The issue of protecting our Second Amendment rights was the topic of much conversation this week on Capitol Hill. I was proud to lead a one-hour Special Order on the floor of the House of Representatives to allow my colleagues and me to share our thoughts on our Constitutionally-protected right to keep and bear arms while protecting ourselves and our families.
In the wake of the Newtown, Connecticut tragedy, there has been much discussion of gun control proposals designed to keep our children safe. As I spoke, I acknowledged that there are evil people who use guns for evil purposes, but quickly pointed out that firearms are a tool and should not be blamed for the actions of misguided individuals. Furthermore, we must not allow tragedies to rush lawmakers into passing hastily-written and emotionally-driven legislation that would infringe on the rights of law-abiding citizens to protect themselves and their loved ones.
I cited two Missouri cases in which victims of crime were able to defend their lives, thanks to firearms. There is the 2008 case of a Cape Girardeau rape victim who was almost assaulted a second time, days later, by the same rapist. She protected herself with a 12-gauge shotgun borrowed from a friend. Then there is the 2005 case of a Kansas City homeowner who defended his life with a gun against a knife-wielding intruder. There are many more examples of firearms being used to protect the lives of honest and decent citizens.
We must have meaningful conversation about mental health issues and other possible contributors to violent behavior. We must commit ourselves to addressing the human factor behind gun violence, rather than emotionally attacking the tool used by the attacker.
I invite you to watch part of the video of my floor speech on our right to protect ourselves:
Opening Statement: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dxYi5ITOaIc&feature=youtu.be
Full video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ABWVRcPmqHg&feature=youtu.be
On another matter, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) imposed furloughs this week on air traffic controllers, despite claims from many Members of Congress that the sequester cuts the FAA cites as the reason for the furloughs could have been handled differently.
The fact is the FAA has failed to make smart choices as to where to cut and some of my colleagues in Congress have called this action little more than a "political stunt" that puts the traveling public at risk. I agree with them. The simple truth is that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) was able to avoid furloughs while dealing with across-the-board cuts. There is no reason the FAA could not have done the same.
Instead, the Obama Administration, which controls the FAA, is needlessly forcing airline flight delays in a bid to get travelers angry enough to demand their Senators and Representatives raise taxes. And, it still plans to shut down the contractor-operated air traffic control towers in Columbia and more than 140 other airports across the country in June.
This ill-conceived ploy is not going to work. I have shared with you the fact I am co-sponsoring bipartisan legislation to restore funding for the tower in Columbia and others. As a member of the House Budget Committee, I remain committed to ensuring that the FAA makes the smart choices that must be made. American taxpayers and the traveling public deserve better. No federal government agency, including the FAA, should be allowed to inconvenience the American people to coerce them to accept more taxes.
Have a good week.