Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Congressman George Miller California 11th Congressional District Responds

Our latest response is from Congressman George Miller out of California's 11th Congressional District. Follow the Politics tag for all previous responses. We will keep this going as they come in and intertwine our normal coverage. Most important, keep contacting your representatives. 


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.

I strongly support efforts to reduce gun violence, and I believe there are many aspects of our nation's gun laws that deserve close scrutiny and updating.  For example, Congress should act to close the gun show loophole by requiring criminal background checks on all gun buyers.  I also support banning the importation of large capacity ammunition clips, and the requirement of child safety locks or storage containers for all handguns, and tough trigger lock standards.  I support efforts to prohibit anyone under the age of 21 from buying a handgun, and I support the regulation of the sale of handguns on the Internet.  I have also supported legislation to limit the purchase of handguns to only one per month per person in order to stop interstate gunrunners.  These are reasonable steps that we can take to keep deadly weapons out of the hands of those who would misuse them and cause harm to those around them. 

We also need to do more to allow law enforcement officers to apprehend dangerous gun criminals, and end loopholes that give criminals and fugitives easy access to guns.  Specifically, we should improve gun tracing and ballistics testing systems that aid in the identification of criminals; fund smart gun technologies which prevent guns from being used by criminals and children; and close a number of dangerous loopholes that hinder the enforcement of gun laws.

Unfortunately, powerful lobbyists continue to prevent any progress from being made in reducing gun violence. 

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.

Recently, I have joined with many of my colleagues to participate in the House Democratic Caucus Gun Violence Prevention Task Force.  In the weeks and months ahead, this task force will work with our colleagues, mental health experts, law enforcement organizations, gun owners, and others to discuss and introduce 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.

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 am hopeful that in the coming months our nation can have serious reflection about how we can reduce the flow of guns into the wrong hands.  One mass shooting after another in America is followed by sincere and painful mourning but no real action to protect the innocent.  We must come together as a nation to honestly discuss how to prevent people intent on carrying out these savage attacks from so easily obtaining guns and ammunition.

The nation is ready for this conversation.  More importantly, though, the safety of children and all Americans demands we have it.  I appreciate knowing of your views on this very important issue.


Member of Congress
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