"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." - Second Amendment, The Constitution of United States
In the days and weeks following the horrific violence at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut politicians and activists groups have called for new gun laws and restrictions for gun owners. It is unfortunate that some would try to exploit this tragedy.
When I was sworn in to represent Arkansas's First Congressional District in the House of Representatives, I took an oath to uphold the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens. The federal government should not compromise the ability of decent Americans to own a gun for protection or sport.
Since the founding of our country, "the right to keep and bear arms" has been a part of our nation's fabric. Today, Second Amendment rights are most often associated with hunting and marksmanship. However, at the birth of our nation, the Second Amendment was added to the Constitution to ensure "a well-regulated Militia" could be formed to protect the "security of a free State."
This week the Obama Administration has indicated their willingness to use executive privilege to tighten gun laws. Instead of seeking to limit Constitutional rights, I am pushing for a thoughtful conversation about the steps that can be taken to protect our children. We must look at ways to improve identification, diagnosis, and treatment for people living with serious mental illnesses. There must be a national dialogue about the amount of violence that our children see in movies and video games and on television and the internet. We need to talk to gun owners about the importance of storing their firearms in secure and safe locations.
As a father of two young children, school safety is a major concern for my family. In Northeast Arkansas we are all too aware of the reality of school shootings after the tragedy at Westside Middle School in Jonesboro in 1998. My thoughts and prayers continue to be with the families who lost their loved ones so close to the Christmas season. I hope you will join me in praying for the victims' families so they might find peace after this shocking tragedy.