It seems, in my estimation, that across the nation the members of congress are sold on taking full advantage of the recent tragedies of gun violence. I can’t talk about it or make points about it any more. Just know that life is hard, without guidance and advice or outlets for creative energy the children are prone to great challenges, especially mentally. Now add the “condition of the week” and the brain altering drugs that come along with it and you have a cocktail for more of the same.
This is a conversation that one of my dear friends had with his congressman in Delaware. Enjoy.
April 9, 2013
Dear Mr. D*****,
Thank you for taking the time to contact me about gun violence prevention. I appreciate your input and thoughts on this incredibly important issue.
Let me begin by saying that the tragic murder of 20 children and six teachers in Newtown is unfathomable. There is simply no way to explain the senseless act of violence perpetrated on such young and innocent children and their teachers. As a parent, I cannot imagine the pain the families of Newtown have experienced, and like Americans across the country, I was overwhelmed with sadness and grief. I offer my deepest condolences to the families affected by this horrific tragedy. Most upsetting, the tragic shooting in Newtown is not the first time we’ve seen such violence.
I was shocked and saddened to learn of the tragic events that occurred at the New Castle County Courthouse in Wilmington on February 11th. This horrific act has taken the lives of two innocent women and I offer my deepest condolences to their families, friends, and colleagues — and I mourn with our community as we try to make sense of this tragedy. The shooting also wounded two Capitol Police officers working to protect the people in the courthouse. In the face of grave danger, those officers stood tall and demonstrated why their brave service is so vital to our safety. I will continue to keep them in my prayers as they recover from their injuries.
We must take serious action in Congress to help protect our citizens, our children, and our law enforcement officials. I will continue to support efforts to immediately pass legislation to get high-capacity ammunition magazines and military assault weapons off our streets and away from our classrooms to help prevent a tragedy like this from occurring again.
As you may know, federal law currently allows for the purchase of military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines that can fire 20 rounds in 10 seconds. In most states, there is no requirement to undergo a background check before purchasing one of these guns or magazines from a private seller.
President Obama and Vice President Biden have put forward a comprehensive plan to reduce violence in the United States by keeping weapons out of the hands of criminals and getting military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines off our streets. The plan would also increase access to mental health services and provide teachers and counselors with the training they need to identify mental illness in young people. None of this will happen without action from Congress.
In the past, many elected officials have been reluctant to support stronger gun laws. I hope that the recent tragedies across America — from Connecticut to Colorado — will spur bipartisan passage of common sense proposals like mandatory background checks for gun purchases and a ban on military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines.
In the meantime, President Obama took 23 executive actions to strengthen the background check system, finalize important regulations regarding mental health, and develop emergency preparedness and response plans for schools across the country.
I support these actions — in addition to tough enforcement of existing gun laws. More importantly, I urge my colleagues to act swiftly and thoughtfully to pass legislation that will reduce gun violence and prevent more tragedies like the one at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
I appreciate your taking the time to share your thoughts with me regarding this serious matter. I take seriously the trust Delawareans have placed in me and my responsibility to represent them in Congress, and I look forward to serving you in the coming years.
Member of Congress
I appreciate your response to my inquiry. I hope you don’t mind discussing this further as this is, as you said, a very important issue.
The tragedy in CO, CT, and Wilmington (not to mention the events in Columbine, and Virginia tech) were terrible and acts of terrorism in the purest definition of the word. I was at a movie theater the night of the Aurora shooting and I am father to a 14 month old girl, and my wife is a kindergarten teacher. My best friend lives in Virginia and I was in high school when the Columbine shooting took place. Lastly, I live in Wilmington. So I am connected to each of these shootings in some small way. After the Sandy Hook shooting I was so shaken I could not eat for 2 days and barely slept that night, the images of the frightened children and teachers would not stop playing in my mind… but it never once occurred to me to blame the weapon the terrorist used…
I am honestly confused by the goals of the administration on banning the sales of assault rifles when the problem seems to be mental health, not guns. I have been spending some time thinking about how life was 50 years ago (a rough number, I am referring to the general time period roughly 50 years ago) and what is different now and then. certainly there are a few more semi-automatic rifles available (to call them military rifles is a little silly since the military uses fully automatic rifles now, typically, and I am referring to semi-automatic weapons such as the AR15 or AR10. Semi-auto meaning non-bolt action, multiple round magazine fed rifles. I explain this because it seems some politicians, as well as non-politicians, addressing this subject seem to think semi-automatic and automatic are interchangeable terms) but since then we have instated many more “gun laws” and many of them make perfect sense, so I don’t think the guns themselves are the problem. But a few decades ago there were stronger family structures for children at home, and I think this is largely to blame for the majority of these heinous acts we’re seeing today.
I agree with you and President Obama 100% on the need for thorough background checks when purchasing a firearm, but I would ask that the criteria for being denied a weapon be CLEARLY defined and available to the American public. I also feel it is the right of each American to have an opinion on that criteria. This is a slippery slope because we are discussing a right outlined in the bill of rights, a right so important to the founding fathers they thought to put it second on the list of unalienable rights available to every American citizen in the document our country is based around. BUT I agree that people suffering from mental illness and felons should not be permitted to own firearms of any type.
Recently a Mentally ill individual, in possession of a firearm, threatened the lives of me and my family… this was a very frightening time for us and the police informed us that all they could do is issue a verbal warning to leave us alone and nothing else could be done… at that point two things became clear to me; 1. Thank god I have a gun of my own. 2. The system is broken… When an individual has been recorded as threatening the lives of your family and you present that to the police that should raise some red flags and action should be taken. When you add to that this person being diagnosed with a mental illness and admitting to being in possession of a firearm, swift and serious action needs to be taken to prevent the loss of innocent life.
The above mentioned event should shed some light on the shootings we are all talking about today, at least it did for me. I have to assume that there were warning signs before each of these events took place, and people chose to ignore them or they acted on them and were met with similar dead ends to that which I ran into. As a result innocent lives were lost. It seems that in several cases of violence in schools (not just shootings, it seems tragedy involving guns gets more attention from the media AND the government for some reason) it has been children that have either been bullied beyond their threshold of tolerance, or simply do not have a strong parental presence at home and they do not have anyone to talk to about their illness or feelings. Children being bullied who do not have the parental guidance they need will lash out in many many ways, some times those ways result in the death of others and/or themselves. Of course you cant fix bad parents, but maybe improving the school systems and allowing for more guidance counselors and psychologists is the solution. I was a student not to long ago and my wife is a teacher and I can tell you the public school system needs a major overhaul (at least in the areas I have experience with), and perhaps this can be fixed as part of that overhaul.
I would like to point out a few things regarding the shooting in Sandy Hook, and please feel free to correct me if you think that or know that I am incorrect in any of this; After the shooting they found books on how to live with autism and aspergers and some pictures of dead people with a picture drawn of a woman holding a child being murdered in his bedroom… these were supposedly found 2 weeks before the shooting… the lack of action here along with irresponsible gun ownership by the mother resulted in the sandy hook tragedy. If in place of the assault rifle this terrorist used several handguns, I cannot help but think the tragedy would be any less extreme or horrible. At the range he was firing a pistol would be every bit as deadly as an assault rifle, so why are we discussing the ban in assault rifles?
The Aurora shooting was very strange, this college going kid somehow came into the possession of something like $10,000 in body armor and smoke grenades along with a very expensive set of weapons. I can’t explain this, but I think this shows a symptom of a system that needs a second look… so I am glad we are doing so…
I am still confused as to why we are blaming assault rifles and high-capacity magazines when in some shooting pistols were used or when the rifles WERE used pistols would have been just as deadly.
I would like to close this out by thanking you for reading this and I would truly appreciate a response because I feel my vote matters and I would like to think we are voting for individuals that are willing to discuss these matters with the people they represent.