President Barack Obama (D) unveiled a major gun violence legislative and executive order package on Wednesday that is the result of a month-long effort to respond to the Newtown Sandy Hook elementary school shootings.
Overall, Arkansas' Congressional delegation reacted negatively to the President's plan.
Obama's proposals include:
- A ban on assault weapons
- Limits on high-capacity magazines
- Expanded background checks for gun purchases
- New gun trafficking laws
He also “promised to act without Congressional approval” to increase the enforcement of existing gun laws and improve the flow of information among federal agencies. And he planned a “national dialogue on mental health” to be led by his cabinet secretaries of Education and Health & Human Services.
“This is our first task as a society. Keeping our children safe. This is how we will be judged. And their voices should compel us to change,” Obama said.
Of course, Arkansas has some high profile in this national debate as former Congressman and 2014 gubernatorial candidate Republican Asa Hutchinson is leading an NRA initiative to study putting armed guards in schools.
Sen. John Boozman (R) was the first to chime in:
“Ultimately his plans rely too strongly on the failed gun-control ideas of the past. While he is likely to find a broad base of support for some of his mental health directives and for providing incentives to hire school resource officers, his push for Congress to bring back the assault weapons ban and to limit ammunition is misguided. New laws are not the answer. Stricter enforcement of the laws on the books is where we need to start.”
Cong. Tim Griffin (R)
“Like most Arkansans, I’m concerned about our nation’s treatment of mental illness, our increasingly crude and violent culture, and a criminal justice system that allows repeat offenders to roam the streets. While some of President Obama’s proposals address these issues, his focus on restricting the rights of law-abiding citizens with tried-and-failed, anti-Second Amendment policies is poll-tested but counterproductive. I am the father of two young children, and I am interested in solutions to curb the violence that plagues America, but I’m not interested in feel-good legislation that leaves our children no safer and Americans less free.”
Cong. Rick Crawford (R)
“President Obama’s announcement today to unilaterally impose 23 executive orders is not the best way to make our communities safer. We need a collaborative effort from all Americans. 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. I will not support laws that would infringe on law-abiding citizens’ constitutional right to own a firearm. The Second Amendment guarantees this right and protects it against infringement.”
Cong. Steve Womack (R)
“As President Obama said today, there is no set of laws – nor a piece of legislation – that will prevent every tragedy. Limiting Second Amendment rights for law-abiding citizens is not the appropriate reaction to senseless acts of violence. Congress – rather than the President through Executive Orders – should instead look for ways to protect the people that are in keeping with our constitutional rights.”