Several Iowa Republican lawmakers responded to President Barack Obama’s gun control remarks yesterday
Congressman Steve King:
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.
Congressman Tom Latham:
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.
Senator Chuck Grassley:
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.
Iowa Senate Republican Leader Bill Dix:
Today our President suggested restricting the Second Amendment rights of every American citizen. A right our founding fathers took so seriously, it only followed freedom of speech, religion, and the press in the U.S. Constitution.
Law abiding gun owners are not the problem and limiting their Constitutional rights should, at the very least, make us all take pause and determine what we are willing to allow our government to do.
Tens of millions of U.S. citizens are law abiding gun owners who never have, and never will, commit any sort of crime. A ban on presently legal products, as the President suggests, will effectively create a new class of criminal from those very people, and do nothing to change the hearts and minds of those intent on committing horrendous acts. That should concern us all.
Tags: 2nd Amendment, Barack Obama, Bill Dix, Chuck Grassley, gun control, Steve King, Tom Latham