressman Steve King (R-IA):
If there are Constitutional steps that can be taken to avert future tragedies like Sandy Hook, Congress needs to consider them. Taking steps to prevent tragedies like the terrible events that occurred in Newtown is a noble cause,” said King. “This is the latest attempt by the President to legislate through emotion, but doing so does not lead to quality legislation.
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. 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.
Former Presidential Candidate Rick Santorum:
President Obama’s gun control recommendations fall far short in addressing the real issue here – putting an end to gun violence. While the president did propose some reasonable measures, I’m disappointed, yet not surprised, to see so much emphasis on gun control and not enough on key contributors to mass shootings – mental illness and the impact of the entertainment industry’s glorification of violence. As a strong supporter of the second amendment, I take issue with the Obama administration’s effort to take more control of our lives on the gun issue, when we already have reasonable accommodations in place. We have seen time and time again, when law-abiding citizens have used their legal firearms as a means of self protection; our government cannot stand in the way of that. I come from a state with a rich heritage of hunting and fishing, and will fight to protect our right to bear arms for the sake of the freedoms we cherish as a nation.
Karen and I want to offer our continued prayers to the victims and families of the Sandy Hook tragedy. During a crisis such as this, we are reminded of our most important role as a society – the safety and security of our children.
Congressman Tom Latham (R-IA):
I can’t think of any parent, grandparent or concerned American that does not share my belief that we all need to work together to protect citizens and prevent horrific acts of violence.
Congress and federal agencies have been studying and discussing measures that begin addressing all relevant issues to prevent such tragedies from happening in the future. The President has now put forth his proposals, and Members of Congress will continue to develop theirs.
And while I always support having a vigorous and thorough debate on the important issues facing our nation, I continue to believe that we must ensure any Congressional or executive action pertaining to firearm regulations should not erode the rights we are guaranteed in our Constitution. Our federal government is designed so that the legislative branch makes the laws and the executive branch enforces them. It is always vital that we avoid drifting from this, including now, as we weigh the President’s proposals and Congress develops its own solutions.
In upholding our Second Amendment rights, we must also be mindful not to diminish the tragedy of recent events and the work to find sensible ways to prevent such horrors from occurring in the future. No person of sound mind could commit mass gun violence, and it is important that we consider mental health and other root causes that contribute to these terrible crimes as we move forward with this debate.
I look forward to working with my colleagues and Iowa citizens to better protect our children, our families, and the Constitution of the United States.
As the father of four young children, I was deeply saddened by the murder of innocent kids at Sandy Hook. In the aftermath of this terrible tragedy, I expressed my hope that President Obama and our elected leaders would take a sober look at how we can prevent such heinous murders in the future. Doing so would require addressing the underlying causes of these evil acts, and keeping guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill without curtailing the 2nd Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens.
Nothing the President is proposing would have stopped the massacre at Sandy Hook. President Obama is targeting the 2nd Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens instead of seriously addressing the real underlying causes of such violence. Rolling back responsible citizens’ rights is not the proper response to tragedies committed by criminals and the mentally ill. Making matters worse is that President Obama is again abusing his power by imposing his policies via executive fiat instead of allowing them to be debated in Congress. President Obama’s frustration with our republic and the way it works doesn’t give him license to ignore the Constitution.
Guns are not the problem; criminals with evil in their hearts and mentally ill people prone to violence are. Rather than sweeping measures that make it harder for responsible, law-abiding citizens to purchase firearms, we should focus on the root causes of gun violence and keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill. As a strong defender of the 2nd Amendment, I will oppose the President’s attempts to undermine Americans’ constitutional right to bear arms.
Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA):
Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of all victims of gun violence. Gun violence has no place in our society and existing law prohibits criminals and those with mental illness from owning guns. First and foremost, we need to ensure that these existing laws are enforced.
The Second Amendment is more than just words on paper. It’s a fundamental right that ensures citizens the ability to protect themselves against the government. Unfortunately, the President seems to think that the Second Amendment can be tossed aside. Using executive action to attempt to poke holes in the Second Amendment is a power grab along the same pattern we’ve seen of contempt for the elected representatives of the American people. Some of these directives clearly run afoul of limitations Congress has placed on federal spending bringing the President’s actions in direct conflict with federal law. More importantly, it’s hard to see how any of these executive actions would have prevented the tragedies that precipitated this effort.
Instead of a thoughtful, open and deliberate conversation, President Obama is attempting to institute new restrictions on a fundamental constitutional right. It’s an invitation for long, drawn-out court battles and more mistrust by the grass roots, and it’s the wrong way to unite people behind a proposal on such a powerful and emotional topic. The legislative proposals face an uphill battle in Congress, especially those that include billions of dollars in new federal spending at a time when the government’s credit card is maxed out.
One area I agree with the President on is that a Senate confirmed head of the ATF would be beneficial, but if the Justice Department leadership, including the Attorney General, does its job, there should be plenty of accountability for the ATF. In addition, the last time the President nominated a Director for the ATF, we asked for information in June 2011 regarding the President’s nominee, Andrew Traver, but the administration refused to respond. Neither the White House nor the majority attempted to move the nomination forward. They pushed for numerous nominees during the last Congress, but the ATF Director wasn’t one of them. The new nominee, B. Todd Jones, is a familiar face to the committee, but his ties to the Fast and Furious scandal raise serious questions. Not to mention his involvement in the now infamous quid pro quo arrangement where the Justice Department bartered away valid False Claims Act cases in Minnesota. In any case, he’ll receive a thorough and fair vetting by the Judiciary Committee.
To top it off, it’s intellectually dishonest for the White House to argue for new programs restricting the sale of guns, when this administration deliberately allowed the illegal sale of guns to known straw purchasers. And, if the President has the authority as he claims to take these actions via executive action, why did he wait until now? Why did it take so long to determine that current law wasn’t being enforced? Why didn’t the President push for these authorities after learning that one of his own employees at the ATF purchased a firearm, possibly violating federal law by putting false addresses on the paperwork?
Looking ahead, Senator Leahy and I are preparing for a Judiciary Committee hearing after the Senate returns on aspects within our jurisdiction. It’s important we explore in depth all aspects of this violence. It can’t be done in a week by a few members of the President’s administration. We must look at mental health and other societal issues which are critical to getting to the bottom of the violence we’re seeing.
Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN):
As a mother and grandmother, I believe we have an obligation to examine ways we can better protect our nation’s youth. We need to have a serious conversation about mental health, psychiatric drugs, and the potential impact violent video games and movies have on our kids. I will closely review the President’s proposals, however I am concerned his approach is a pre-determined attempt to redefine our Constitution. I am not going to allow this administration to trample on the Second Amendment or put new restrictions on the rights of law-abiding citizens to own firearms and ammunition.
National Rifle Association response:
Throughout its history, the National Rifle Association has led efforts to promote safety and responsible gun ownership. Keeping our children and society safe remains our top priority.
The NRA will continue to focus on keeping our children safe and securing our schools, fixing our broken mental health system, and prosecuting violent criminals to the fullest extent of the law. We look forward to working with Congress on a bi-partisan basis to find real solutions to protecting America’s most valuable asset — our children.
Attacking firearms and ignoring children is not a solution to the crisis we face as a nation. Only honest, law-abiding gun owners will be affected and our children will remain vulnerable to the inevitability of more tragedy.