I ask a simple question, and I get a form letter in response that is more evasive than anything else. All I asked is how she’ll be voting on Feinstein’s Assault Weapons Ban bill. Simple yes/no question. Jesus Christ…
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Dear Mr. Ballard,
Thank you for contacting me regarding gun control policy and gun safety. I appreciate hearing from you and welcome the opportunity to respond.
As you know, the Second Amendment to the Constitution guarantees Americans the fundamental right to bear arms. I strongly support legal and safe gun ownership by law-abiding citizens and have consistently voted to uphold this constitutional right. I welcomed and supported the recent Supreme Court decision in the District of Columbia v. Heller case that made clear that the constitutional right to gun ownership is an individual one.
At the same time, we have to make sure that guns do not fall into the hands of individuals who should not have them. We should have sensible, constitutional controls on gun ownership that address safety in our communities, like preventing the mentally ill and criminals from possessing guns.
Recent tragedies, such as the mass shooting in Aurora, Colorado, and the horrific events in Newtown, Connecticut, have made it clear that our nation’s current gun laws should be reconsidered. Efforts to close the gun show loophole, provide for universal background checks on all guns sales, and to ensure that those with court-determined, dangerous mental health diagnoses do not get access to guns are being considered. While I want to closely study any proposal before I vote on it, I welcome these initiatives, because they represent sensible steps to keep our communities safe while respecting gun ownership rights. Importantly, legal experts believe each of these steps is consistent with the Second Amendment.
Knowing that those responsible for some of the most prominent mass shootings in recent history have suffered from mental illness, it is equally clear that we must also consider mental health services available to our citizens. A more robust mental health care system may help identify and treat individuals who need help before they resort to violence. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly known as "Obamacare," will substantially expand important mental health coverage when it is fully implemented in 2014. I am hopeful that efforts to repeal these vital expansions in mental health care will come to an end, while new efforts will be undertaken to expand access to care.
Importantly, 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.
You may be interested to know that, in the past, my commitment to respecting the Second Amendment has led me to vote to permit residents of the District of Columbia to own and purchase firearms and to prevent funding for any international organization, including the United Nations, that places a tax on any firearm owned by a United States citizen.
While the debate over appropriate gun control measures is divisive, I believe there is middle ground here. This nation can come together to support sensible laws that prevent the mass murder of innocent citizens — especially innocent children — while we continue to respect our constitution and its Second Amendment rights. Please know that, as your United States Senator, I will keep your thoughts in mind as Congress considers gun-related legislation in the months ahead.
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.
United States Senator