The Pryor Times

January 18, 2013

Oklahoma legislators respond to ‘gun speech’

— WASHINGTON, D.C. — Wednesday, the Obama administration rolled out an aggressive series of proposals for new gun control measures.

The proposals include: an assault-weapons ban, expansion of background checks for all firearms buyers and limits on high-capacity ammunition clips.

The press conference featured 23 executive orders aimed at tightening federal control over gun rights. In President Obama’s first term he has issued 144 total executive orders.  Today’s total signifies a nearly 15 percent increase in the total number of executive orders for his term on this one issue.

In regard to the proposed legislative action, President Obama called for outlawing magazine clips of more than 10 rounds of ammunition. Today’s proposals would be the most sweeping change in gun control laws since the 1960’s.

Rep. Markwayne Mullin (OK-2) issued the following statement in response to the Obama administration’s proposals:

“The constitution was not written by the government to tell the people what rights they had. The constitution was written by the people to limit the government’s power. What the Obama administration is proposing in potential legislative actions and executive orders is a violation of 2nd amendment rights which guarantees us the right to keep and bear arms.

In Oklahoma there are many law abiding citizens who hunt, fish and keep guns for self-protection. The last thing we need to do infringe upon the rights of those citizens. Criminals who chose to break the law will not be deterred by any number of executive actions. These rights are a fundamental way of life for people in my District and across the United States.

The President is politicizing a national tragedy to impose his own personal agenda. This is outrageous and an outright assault on civil liberties. I strongly oppose restricting the rights of law abiding citizens to keep and bear arms and will do everything I can to protect our second amendment rights.”

U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) reacted to President Obama’s announcement on guns that includes both Executive Orders and the pursuit of legislation through Congress.

“While we mourn with those who have lost loved ones, in no way should the actions of those few who act illegally impact the constitutional rights of the many,” said Inhofe.  “I will continue to strongly oppose any effort to undermine the Second Amendment and an individual citizen's right to keep and bear arms.”

Inhofe continued, “What people need to understand about today’s announcement is that it involved two very distinct actions by the president: 1) executives actions that the President will be implementing unilaterally, and 2) making recommendations to Congress for laws that it should pass. Most of the planned executive orders are common sense changes that are within the President’s current powers to implement, namely:

1) Launch a national safe and responsible gun ownership campaign.

2) Provide law enforcement, first responders, and school officials with proper training for active shooter situations.

3) Maximize enforcement efforts to prevent gun violence and prosecute gun crime.

4) Launch a national dialogue led by Secretaries Sebelius and Duncan on mental health.

“I will adamantly oppose any executive order that I believe infringes upon duly enacted laws by the Congress or on our Constitutional rights. Where I do disagree with the President is on his recommendations for laws Congress should pass. We know from experience that an assault weapons ban will have no meaningful effect on gun violence, as many of the changes that are implemented by a such a ban are cosmetic in nature. Statistics demonstrate that a ban on particular weapons will not significantly decrease crime. Such a ban will, however, significantly decrease our rights guaranteed by the Constitution.

“The text of the Constitution clearly confers upon an individual the right to bear arms – and not just for the purposes of hunting as many liberals will claim. Our Founders believed that the people’s right to own guns was an important check on the powers of the government and ‘necessary to the security of a free State.’ I couldn’t agree more and I stand firm in my support of this right.”

U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-OK) released the following statement regarding President Obama’s gun control proposals following the tragic events that took place in December at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn.

“The president is right to examine what can be done to prevent tragedies such as Sandy Hook from occurring again.  I commend his effort and look forward to working with him on areas of agreement while we continue to honestly debate areas of disagreement.  For instance, the president is right to take steps to strengthen mental health databases and reporting to the NICS system so we can ensure that guns do not end up in the hands of criminals or those who are a threat to themselves or others.  In the hands of a deranged person, a clip size of one is one too many. Still, states are primarily responsible for enacting measures to improve reporting to the NICS system,” Dr. Coburn said.

“I also support the president’s call for Congress to vote on these measures and I will review his recommendations in detail.  Some have asked whether I will try to block or filibuster this debate because of my support of the Second Amendment.  My goal is the opposite.  I believe Congress has a responsibility to review all of our laws and make adjustments as necessary in a transparent, open and deliberate manner.  I would welcome the opportunity to debate these issues on the floor of the Senate, and would encourage Majority Leader Reid to schedule a full and open debate.  Members of Congress and the American people have a right to know where members stand on these key policies.  If members can’t defend their positions, they don’t deserve to be here.

“However, as we debate these measures, we first must ensure our constitutional rights and individual liberties, including the Second Amendment right to bear arms, are protected.  Instead of repeating the failed policies of the past, Congress should work on thoughtful and constitutional ways to prevent unspeakable tragedies like this from happening again.  The fact that almost every public mass shooting tragedy occurs in a place where guns are prohibited shows that restricting Second Amendment rights tends to disarm everyone but the assailant.

“Secondly, we must acknowledge that with rights come responsibilities. Gun owners must exercise personal responsibility and do everything in their power to prevent firearms and ammunition from falling into the wrong hands.

“Finally, policymakers in Washington should remember that the legislative process is downstream from culture.  The laws we make in Washington have less impact than the movies and video games that are shaping the hearts and minds of the next generation.  Special interest groups from across the spectrum – from Hollywood to the NRA – all have a responsibility to defend a culture of life and liberty.  Still, Congress shouldn’t take our cues from these groups.  As elected officials, we should be beholden solely to the Constitution.  Our job as it relates to interest groups is not to take instructions from them, but to give direction to them through our constitutional authority to legislate,” Dr. Coburn said.