Replies from my Virginia Senator and Congressman


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DanMar757
January 13, 2013, 09:15 PM
Here are the replies I received from Virginia Senator Mark Warner (D):


Dear Mr. DanMar757:

Thank you for contacting me to share your thoughts on the tragic events in Newtown, Connecticut and your views on gun control.

On December 14, 2012, 20 innocent children and six adults lost their lives in one of the worst, most tragic shootings to ever occur in the United States. As a parent of three daughters, this was the ultimate nightmare. Like the Virginia Tech and Columbine shootings, this tragedy unfolded in what was once regarded as a safe haven free of crime and violence: a school.

I am a strong supporter of the Second Amendment constitutional right of law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms. I own firearms and I have an "A" rating from the National Rifle Association. However, I also recognize that, like with many of our constitutional rights, our Second Amendment rights are not without limits. It is unfortunate that a tragedy of this magnitude is what is needed to prompt action, but we need to have a serious discussion on how to best avoid these kinds of mass shootings in the future. The status quo is not acceptable.



I believe our discussion should cover many issues. We can start by improving the existing criminal background check system. Currently, the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) is woefully incomplete, with many states failing to submit available records on persons who may be disqualified from purchasing or possessing firearms. With a more complete background check system, we can keep firearms out of the hands of those who have been deemed unfit to possess them.

In addition, we can take common sense measures such as passing the CAMPUS Safety Act (S. 3682), which I introduced last year. That bill would establish a national center for campus public safety within the Department of Justice to serve as a resource center and assist schools and universities in developing campus safety plans and threat assessment tools. We also need to look at changes to our mental health system so we can provide help to those with dangerous mental illnesses before it is too late. There will not be a single solution, but all of these issues and others need to be part of the conversation and I urge you to continue to express your views as we move forward.

Again, thank you for contacting me. For further information or to sign up for my newsletter please visit my website at http://warner.senate.gov.

Sincerely,
MARK R. WARNER
United States Senator

& from Virginia Congressman J. Randy Forbes (R):

Dear Mr. DanMar757:

In the last week America has suffered some of her deepest grief. Hours after the news of the Sandy Hook shooting, I penned my first reaction to the news, linked here if you have not yet read it.

Now, in the days and weeks that follow, America remains left with heavy hearts and will continue to have many questions. Hundreds of emails and phone calls have poured into my office since last Friday. Many express diametrically different views on the appropriate responses to the Sandy Hook tragedy. All have felt an enormous sense of loss. All are heavy with the sense that America will never be the same place that it was last Thursday.

What happened at Sandy Hook Elementary deserves a dialogue deeper than this letter can convey. Yet, I want to lay out some of the many questions that Americans must wrestle with as we move forward. Answering these questions will be a long process and I believe it should be a process marked by open dialogue, sincere listening, and the absence of political posturing.

Mental health. Does our nation have the appropriate processes and resources in place to handle serious mental health issues? What has worked here, and what has not? Have we equipped families with the support they need? Have communities equipped themselves with appropriate screening and care?

School safety. Are America's schools equipped with the resources and procedures to prevent and confront violence? What else can be done here? Have we put America's best minds to the task of creating safe schools and universities?

Second Amendment & gun control. How do we pursue the shared goal of keeping guns out of the hands of the criminally mentally ill while preserving the rights of law-abiding citizens? What evidence is there that gun control constitutes crime control? While I believe all Americans need to be heard on this emotionally-charged issue, I remain steadfast in my long-held belief that infringing on Second Amendment rights will not make America safer.

Cultural influences. How has not only the rise but the romanticization of violent video games, movies, and television shows impacted minors? To what degree has a shift away from traditional values contributed to violence?

While I do not have the answers to all of these questions, I believe America will be stronger if we work together - despite our differences - to pursue policies to prevent such a tragedy from happening again. As we move from a state of grieving into a stage of introspection and examination, I look forward to your continued voice in this discussion.

Yours in service,

J. Randy Forbes
Member of Congress

I will be writing again this week, citing specific Bills that are before the House and Senate, making it crystal clear that I will NOT be voting for any elected official that fails to honor his oath of office to preserve and protect the Constitution.

Let's keep the heat on!

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