Thank you for taking the time to contact me about the tragic shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. I appreciate hearing from you about this issue.
As you know, on December 14, 2012, an individual in Newtown, Connecticut forced his way into Sandy Hook Elementary School and opened fire on teachers and staff in the building. In total, the perpetrator murdered 20 students between the ages of six and seven years old, as well as six adults, many of whom heroically sought to stop the shooter and save the lives of children. Like many Americans, I was deeply affected by the scope and brutality of this act. My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families.
The motives that led to this senseless massacre will likely never fully be comprehended. However, I believe that all public officials have a responsibility to work to prevent such an event from occurring again. This incident reflects a complex problem that requires a comprehensive strategy, including funding for law enforcement officers and the mental health care system. Too many individuals with mental illness are not receiving the services they need and tragically, sometimes a small number of these individuals turn violent. I have supported access to affordable and accessible mental health services for all Americans and I will continue to review proposed solutions to improve our mental health system.
As you may know, I am a strong supporter of the Second Amendment. Pennsylvania has a fine hunting and sporting tradition, and I will defend the right to bear arms as it is enshrined in our Constitution. However, I also believe that the attack at Sandy Hook Elementary School highlights very serious dangers posed to public safety by the misuse of certain weapons and technology originally developed for warfare. According to reports, the shooter was able to kill many children and adults very quickly because he possessed a military-style semiautomatic weapon. He also allegedly used magazines containing up to 30 rounds of ammunition and carried hundreds of rounds more. After much reflection and careful study of the issue, I have decided to support a federal assault weapons ban as well as legislation restricting high capacity clips. In light of what occurred at Sandy Hook, these are two measures that will lessen the chances that this will happen again soon. (emphasis mine)
Our Nation has already begun a critical dialogue as we examine what steps must be taken to prevent this type of tragedy in the future. On December 19, 2012, President Obama announced the formation of an inter-agency task initiative, led by Vice President Biden, to study these issues and recommend possible actions. I look forward to reviewing these proposals, as well to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to address this complex issue.
Again, thank you for sharing your thoughts with me. Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future about this or any other matter of importance to you.
Sample Letter to send to Senator Casey
I'll thank you for replying to my e-mail about the proposed "assault weapon" bill, but I feel that I must remind you of your two primary jobs as a senator. You took an oath, swearing to "support and defend the Constitution," and if you are not going to abide by that, you need to resign. Your other primary job is to represent your constituents in congress.
Let me quote, for you, the unabridged 2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution:
A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.You probably also know, but I will remind you, that when the 2nd Amendment was written, that all males over the age of 18 were considered to be members of the unorganized militia, and they were required to provide arms and ammunition for militia service. The National Guard did not come about until over 100 years later. The militia is the people, not the military or the National Guard.
So, we have established that the 2nd Amendment applies to all males of age, and through equal opportunities also applies to women. There is nothing there about "sporting purposes" or hunting. Nothing about "reasonable restrictions." Certainly nothing about "conforming to global norms." Keeping and bearing arms is not a privilege. What it says, is "the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."
As your constituent, I want you to uphold your oath to defend the Constitution, including the 2nd and 4th Amendments. The 4th Amendment? Yes, the 4th also. The 2013 Feinstein "assault weapon" bill requires that "assault weapons" and "high-capacity" magazines be transferred to the government upon the death of the owner, and can not be transferred to family or anyone else. The 4th Amendment protects the people from unreasonable search and seizure.
No more gun bans. None. Don't compromise back to the terms of the 1994 ban, or something else We have thousands of gun laws already, they just aren't prosecuted, and criminals break laws, by definition.
The 1994 Clinton "Assault Weapon" ban did not stop mass shootings. The Columbine shootings, and the North Hollywood bank shootout both happened while the Clinton ban was in effect. Connecticut already had an "assault weapon" ban, and was a "gun free" zone - a lot of good that did at Sandy Hook Elementary School. I want you to fight against further restrictions of the right of law-abiding Americans, and I am really serious about it. Guns do not cause crime any more than chairs, coffee cups, or the leaves on trees.