Letters to Joe Courtney D-CT


February 25, 2013, 10:37 AM
Response from Joe:
Thank you for contacting me regarding gun legislation in light of the tragic shootings in Newtown, Connecticut. I appreciate your comments and having the benefit of your views.
I am deeply saddened by the loss of over two dozen lives, including the lives of 20 young children, in this senseless act. In the days since the attack , we have heard the powerful stories about Principal Dawn Hochsprung and the brave teachers that acted selflessly to protect their students. This senseless tragedy has touched all Americans and has once again raised concerns about the issue s of gun safety here in America.
As this debate moves forward, I am committed to protecting the Second Amendment rights of responsible, law-abiding gun owners . I also believe that there are many areas where we can find agreement on commonsense approaches to improving gun safety in our country. In the days following the shootings in Newtown, I have been contacted by many people on this issue including gun owners who support ways to improve gun safety for our communities.
While I appreciate the concerns that you and others have expressed with any changes to our nation' s gun laws, it should be noted that even in upholding the constitutional rights of responsible gun owners the United States Supreme Court has also upheld the ability of our government to place restrictions on the use and sale of firearm. For example, in his majority opinion in the District of Columbia v. Dick Heller case, Suprem e Court Justice Antonin Scalia emphasized the following:
" Like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited... nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms ."
The majority opinion in the case also reaffirmed the right to restrict the purchase and sale of dangerous and unusual weapons. You may be interested to know that I was the only member of the Connecticut congressional delegation to sign onto the congressional amicus brief in the case of District of Columbia v. Dick Heller, which supported the right of individuals in the District of Columbia to be able to keep firearms in their homes.
On January 16, 2013 , the President outlined many common sense proposals for reducing gun violence, including strengthening the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, increasing training for law enforcement and first responders for active shooter situations, enhancing school safety through the development of emergency management plan models, and providing law enforcement additional tools to prevent and prosecute gun crimes. The President also plans to launch a national dialogue on mental health, and ensure that schools are better able to identify and respond to students in crisis.
In the weeks and months ahead, these and other proposals will be scrutinized and debated in Congress. I remain committed to a thoughtful and balanced discussion about ways to improve gun safety and reduce violence in our schools and our communities. Please be assured that throughout this debate, I will keep your views, and the views of other responsible gun owners, in mind.

My response:
Dear Congressman Courtney,
As a retired Navy man and current employee in the defense industry, I appreciate your work in support of the Submarine Base and Electric Boat.
As a father of five living in your district I was deeply saddened by the recent tragedy in Newtown. I urge you as my representative not to use this tragedy for passing oppressive new gun legislation. As you know, CT has some of the country's strictest gun laws. It may also interest you to know that it costs a typical mom and dad such as Sherry and myself almost 500 dollars to be able to exercise our second amendment rights in this state. This is due to the extensive requirements put on a law abiding CT citizen to obtain a pistol permit (classes, fingerprints, background investigation, etc...). While we have taken great efforts to be safe and lawful gun owners, there are efforts in the legislature to criminalize us for owning the same commonplace firearms and magazines that millions of Americans own.
You have quoted the majority opinion in D.C. v. Heller as giving the right for the state to regulate dangerous and unusual weapons. The majority opinion clearly gave an example of such as "shoulder launched missiles" and other destructive devices not ordinary modern semiautomatic handguns and rifles that everyday people use for personal or home defense. Yet the proposed assault weapons ban and magazine bans are aimed at common and ordinary gun owning citizens. The D.C. v. Heller ruling was clear that a ban on weapons in common use would not pass constitutional muster. Please do not waste our tax paying dollars on legislation that will clog our courts with constitutional challenges.
Yours respectfully,

Any suggestions to add or change? Anything blatantly wrong? I don't have time to respond to every claim of his right now. I may address more in subsequent letters.

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February 25, 2013, 01:03 PM
wonder if that principal and those teachers wished for a gun of their own at that horrible time.

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