Reply from one of Alaska's Senators


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ngnrd
February 1, 2013, 05:11 PM
From one of Alaska's Senators, Lisa Murkowski (R), this just hit my email inbox. It's not quite as strong as I would have liked, but it's better than "we need to consider all options when it comes to protecting our children".

Now, if I could just get something similar from Mark Begich (D), I would feel much more comfortable...

Dear {ngnrd}:

Thank you for contacting me regarding recently proposed gun control measures. I appreciate hearing from you and having the opportunity to respond.

Alaskans have mourned with all Americans at the tragic, senseless deaths in recent years and I believe we should examine ways to reduce violence by improving our mental health care system, keeping guns out of the hands of criminals, and enforcing existing laws. But we must continue to protect our Constitutional right to bear arms.

I am opposed to Senator Feinstein's bill that would prohibit the sale of many semi-automatic rifles and pistols to law abiding Americans and infringe on their Second Amendment rights. Now is not the time to demonize those who possess and use firearms lawfully. It is time to build a national consensus, with firearms owners, about how to prevent incidents like those we have recently seen. We must look at the issue from all perspectives, but demanding the vast majority of us who responsibly use firearms to give up our individual freedoms in the interest of community safety simply may not make our communities safer.

If Congress considers legislation related to gun control, I will be sure to keep your thoughts in mind. Again, thank you for contacting me.

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goon
February 1, 2013, 05:42 PM
The email response I recieved from Mark Begich (D) dated January 3, 2013:
Dear Mr. XXXX :


Thank you for contacting me about the tragic shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.

I was shocked by this horrifying event, and my heart goes out to the victims, families and the Sandy Hook community as they face this tragedy. This was a terrible, senseless crime against some of the most vulnerable.

In the aftermath of this awful crime, we must be vigilant about addressing future threats to public safety. There is no simple solution, but I do not believe more restrictive gun laws will prevent criminals from committing acts of violence. I have always been and continue to be a strong defender of Second Amendment rights for law-abiding citizens.


I believe this tragedy, and the shooting earlier this year in Aurora, Colorado, illustrate a pressing need to improve mental health services in this country. The Sandy Hook shooter was in early adulthood, a time when mental illnesses frequently develop. I have introduced a bill, S. 3325, the Mental Health First Aid Higher Education Act of 2012 , to improve mental health services on college campuses. This legislation would establish a program to provide training to faculty members, dormitory resident advisors, and other members of the college community to recognize the signs of mental illness and safely address crisis situations.

We must do more to keep our communities and families safe, and legislation like this is an important step in the right direction. I will continue working with my colleagues in the Senate to promote mental health services and prevent violence.

Thank you again for contacting me about this tragedy. Please continue to be in touch with your thoughts and concerns.


Sincerely,
Mark Begich
U.S. Senator


My original email response from Lisa Murkowski (R) dated January 16, 2013:



Dear XXXXX:


Thank you for contacting me regarding the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut on December 14, 2012. I appreciate hearing from you and having the opportunity to respond.

I cannot express how deeply saddened I am by the events of that day , and I join all Alaskans as we continue to pray and mourn for the victims, families, and all those who have lost their loved ones to this tragedy. Alaskans and Americans remain united in thought, prayer and support for the entire Sandy Hook community.

This tragedy has prompted many Alaskans to contact me about gun control measures. Americans must remain vigilant in the protection of our constitutional rights, as I have done and will continue to do. As we continue to struggle to grasp the needless deaths of 20 young children, all viewpoints must be included when considering how to appropriately respond to this tragedy . Some would argue that there is an urgency in having Congress act unilaterally to restrict the possession of firearms and ammunition, but that argument is all too frequently made by people unsympathetic or unfamiliar with the recreational shooter or hunter's lifestyle – and creates division between urban and rural America when we need to come together most.

Now is not the time to demonize those who possess and use firearms lawfully. It is time to build a national consensus, with firearms owners, about how to prevent incidents lik e those we have recently seen. And we must look at the issue from all perspectives – our broken mental health system; violence on television, in video games, and in movies; the safety of public places; and the safe storage of firearms in the home. Demanding the vast majority of us who responsibly use firearms to give up our individual freedoms in the interest of community safety simply may not make our communities safer. But as part of a national consensus, firearms owners may well be willing to live with greater regulation if they play an active role in the formulation of that regulation. If Congress considers issues related to the Newtown shootings, I will be sure to keep your thoughts in mind. Again, thank you for contacting me.


United States Senator

Lisa Murkowski (signed)


The underlining was mine - because I wanted to show the original response and demonstrate the changes they have apparently made.

ngnrd
February 1, 2013, 06:00 PM
Well, I don't know what to make of that change from Murkowski... It's definitely disturbing.

Did she change her position, or is she now simply hiding it? (I assume the latter.)

And Begich...? He barely brushed on the topic of gun control, and instead focused almost entirely on mental health. Again... I'm not sure if that's good, or bad?


On a side note... I wonder why I never received those responses?

goon
February 1, 2013, 10:20 PM
I received the response from Begich on January 3 and the one from Murkowski on January 16.

I think Begich is pretty solidly against any gun control measures. He, Don Young, and Murkowski were all quoted by the Alaska Dispatch against further gun control measures.

I think Murkowski may have recieved enough letters and emails since her response to me to know there isn't much support from gun owners for any kind of restrictions. And Begich is a Democrat senator who is trying to get reelected in a Republican state with more gun stores than gas stations... how would you vote in his situation?

goon
February 1, 2013, 10:43 PM
Two articles I found noting Don Young and Lisa Murkowski on gun control. I thought there was one quoting Mark Begich too, but I am not able to find it.

http://www.alaskadispatch.com/article/don-young-criminals-contempt-will-flout-weapon-bans

http://www.alaskadispatch.com/article/resist-any-us-effort-restrict-gun-ownership-says-alaska-lawmaker

Cosmoline
February 13, 2013, 08:23 PM
I got the same response from Lisa yesterday. Begich is still running silent, though I sent the letters at the same time.

ngnrd
February 13, 2013, 09:04 PM
Here's the only thing I've seen quoting Begich on his position regarding gun control. It's from January 11th.

Juneau Empire (http://juneauempire.com/node/24385#.URw3UB3pjSs)

HorseSoldier
February 13, 2013, 11:31 PM
I think Murkowski may have recieved enough letters and emails since her response to me to know there isn't much support from gun owners for any kind of restrictions. And Begich is a Democrat senator who is trying to get reelected in a Republican state with more gun stores than gas stations... how would you vote in his situation?


Begich is going to be in a tough enough fight to stay in office in '14 as it is, without hanging that albatross around his neck.

(Though if he got booted from the Senate and wanted to come back to Anchorage as mayor, I'd vote for him compared to the current quarter-wit in office. Of course, if Hitler, Stalin, or Mao ran against Sullivan, I'd probably want to at least hear what they had to say in debates before making any decisions about who to vote for . . .)

GAMALOT
February 14, 2013, 11:36 AM
I don't want to steal this thread but can't think of a better place to ask.

Over here on the east coast I do enjoy watching a few shows about Alaska. I think "Wild Alaska" and "Alaska State Troopers". There are a couple others I also enjoy.

Am I getting the real story? It sure seems to me like in many of these cases on those shows that they are trampling on the rights of many of these suspects. Things that I would consider outright illegal search and seizure on almost every episode. I can't honestly say that in most of these situations it is not well deserved and there seems to be no shortage of idiots cruising through your state. It just seems like the cops over step their legal authority and entrap a lot of people.

What say you?

Carne Frio
February 14, 2013, 12:20 PM
I don't watch "unreality" TV. It's all scripted crap to feed the mass audience.
Murkowski is a RINO.
Begich likes to sound like a blue dog democRAT. His reelction will likely not happen.

Cosmoline
February 14, 2013, 02:57 PM
My vote is based on this issue. If he stays true to the RKBA, he has it. If he does not, I'll vote against him. The reward should be there for him if he behaves ;-)

t sure seems to me like in many of these cases on those shows that they are trampling on the rights of many of these suspects.

I don't watch those shows, but generally our courts are pretty tough on the police who don't follow proper procedures. So I assume there was some consent off camera. AK troopers have one of the toughest jobs in law enforcement. Trying to enforce laws across a vast area with almost no local LEO's to help in most cases. Not to mention the fact that they are hugely outgunned. If they were running roughshod they'd find it impossible very quickly.

GAMALOT
February 14, 2013, 03:12 PM
No argument from me regarding the tough job the SP have in Alaska. It seems like they are seriously outnumbered in every aspect and I am sure they don't get paid nearly enough. I am also not surprised that many natives don't bother watching those shows. They are interesting to me because I love seeing the scenery and from what I can see it appears there are two or three completely different worlds in the state, Populated places like any other, Rural towns similar to where I live and some far out remote places stuck in the dark ages. Quite a juggling act for sure.

Cosmoline
February 14, 2013, 03:16 PM
There are many different Alaskas, that's for sure. The SW bush for example looks like the Mississippi Delta in the stone age. Totally flat with a network of rivers interlocking as far as the eye can see.

ngnrd
February 14, 2013, 05:30 PM
My vote is based on this issue. If he stays true to the RKBA, he has it. If he does not, I'll vote against him. The reward should be there for him if he behaves ;-)

As an undeclared, independent voter, here's how I see my options in every election from here forward.


Any vote for any gun control measure, or any introduction or sponsorship of gun control legislation is necessarily enough justification to vote against any given incumbent, regardless of their party affiliation, or their position on any other topics.
A vote against any and all proposed gun control measures will provide a reason to consider an incumbent as a legitimate candidate for re-election.
An incumbent actively fighting against gun control, or for gun rights, will earn my vote, regardless of their party affiliation, or their position on any other topic.


In my view, any vote for gun control is a breach of an incumbent's oath of office, and will not be tolerated. Period. And any simple vote "against gun control" is merely a neutral position. But, if a candidate is actively fighting to strengthen and protect our natural right to keep and bear arms, that candidate deserves support, and I will vote accordingly.

And, if you will excuse me, I have some more emails to write...

GAMALOT
February 14, 2013, 05:48 PM
"As an undeclared, independent voter, here's how I see my options in every election from here forward.

Any vote for any gun control measure, or any introduction or sponsorship of gun control legislation is necessarily enough justification to vote against any given incumbent, regardless of their party affiliation, or their position on any other topics.
A vote against any and all proposed gun control measures will provide a reason to consider an incumbent as a legitimate candidate for re-election.
An incumbent actively fighting against gun control, or for gun rights, will earn my vote, regardless of their party affiliation, or their position on any other topic.


In my view, any vote for gun control is a breach of an incumbent's oath of office, and will not be tolerated. Period. And any simple vote "against gun control" is merely a neutral position. But, if a candidate is actively fighting to strengthen and protect our natural right to keep and bear arms, that candidate deserves support, and I will vote accordingly."

I do agree with your attitudes with just one caveat. I have no ability to vote for Alaskan Reps but for mine here in NY I have to weed through the ones like everywhere else who will say and act however they must to be re elected. I don't much care where they stand on any other issues once I am comfortable with where they are on protecting the Constitution from all enemies, foreign and domestic. If they fail on this issue they deserve to be unemployed and will never get a vote from me.

Cosmoline
February 14, 2013, 09:38 PM
If Begich goes left on gun control, he's finished here. That much is virtual certainty. And he's not a short termer as far as I know. He's the darling of the Alaskan Dems for reviving the name of an iconic political family here.

Cosmoline
February 27, 2013, 02:09 PM
Finally got a response from Begich.

"There is no simple solution, but I do not believe more restrictive gun laws will prevent criminals from committing acts of violence. I have always been and continue to be a strong defender of Second Amendment rights for law-abiding citizens."

He of course does not specifically say what this means. He reiterates his support from S. 3325 "The Mental Health First Aid Higher Education Act of 2012" but other than that says "I will continue working with my colleagues in the Senate to promote mental health services and prevent violence."

Reading between the lines, he knows damn well a vote in favor of Biden's measures likely would cost him his seat. But that doesn't mean he wouldn't do it under some other guise. I think he would not vote for the AWB or high cap ban. The UBC? That's not as clear.

I'm writing him again to hammer home the troubles a UBC would cause in Alaska. Lisa, too. Though Begich is a much more critical player in this game right now. Without him and a number of other blue dogs the Dems can't get much of anything through the Senate.

GAMALOT
February 27, 2013, 02:48 PM
Keep hammering Cosmoline but I doubt he will hear it.

The problem, and we all know it, is there is no way any law or regulation is going to stop a person who is hell bent on destruction. As for the mentally ill we have all seen it many times. A person can be perfectly sane on the outside and never show a bit of strange thinking until a trigger sets him/her off and then there is no telling what they might do.

I worked in the prison system for 27 years and I honestly can't tell you what it is about the human mind that causes an otherwise sane individual to go nuts in a split second. What I can tell you from experience is that it happens all the time and my best description for it is "Loosely Wrapped". There are many among us who don't need a great deal of prodding to go off the deep end in a moments notice and that is just the way it is. Such an individual could just as easily drive his car or truck in to a crowd and not need a gun to kill. They simply cannot legislate sanity!

Farnorthdan
February 27, 2013, 06:30 PM
Same boiler plate response I got, Lisa barely made the cut last go around and I personally dont care that much for her and didnt vote for her. She pretty much just rode her daddys coat tails into office and I dont care much for that.

Cosmoline
February 28, 2013, 02:05 PM
Yeah but if she stays true to the RKBA then she needs our votes. Personal issues, and unrelated political disputes, must be set aside to reward AND to punish on this single paramount issue. That's the way we keep them focused.

Carne Frio
February 28, 2013, 05:26 PM
I agree with Cosmoline. It's not her fault that Frank was an idiot. She still needs
to keep away from compromising and we need to keep an eye on her.

HorseSoldier
February 28, 2013, 06:32 PM
Keep hammering Cosmoline but I doubt he will hear it.

I think he'll be responsive to pressure. Gun culture up here runs very, very deep, and even here in Anchorage cutting away from the day to day routine for hunting and fishing trips, getting out to harvest berries that are in season and such are incredibly more prevalent and common place than anywhere else I've lived in the US.

On the one hand, Begich grew up in that (which, admittedly, doesn't mean someone might not go down the 2nd Amendment protects your shotgun and deer rifle line of thinking), and on the other hand Begich squeaked into the Senate running against Ted Stevens, who the DOJ had just randomly and coincidentally indicted on trumped up federal felony charges during the run up to the election. For Begich to stay in office after the 2014 election he is going to need every right-leaning vote he can glom onto, and voting for anything anti-2A will likely end his time in the US senate. (Okay, provided the Republican side of things in Alaska don't run some utter incompetent against him, which, after the dolt the Tea Party tried to replace Murkowski with in '10 is a frighteningly open question.)

Cosmoline
April 12, 2013, 02:54 PM
Begich voted against opening debate. He appears to be holding fast and not supporting the "compromise." I'm writing to thank him, and I intend to give him both money and other support if he continues to back the RKBA. Good behavior must be rewarded, and all other issues including immigration and health care are secondary to this one.

ngnrd
April 13, 2013, 01:28 AM
I wrote to thank him last night. ... And Lisa, too.

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