Reps. Gibbons and Carson
March 12, 1997
in this forum:
Is it time for more gun control legislation? How much pressure does the party exert on you? What are the prospects for campaign finance reform? Is Congress trying to be too nice? REP. GIBBONS: How should Congress balance protecting the environment and preserving jobs? REP. CARSON: How did your delayed arrival impact you?
Return to @the Capitol.
Scrutinize the work of several major Congressional committees in online forums with the chairs and ranking members.
Begin an ongoing dialogue with twelve new members of Congress.
Follow the first year in Congress of Freshmen Reps. Kay Granger (R-TX) and Jay Johnson (D-WI)
A question from Paul Lupia of Lewisville, TX:
In light of the recent LA Bank Robbery and Shoot out, the LAPD is going to enter into the mini-arms race and purchase weapons so that officers can "be on the same level playing field as the bad guys". Are there any new movements brewing to re-introduce and toughen gun control laws. We've dis-armed the world, can't we disarm the country?
Rep. Jim Gibbons responds:
The scene from Los Angeles that depicted the violent gun battle between the LAPD and would-be bank robbers was both startling and sobering. It is indicative of a greater intensity in the crimes committed in contemporary America, and the brazen nature of the people who commit them. The simple fact is that over the past thirty years, America's criminal justice system has not been able to handle the demands placed on it. However, this disturbing scenario can provide an opportunity for leadership and serve to galvanize out Nation into action.
Some would use the opportunity to call for more restrictive gun controls. This response would effectively deny the right to own a firearm in a misguided attempt to prevent the scenario that took place in LA. The truth is that the gun control movement only affects citizens who obtain their arms legally. Criminals, like the men who opened fire on the LAPD and the community at large, obtain their guns illegally on the streets, disregarding all laws respecting America's safety.
Stemming the rising tide of violent crime can be accomplished by making a firm commitment to giving our law enforcement people the tools they need to do their job and enforce existing criminal laws. Congress can assist in this process by increasing penalties for gun-related crime and reforming the endless appeals process for convicted criminals. A cultural signal must be sent that preying on society will bring the certainty of punishment. This will not be accomplished by denying law-abiding citizens their Constitutional 2nd Amendment rights.
Rep. Julia Carson responds:
I understand first-hand how these guns can cause havoc in a given community. My grandson is only in his early twenties, yet he has already lost many of his friends to violence in our streets. Certainly, we can try harder to enforce the laws already on the books, such as the assault weapons ban. In addition, we need to look at ways to limit the types of guns that get on the streets. For instance, I am currently co-sponsoring H.R. 476 by Rep. Guiterrez of Illinois, which would ban the possession of non-sporting handguns such as "Saturday Night Specials." No one ever needed to hunt with such a gun, just as no one needs to hunt with an AK-47. We also need to ensure that anyone that has a gun is licensed to have it and has gone through an appropriate safety usage course. Through all these measures we can ensure that these guns do not stray into the wrong hands.