JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Moments after President Obama announced sweeping changes he'd like to see in America's gun laws, Action News started hearing from our local lawmakers in Washington. Here are the statements we've received so far:Senator Bill Nelson(D) Florida
"I'm a hunter and I've always owned guns, and I'll be hunting pythons in the Everglades this week. What President Obama is proposing is not an assault on the Second Amendment. Why in the world would we not want to check to see if a person buying a weapon has a criminal record? And why wouldn't we want limits on assault weapons like AK-47's? People are buying assault weapons to kill others, not to hunt. And when assault rifles are used to kill children, it's time for America to act. This is a problem that is common sense and moderation should dictate what the law should be."
------Senator Marco Rubio(R) Florida
“As the father of four young children, I was deeply saddened by the murder of innocent kids at Sandy Hook. In the aftermath of this terrible tragedy, I expressed my hope that President Obama and our elected leaders would take a sober look at how we can prevent such heinous murders in the future. Doing so would require addressing the underlying causes of these evil acts, and keeping guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill without curtailing the 2nd Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens.
“Nothing the President is proposing would have stopped the massacre at Sandy Hook. President Obama is targeting the 2nd Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens instead of seriously addressing the real underlying causes of such violence. Rolling back responsible citizens’ rights is not the proper response to tragedies committed by criminals and the mentally ill. Making matters worse is that President Obama is again abusing his power by imposing his policies via executive fiat instead of allowing them to be debated in Congress. President Obama’s frustration with our republic and the way it works doesn’t give him license to ignore the Constitution.
“Guns are not the problem; criminals with evil in their hearts and mentally ill people prone to violence are. Rather than sweeping measures that make it harder for responsible, law-abiding citizens to purchase firearms, we should focus on the root causes of gun violence and keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill.
“As a strong defender of the 2nd Amendment, I will oppose the President’s attempts to undermine Americans’ constitutional right to bear arms.”
Rep. Ander Crenshaw(R) Florida
“A month has passed since 26 innocent lives were taken in the senseless killings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Our hearts and prayers remain with the families and loved ones who continue to grieve, and all eyes turn to how we can prevent such a tragedy from ever happening again.
“As this horrific crime and other deadly incidents like it involving firearms are investigated, the policies, laws, and proposals around gun control, including President Obama’s new initiatives sit center stage in the national conversation.
“I think we can all agree: no one wants to see another needless, senseless death committed in this country with a firearm. Along the road to that goal, a complex and multi-layered debate over firearms, education, mental health, Second Amendment rights, and more is unfolding.
“Everyone, including Congress, has a role to play in preventing another Newtown from ever happening again, and I look forward to carefully analyzing this proposal. Moving forward, my long-time support for Second Amendment rights remains firm. Furthermore, any substantial and comprehensive legislative changes to gun control policy must be weighed by the full United States Congress, rather than passed piecemeal and unilaterally by executive order.” --------
Rep. Corrine Brown(D) Florida
“The level of gun violence in our nation has reached a level that is simply unacceptable. Over the last few years we have witnessed Columbine, Virginia Tech, Tucson, the Sikh Temple shootings in Wisconsin, the movie theater shooting in Aurora, and now Newtown. There is also unabated gun violence on the streets in every American city, whether that is in Jacksonville or Miami, Chicago or New York. Every year in fact, an average of roughly 10,000 people in America are shot and killed with a firearm.
In response to this endless spiral of violence, our nation needs to commit itself to review and strengthen our national gun laws, as well as focus on the importance of mental support services. In the past, both in 1994, and in 2004, I voted to close gun show loopholes and to ban assault weapons, and I would certainly vote to do so again in any future legislation that comes to the floor of the House of Representatives. Assault weapons are designed to be used in times of war by members of our nation’s armed forces; not against young children in our schools, or in movie theatres, our streets or shopping malls. This is not to say that all guns need to be banned entirely or that hunters should be disallowed to practice the sport of hunting. However, continued legalization of military style weapons will only lead to future tragedies. Moreover, crimes committed with these types of assault weapons put our law enforcement officers and First Responders in grave danger, since even the officers themselves are often times overpowered by these potent weapons.
President Obama’s Executive Orders, whose purpose is to increase the enforcement of existing gun laws and improve the flow of information among federal agencies to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and others who should not have access to them, are crucial to our nation’s response to gun violence, yet alone, they are insufficient. In addition to those initial steps signed today by the President, Congress needs to do its part to strengthen criminal background checks for all gun sales, and close the loophole that allows gun buyers to avoid these checks by purchasing their weapons at gun shows or from a private seller.
Additionally, I strongly support the President’s other legislative proposals, including a ban on assault weapons, limits on high-capacity magazines and new gun trafficking laws to crack down on the spread of weapons across the country.
In the words of President Obama, ‘if there is even one thing we can do to reduce this violence, if there is even one life that can be saved, we have got an obligation to try.’”