Second Amendment Rights

Second Amendment Rights

As a father, grandfather and a former school board member, I was shocked, outraged and deeply saddened by the recent mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. As we mourn the loss of 26 innocent lives, 20 of them children who were taken far too soon, and pray for the victims and their families, we also question how one individual could carry out such a monstrous act, and what mental and emotional problems drove him to this state.

We have seen too many mass shootings in recent years, including the shootings at Virginia Tech and the Aurora movie theater. While the calls for the creation of new gun control laws in the wake of these horrific attacks may be well intentioned, they are ultimately misguided.

In the wake of the Sandy Hook tragedy, President Obama called on Congress to react by passing more gun control laws. While the President is likely to find a broad base of support for some of his mental health directives and for his request for Congress to provide incentives to hire school resource officers, his push to bring back the assault weapons ban and to limit ammunition is misguided. New laws are not the answer. Stricter enforcement of the laws on the books is where we need to start.

The reality is the gun is the tool, not the cause, of these crimes. We must have a broader conversation about mental health care in our country, as well as look at how current laws are being enforced, to understand why these tragic events keep happening and what we can do to prevent them in the future. If we do not get to the root cause of these tragedies, we will not find the solution to prevent them from reoccurring.

While we must provide the law enforcement community the tools necessary to combat society's criminal element, we must also ensure the rights and freedoms of law-abiding citizens are not infringed upon.

Americans have a Constitutionally-protected right to own guns for legitimate purposes. The ability of decent, hard-working Americans to own a gun—whether for sport or protection—must not be compromised. Only a government that does not trust its citizens would refuse them the right to bear arms. I have taken an oath to uphold the Second Amendment of the Constitution and I intend to protect it.

There is plenty of evidence, both in our country and elsewhere, that proves simply disarming law abiding citizens does not help reduce violent crime. In 2011, Connecticut's gun laws were rated the fifth toughest in the country, including a partial ban on assault weapons, and this tragic incident still could not be prevented. 

This, however, has not stopped the President from pursuing an agenda that seeks to limit the rights of law-abiding citizens. Legislation based on the President’s ideas has been introduced by U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has indicated he will bring it up for a vote. If this bill—or any other bill that infringes on the Second Amendment rights of Americans—comes up for a vote in the Senate, I will uphold and support gun owner’s rights by voting against it.

For the sake of all citizens, especially our children, we need stricter enforcement of the laws already on the books. Certainly, anyone who commits a crime with a firearm should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, but new gun laws are not the answer. Ultimately, we will not see an end to these types of tragedies until we address the root cause—mental health issues in our country. That is where we need to focus on finding a solution. 

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