Originally Posted by shatto
Dear Mr. Shatto,
Thank you for contacting me to share your views on gun control.
Recently, we experienced one of the most horrific tragedies in recent memory. Twenty-six elementary school students and adults were murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. We have had far too many of these tragedies in the past few years. Now is the time for action.
Yet, despite strong public support for common-sense gun laws, and despite our nation's tragic history of mass shootings, the gun lobby has consistently and successfully thwarted even modest gun safety provisions.
As you know, President Obama recently announced his recommendations to address ways to reduce gun violence in schools and elsewhere, based on the recommendations of Vice President Biden's gun violence task force which included the input of mental health experts, law enforcement organizations, gun owners, and others.
His plan includes legislation calling for a universal background check for gun purchases, including those from private gun sales and gun shows, and new bans on assault type weapons and high capacity magazine clips. The president also announced 23 executive actions that he will sign immediately covering changes to education and mental health, increasing authority to conduct national research on guns, more aggressive enforcement of existing gun laws, cracking down on gun trafficking, and wider sharing of existing gun databases among federal and state agencies.
The president's comprehensive plan also addresses deficiencies in the nation's criminal justice, education and mental health systems. His proposals address anti-bullying measures and additional training for school counselors and mental health professionals.
I applaud President Obama for moving so quickly to develop a comprehensive plan to reduce gun violence in the United States and in our schools. I support his proposal and urge Congress to work quickly to pass it. I also will be working in the weeks and months ahead with my colleagues in the House Democratic Caucus Gun Violence Prevention Task Force and in the House Education and the Workforce Committee on sensible steps to increase safety in our schools to ensure our children's days are spent learning and growing, not in fear for their lives. Nothing is more important than the safety of our children.
There are some people who believe that all gun control measures violate the Second Amendment to the Constitution. This belief is not consistent with constitutional law. The United States Supreme Court in 1980 held in Lewis v. United States that "legislative restrictions on the use of firearms do not trench upon any constitutionally protected liberties." The federal government may regulate the ownership of firearms, and such regulation is vital to curbing violence.
It is a sad fact of reality that we will never be able to prevent every instance of gun violence. This reality, however, does not make our efforts irrelevant. Instead, it makes our efforts even more vital. I believe that with passage of legislation to provide comprehensive enhancement of existing gun laws and of other sensible and meaningful provisions, we could reduce gun violence in this country and help keep firearms out of the hands of children and criminals.
I believe we can all support a comprehensive approach to reduce gun violence and strengthen our nation's gun laws while protecting law abiding citizens' right to own firearms. Everyone must be at the table. We have the ability to reduce gun violence without curbing the rights of legitimate gun owners and I look forward to working with my colleagues and the Administration to see that we accomplish this vital goal.
Together we can work to make sure the lives lost in Newtown, Connecticut, and elsewhere around the country were not lost in vain by doing everything in our power to address the issue of gun violence.
I appreciate knowing of your views on this very important issue.
Member of Congress
P.S. Keep up with the latest news from Washington at GeorgeMiller.house.gov and Facebook.com/RepGeorgeMiller.
Here is the response I got from my congressman, Joe Courtney (D)emogogue CT (eerily similar):
Dear Mr. XXXXXXX,
Thank you for contacting me regarding gun legislation in light of the tragic shootings in Newtown, Connecticut. I appreciate your comments and having the benefit of your views.
I am deeply saddened by the loss of over two dozen lives, including the lives of 20 young children, in this senseless act. In the days since the attack , we have heard the powerful stories about Principal Dawn Hochsprung and the brave teachers that acted selflessly to protect their students. This senseless tragedy has touched all Americans and has once again raised concerns about the issue s of gun safety here in America.
As this debate moves forward, I am committed to protecting the Second Amendment rights of responsible, law-abiding gun owners . I also believe that there are many areas where we can find agreement on commonsense approaches to improving gun safety in our country. In the days following the shootings in Newtown, I have been contacted by many people on this issue – including gun owners who support ways to improve gun safety for our communities.
While I appreciate the concerns that you and others have expressed with any changes to our nation' s gun laws, it should be noted that even in upholding the constitutional rights of responsible gun owners the United States Supreme Court has also upheld the ability of our government to place restrictions on the use and sale of firearm. For example, in his majority opinion in the District of Columbia v. Dick Heller case, Suprem e Court Justice Antonin Scalia emphasized the following:
" Like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited... nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms ."
The majority opinion in the case also reaffirmed the right to restrict the purchase and sale of dangerous and unusual weapons. You may be interested to know that I was the only member of the Connecticut congressional delegation to sign onto the congressional amicus brief in the case of District of Columbia v. Dick Heller, which supported the right of individuals in the District of Columbia to be able to keep firearms in their homes.
On January 16, 2013 , the President outlined many common sense proposals for reducing gun violence, including strengthening the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, increasing training for law enforcement and first responders for active shooter situations, enhancing school safety through the development of emergency management plan models, and providing law enforcement additional tools to prevent and prosecute gun crimes. The President also plans to launch a national dialogue on mental health, and ensure that schools are better able to identify and respond to students in crisis.
In the weeks and months ahead, these and other proposals will be scrutinized and debated in Congress. I remain committed to a thoughtful and balanced discussion about ways to improve gun safety and reduce violence in our schools and our communities. Please be assured that throughout this debate, I will keep your views, and the views of other responsible gun owners, in mind.
Thank you, again, for sharing your views with me on this issue. Should you have any additional comments or suggestions, please do not hesitate to contact me in the future. For more information on my work in Congress, please visit my website at courtney.house.gov and sign up for my e-newsletter at courtney.house.gov/forms/ emailsignup . You can also connect with me at facebook.com/joecourtney or receive updates from twitter.com/ repjoecourtney .
Member of Congress
Talking points and format passed out by Dear Leader for democraps to deal with those pesky constituents???