Response from Senator McCaskill (D-MO)

My thanks to Senator Claire McCaskill for her time and consideration of the message I sent to her a little over a week ago. Her response is reproduced below. I am considering a response to be sent to her office as I feel again that additional laws targeting guns and their availability or the availability of certain accessories is a waste of time and effort. A recent source I found through will likely be a source of whatever I send in response to her.

Update: Read my response to this message (here).

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January 13, 2013

Dear Mr Ballard,

Thank you for contacting me regarding the recent shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, as well as gun control policy and gun safety.  I appreciate hearing from you and welcome the opportunity to respond.

On Friday, December 14, 2012, a gunman entered Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, and began shooting teachers and students before taking his own life.  This horrific tragedy took the lives of 27 people, including 20 children seven years of age and younger.  As a mother, I’m horrified and stunned by the senseless violence against innocent children and teachers.

This tragedy has led to renewed and important discussions about gun control, which is often a divisive topic in our nation.  The loss of so many beautiful children in a mass shooting that involved an assault rifle with ammunition clips that held large numbers of bullets makes clear that we need to revisit the assault weapons ban that expired in 2004 and review permissible magazine ammunition sizes.  I am also supportive of closing the gun show loophole and making sure that those with court-determined, dangerous mental health diagnoses do not get access to guns.  Finally, it is equally clear that we must reconsider the mental health services available to our citizens, knowing that each mass shooting our nation has experienced involved individuals with substantial mental health problems.  “Obamacare” will expand important mental health coverage when it is implemented in 2014.  Protecting our children and our citizens will require us to come together to find real solutions that cover a broad range of factors that have contributed to these horrific incidents.

I firmly believe that an attempt to promote appropriate gun safety measures can be done without infringing upon law-abiding citizens’ right to own firearms or unduly burdening the hunting and sportsmanship culture of Missouri.  Weapons designed primarily for the use of soldiers to kill people in war are not used in hunting and can be reasonably limited without jeopardizing any rights under the Second Amendment.  I believe the horror of the Newtown shootings makes clear that we must get to work protecting our communities and our children from mass slaughter, while also protecting our Second Amendment rights.  I am hopeful that the National Rifle Association, a significant voice in this discussion, will be a constructive part of this dialogue.

Even as I welcome this renewed debate, please know that I will continue to protect the Second Amendment Rights of law-abiding citizens to safely own and use appropriate firearms.  In the past, I have voted to permit residents of the District of Columbia to own and purchase firearms.  I also supported an amendment to a spending bill that would prevent funding for any international organization, including the United Nations, that places a tax on any firearm owned by a United States citizen.  I have opposed other inappropriate measures, such as forcing Missouri to accept other states’ firearms laws.

As your United States Senator, I will keep your thoughts in mind anytime Congress considers gun-related legislation.  In the wake of the Newtown tragedy, my prayers are with the students and staff at Sandy Hook Elementary, and with their families.  All Americans are outraged at senseless and criminal gun violence no matter where they may fall in the debate on guns in American society.  A renewed national conversation has begun and we must all be a constructive and open-minded part of it.  There is middle ground here, where this nation can come together with sensible laws that prevent the mass murder of innocent citizens, while we continue to respect our Constitution and its Second Amendment rights.

Again, thank you for contacting me. Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future if I can be of further assistance to you on this or any other issue.


Claire McCaskill
United States Senator