Response from Rep Mica (Florida)


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mjw930
January 16, 2013, 11:18 AM
I received an email response from my email to Congressman John Mica last week. It's also posted on his website under the issues section.

It would seem I have at least one representative who "gets it".

http://mica.house.gov/current-issues/protecting-our-communities-protecting-our-rights-as-congress-debates-gun-control/

Protecting Our Communities, Protecting Our Rights as Congress Debates Gun Control

Every American was shocked and deeply saddened by the senseless murders that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. As we all grapple with that horrific loss of life, I know that every responsible person would like to ensure that all measures possible are taken to prevent that type of violence in the future. Some are calling for gun controls, better attention to those with serious mental health problems, restrictions on violence in games and entertainment, possible enhancement of school and teacher security measures and many other proposals.

As a strong 2nd Amendment supporter, I believe we can take positive steps that hopefully will curtail or prevent this type of tragedy in the future. However, any actions we take must be effective and directed action that does not infringe on the rights of Americans.

While laws can always be improved, it was interesting in further examining this issue to find that the Obama Administration has a dismal record of enforcing current gun control laws that are already on the books. President Obama’s Department of Justice has reduced the number all gun related prosecutions by nearly 40 percent from the high of 10,937 during the Bush Administration according to Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) program.

It was also revealing to note, that states with reformed mental health laws for commitment or detention also have significantly lower instances of violence and murders of this nature. There are an estimated 20,000 gun control laws in the United States. Congress and the states have done little in providing care to those suffering from mental health problems. At the Federal level, through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), current law prohibits those with certain mental health diagnosis from purchasing firearms. It is imperative to improve the reporting from states and other federal agencies into the database. We must do a better job in the care, treatment and reporting of those with severe mental disorders.

Unfortunately, also today our youth and society are exposed to entertainment that contains extreme violence and wanton destruction of life at an unprecedented level. While this matter is difficult to regulate by law, the private sector video, film, television and game and entertainment industries must institute responsible policies, standards and safeguards and more carefully police their productions.

Attempting to draft federal statutes to deal with what adults view and consider entertainment in a society protected by the 1st Amendment also has its challenges and rightful restrictions. It is important also to remember as we consider positive actions to prevent and curtail future violence while respecting both our 1st and 2nd Amendments under the Constitution that it is even in different societal times and settings the dark side of human nature can prevail.

The worst school killing took place in Bath Township, Michigan in 1927 when a disturbed man used dynamite to kill 38 school children. One of the most horrific massacres of young people in a century took place in highly gun regulated Norway in 2011, which ended up claiming 77 lives including a mass shooting at a youth camp.

Unfortunately, almost all of the youth related gun violence and deaths involve illegal narcotics. In November of 2011, the Department of Justice report on Homicide Trends in the United States, 1980 – 2008 documents that directly links young men in our inner cities and drug and gang related activities. This slaughter most often occurs within the confines of some of this nation’s cities that have the most restrictive gun laws, often focused on obtaining illegal firearms

Government regulations and restrictions can only achieve so much. We as a society must take a more focused approach on strengthening families, providing a sound education and respecting the value and dignity of every human life. Be assured, I will continue to work with my colleagues in Congress to promote responsible gun ownership while continuing to preserve those rights protected by the Constitution.

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