A good response

A good friend of mine wrote her congressman regarding the push for gun control. His response is exactly what I want to see from our politicians

Dear Mrs. [******],

There has been a lot of talk about gun control and the Second Amendment following the tragic Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.

First and foremost, no words can describe the unspeakable tragedy that occurred in Connecticut.  With the loss of so many innocent lives, especially the young children, my prayers continue to go out to the families and the community around them. My wife, Wendy, is a school teacher and as parents, neither of us can begin to imagine the pain that those affected families are experiencing. 

During my 37 years in law enforcement, I have seen criminals- mentally ill and otherwise- do terrible, heinous things.  Whether it is with a gun, a lead pipe, a kitchen knife, or a bomb, if an individual is set on harming others, he will always find a way.  Knowing that is one of the hardest parts of being in law enforcement. 

In the aftermath of tragedies, people often ask what more law enforcement agencies could have done to prevent this type of crime.  When the violence is gun-related, some react by pushing to increase restrictions on gun owners and sportsmen.

I understand the desire to act, unfortunately, knee-jerk, reactionary laws do nothing to truly deter crime.  Instead, they only restrict the freedoms of decent citizens who live each and every day abiding by the law. For instance, the debate now centers on "assault weapons" and whether banning them would have prevented Sandy Hook.  What you don't often hear in debates is that the only meaningful difference other than appearance between an AR-15 "assault rifle" and a .30-06 hunting rifle is that the .30-06 does more physical damage to whatever it hits.  Both weapons are semi-automatic meaning they have the same rate of fire – one round is discharged each time the trigger is pulled. The key is stopping individuals from killing, not simply changing the tool they use to do it.

The Second Amendment to the Constitution states that the right to keep and bear arms "shall not be infringed." That is a right that our Founders carefully included to guarantee this great nation's citizens the right to protect their families and property. For this reason, I am a strong supporter of our Second Amendment and I will continue to protect it.

Not only will the President's proposals violate Americans' Second Amendment rights, they won't fix the problem.  That is why I am working actively on legislation- legislation I started writing long before Sandy Hook- that improves the way law enforcement and others deal with mental health issues.  Addressing the startling overlap between our criminal justice and our mental health systems and the need for reform is such a universally recognized need that I have been working with Senator Al Franken (D-MN) on this bill.  Although he may be a liberal Democrat in the Senate and I may be a conservative, House Republican, we are committed to finding ways to improve and expand our legislation because if we're serious about preventing another tragedy like Sandy Hook, it's going to be our efforts on mental health that achieve it.

Again, thank you for taking the time to contact me about this difficult subject.  In the future, I hope you will continue to contact me about other issues affecting the federal government that are important to you.


Richard Nugent
Member of Congress

Emphasis mine.

Mr. Nugent is the type of representative we need, and in that end, he’s the type of representative we need to support. I will be writing him a thank you letter even though I am not in his district.

posted by by Robb Allen @
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