U.S. Representative Richard Hudson, from North Carolina’s 8th Congressional District, and all of the freshmen representatives from North Carolina sent a letter to President Barack Obama this week. The letter expresses their concerns that Obama’s broad gun control measures violate Constitutional rights and sidestep dialogue on gun violence.
The letter was signed by Rep. Hudson, Rep. George Holding (NC-13), Rep. Mark Meadows (NC-11) and Rep. Robert Pittenger (NC-09).
On Jan. 16, Obama signed 23 executive orders aimed at gun control and also asked Congress to pass additional gun control laws including ones that would require a background check on all gun sales; restore a ban on “military-style assault weapons;” ban gun magazines with capacities of more than 10 rounds; and toughen penalties on people who sell guns to those who can’t have them.
The letter sent to Obama said, in part: “Your proposals regarding firearm ownership do no account for the millions of Americans who use them responsibly. Owning a firearm does not make someone a dangerous criminal, but it may protect that individual from becoming another victim.”
Hudson said that he understands some people’s belief that new gun restrictions will stop acts of mass violence “… but we can stop criminals from hurting others without taking away anyone’s Constitutional rights.”
After reading the letter sent by the freshmen congressmen, U.S. Senator Richard Burr of North Carolina said that restricting the rights of law-abiding Americans to own firearms is not the right way to address the gun violence issue.
“I am open to having a conversation about ways in which our nation can address mental health issues and reduce violence, but I will not stand by while the president and others try to restrict the rights of law-abiding American citizens,” Burr said.
Many of the freshmen representatives would rather have a discussion about possible ways to reduce mass gun violence without the need to ban firearms.
“We need a thoughtful discussion about the best ways to protect our citizens, but I am concerned that the president’s proposals go too far,” said Holding.
The representatives who signed the letter are concerned about the additional firearm regulations Obama wants to put in place despite the violations of current gun control regulations.
Pittenger said, “Last year, 77,000 violations of existing gun control regulations were not prosecuted. Instead of calling for even more regulations, President Obama should use his bully pulpit to bring attention to the heart of the matter — the culture of violence that has infected our society.”
Meadows said that we need to enforce existing laws, examine mental health issues and put more safety precautions in schools.
“I encourage the president to put his political agenda aside and sit down at the table with both parties so we can prevent future tragedies,” said Meadows.
Holding said that while protecting American families is important, we need to “recognize the difference between millions of law-abiding American gun owners and a few deranged individuals.”
U.S. Senator Kay Hagan of North Carolina said that she will look at any proposal with an open mind and she will work with both Democrats and Republicans to ensure the safety of the communities while also respecting the rights of gun owners.
“We need to ensure that there are laws in place to prevent a tragedy like Sandy Hook from ever happening again. First and foremost, that will require a serious common sense debate in Congress that looks at access to guns, access to mental health care and violent video games,” Hagan said.
The letter ended by asking Obama to rescind his call for Congress to move rapidly and said, “We endorse a more transparent approach to this problem that respects the process of law-making and thorough debate that includes the voices of all Americans.”
— Staff Writer Laura Edington can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 18, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.