Thank you for contacting me regarding legislative efforts to reduce gun violence. I appreciate hearing from you, and your views are important to me.
The incomprehensible act of violence that ended the lives of innocent children and educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School has left our nation with a profound sense of sorrow and questions about why these tragedies are occurring with increasing frequency. Congress has an obligation to pass sensible legislation in an effort to reduce the epidemic of gun violence in our nation. We can take logical steps toward that goal without infringing on the Second Amendment rights of law abiding citizens and restricting the traditions of sportsmen in states like New Mexico.
The Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, as well as New Mexico's Constitution, secure the right of law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms. In 2008, the Supreme Court affirmed that the Second Amendment protects an individual citizen's right to own a firearm, but said this right is subject to reasonable restrictions. For generations, many New Mexicans have exercised this right in a responsible way, and I believe they should be able to continue to do so. At the same time, our communities have an obligation to combat crime, maintain public safety and protect citizens from senseless gun violence.
Proposals for reducing gun violence have been put forth by President Obama and several of my colleagues in Congress. This week, the Senate agreed in a bipartisan vote of 68-31 to begin debate and consideration of S. 649, the Safe Communities, Safe Schools Act of 2013, a bill introduced by Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada. While the bill has not yet been finalized, it does contain key provisions I support to expand criminal background checks, increase school safety and strengthen laws against gun trafficking and illegal purchases.
On April 11, Senators Joseph Manchin and Patrick Toomey introduced a bipartisan amendment to the Safe Communities, Safe Schools Act (715), which I plan to support during the consideration of this bill. It would extend background checks to all commercial sales conducted at gun shows and over the internet. However, it would not require background checks for transfers between family members or friends. The amendment also includes language that reaffirms the existing prohibition on creating a national gun registry in current law.
While making these sensible changes to federal gun laws is important, we must also give our law enforcement the resources they need to enforce these laws. As a former federal prosecutor, I understand how it can be difficult to prosecute firearm offences when resources are limited. Therefore, I also plan to introduce an amendment to S. 649 that will allow the Attorney General to hire additional Assistant U.S. Attorneys to focus on investigating and prosecuting gun crimes, including gun trafficking which contributes to violence along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Another important component is increased access to mental health services. To that end, I am a cosponsor of S. 116, the Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act Reauthorization of 2013, and S. 195, the Mental Health in Schools Act. These bills will help improve accessibility to mental health services for young people. I will continue to seek additional ways to improve our country's approach to mental health during the amendment process for S. 649.
There is much more serious work ahead and many other amendments are expected to be offered and voted on as we consider S. 649 -- including those to reinstate the ban on semiautomatic assault weapons and to restrict high-capacity magazines. I will carefully evaluate each and every one of these proposals and cast my vote based on whether I believe they can effectively reduce violent crimes, meet Constitutional standards and work for New Mexico.
I remain hopeful that working together we will achieve sensible, bipartisan solutions to prevent gun violence and secure our communities. Please be assured that I will thoughtfully consider any legislation focused on preventing future tragedies, and that I will keep your thoughts in as the Senate continues to consider S. 649.
AND HERE IS MY RESPONSE TO UDALL'S BALONEY...
Senator, I received your letter on gun control. It contains the same stupid, insipid, and ill-advised garbage that has been pandered by fascists for decades.
I asked you a very specific question: how do you propose to make “universal background checks” work without utterly repudiating the Bill of Rights. You responded by invoking the recent mass murders, especially of children, clearly in the belief that it gives you absolute free rein to do anything you wish, as long as it “…saves even one child.” Then you went into the familiar litany about commercial sales at gun shows and undocumented internet sales.
Here’s a newsflash for you, Senator: all commercial sales, at gun shows and otherwise, have been subject to background checks for years. I have purchased guns at shows, and I assure you, I went through the background check. As for internet sales, they have been illegal for decades, along with mail order sales, thanks to the Democrat frenzy over Lee Harvey Oswald’s mail order purchase of a rifle he could have had at any hardware store for $30.00. That was in 1968, I believe, and we all know how effective it was in combating crime.
At every opportunity, you equate crime control to gun control, with phrases like, “common sense,” and “bipartisan” thrown in, evidently under the impression that such phrases grant absolution to your misbegotten ideas. Well, Sir, they do not. Common sense is getting more rare by the day, and I guarantee you the common sense of murdering gang-banger on the border is not the common sense of a homeowner who might be facing him in a gunfight. As for bi-partisan, don’t make me puke. Today’s Republican party is as filled with traitors and quislings as is the Democratic party. Bipartisan just means you got a bunch of other snakes to go along with you.
If it only saves one child? How about all the children who are saved by the parents - and even themselves – who use guns to save life and preserve virtue? How many of them are you willing to condemn to death? Yes, Sir. How many death certificates are YOU personally willing to sign?
Will you answer my question, Senator? How will you implement universal background checks without eliminating most of the Bill of Rights?
I also noticed that you voted for the UN gun control treaty. That, Sir, is an act of treason, and, if there were justice in America, you’d be in irons right now.
14 April, 2013