United States Congressman Kevin Cramer announced the first in a series he calls, "American Issues Forums."
In a speech to the Burleigh County Friends of the NRA Banquet in Bismarck, Cramer said he will facilitate a discussion on violence, guns and culture on February 22nd, 2013 in Fargo, ND.
Cramer tried to be a voice of reason in a debate dominated by emotion and extreme rhetoric. "I said from the day of the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting, I welcome a national discussion about all the issues surrounding this and other tragedies. Like everyone, my heart breaks for the families suffering the loss of a loved one killed in this massacre," said Cramer.
Cramer said he is disappointed in the tone President Obama took on the subject of gun control. The President announced an aggressive gun-control agenda last Wednesday, issuing 23 executive orders along with a call for Congress to ban some weapons and ammunition types, and require universal background checks on Americans trying to buy guns.
"While I understand and appreciate the passion of different views on this topic, I do not think it is helpful to have the president unilaterally making policy while demanding congress passes his agenda," Cramer said, "I prefer a calmer more deliberative process leading to people listening to, rather than yelling at each other."
Cramer is inviting clergy, educators, mental health professionals, law enforcement, film makers as well as gun rights and gun control advocates to engage in a dialogue. "The basic questions I want to explore at the forum are: what is the real state of violence in America? What are the main causes of violence? What can be done to make us safer? What, if any, legislative solutions should be considered?"
"We will explore statistics, culture, laws, freedom and peace, all within the context of our constitution," Cramer concluded.
Details about the February 22nd, 2013 Forum will be released as they become available.