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Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter - Time for Action

As I write this column, the news is covering still another shooting, this time on a college campus. We will learn who was involved, who was standing where when it happened, who witnessed it, who was hurt, who the hurt people’s friends and families are. Students—reportedly 10,000 students attend the college—will say how terrified they were. And then…the story of this shooting will be dropped from the news cycle, only to be replaced by another shooting story. And Americans will wonder why we can’t seem to stop the violence. Or can we?

When the children and teachers were executed in a mass murder at an elementary school, right before Christmas, while we were talking about love and faith and family and peace, everyone thought that this time, politicians would take action. It did seem for awhile that we had reached our breaking point, and that we would finally be ready to pass responsible gun legislation that would give us both the freedom to hunt and protect our families and the freedom to go about our daily lives without fear of being gunned down in still another act of violence. There was encouraging talk about passing legislation as quickly as possible, and President Obama did sign some Executive Orders with the families of the murdered six and seven year olds and the slain staff in the room.

The fight was already ugly, but that’s where it got uglier. The head of the National Rifle Association said that President Obama was “attacking firearms and ignoring children.” There was a sea of outrage that President Obama had children at the event. Children were at the site of the massacre—I think it is appropriate that children who knew it happened and wrote about it should be in the room when grownups say we are going to try to stop this from happening again to children, or anyone else. The NRA leadership also dragged the President’s own children into the fray, as they falsely warned that President Obama was going to take guns away from law-abiding citizens.

Some in Congress were upset at even the mildest suggestions, such as doctors asking if there are guns in the house so they can talk about safety issues involved when there are children in the residence. Doctors ask if somebody smokes around children. They talk about being safe and careful with candles and stoves, but apparently, they should not ask about a huge killer of children—guns.

It’s time to stop the fighting and work on the solutions here. It is time to stop bowing to special interests and yes, the money they bring to campaigns, and talk about how we are going to protect both the right to have guns for sport and for protection, and the right to be safe from gun violence.

The easiest step should be to require background checks for gun sales. This means gun sales involving most private sales also. The majority of Americans support this plan. We also need to make sure that critical information is available when there is a background check. Records right now are too often incomplete, and do not identify a buyer’s criminal history or a dangerous mental illness.

It is time to end high-capacity magazine sales. It used to be that citizens had a chance to get away from a shooter when he had to stop to reload. But with high-capacity magazines, the killer can just keep firing away a lot longer, murdering many more innocent folks. Hunters do not need to fire 30 rounds. Neither do citizens exercising their right to defend themselves. I support banning magazines holding more than ten rounds. This will help law enforcement and the public to disarm a mass shooter, and it will give people a better chance to escape a madman.

I support President Obama’s call to close loopholes in gun trafficking laws, and to beef up law enforcement in communities. Let’s also step up mental health services, and work together to encourage a reduction of violence in video games and television and movies. All of these ideas should be the easiest to enact. There is another step, an assault weapon ban, that will require more political debate, but these ideas listed here are common-sense ideas that should have no political test of courage attached to them. Can’t we at least get this done now? Let’s get it done now. It already has been a long and deadly wait.


Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter represents New Hampshire’s First District. She previously served the District from 2007-2011, and she was reelected in the November 2012 election. The Congresswoman is again serving on the House Armed Services Committee and the Natural Resources Committee.

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Reader Comments (7)

No civilian needs an assault weapon or a high capacity magazine. There are folks who want them...or at least want the right to buy them...but there is no justification for having them. The 2nd amendment doesn't say you can own any type of weapon that you want. In fact, there are lots of weapons that private citizens cannot legally own. When some private citizen wants to own a stinger rocket launcher are 2nd amendment advocates going to argue they should be allowed to own one? A military grade assault weapon is designed for assault. Who do these assault weapon owners plan to assault?
January 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMarko
Marko! Polo!
Looks like someone forgot that rights don't have anything to do with need, nor are they created in the Constitution, merely protected there by encroachment from your beloved overlords. Slaves and knaves really only need some food, water, and minimal low-CO2-output shelter to keep the hive ... hummin'. Once you get that – doubtful you ever will – the rest of the view comes immediately into focus. For extra bonus points, Markie, why was the second amendment enshrined in both constitutions appertaining thereto?
– C. dog stinging Libs by launching into verbal mazes
January 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterC. dog
There are lot's of weapons that are not legal to own. Only people who want to own assualt rifles are collectors, doomsday stockpilers, people who think an assult rifle is the ideal weapon for home defense...people who want to assault someone or want to assualt the governemt ( in the name of protectecting constitution)....
Aside from the collectors, the others fall into the catagory of sick, paranoid, or misinformed.
Assault rifles and high magazine clips are made for assaulting.....private citizens don't need them and it's too dangerous for private citizens to keep them.....Remember Sandy Hook, that Theatre in Colorado, Columbine, etc.
January 30, 2013 | Unregistered Commentermarko
I do remember, Marko Polo, which is why I would want to be able to protect myself in the manner to which I have become accustomed, rather than have you dictate that for me. Heck, I doubt I would be stretching it much to assume you're all for setting up these shooting galleries for wayward democrats to go ballistic. By the way, wouldn't what you propose require a constitutional amendment, like when the teetotalers banned alcohol within Uncle Sammy's domain?
– C. dog setting trip wires to detect liberal intrusions on his promised, but not delivered, freedom
January 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterC. dog
The only thing I am supporting is a ban on assualt weapons, high capacity magazines, and more background checks. None of these changes would prevent you from defending yourself in the unlikely event you find yourself in columbine, sandy hook, colorodo theatre event and feel the need to defend yourself.
January 30, 2013 | Unregistered Commentermarko
Oh Marko, you have yet to answer the most impertinent of questions I posited to you in my first rejoinder to your opening assault: "For extra bonus points, Markie, why was the second amendment enshrined in both constitutions appertaining thereto?" Perhaps you could expend the time now to muster a salvo my way? Then, if you're feeling up to it, perhaps your delicate constitution might be up to the Herculean task of answering the second question: "By the way, wouldn't what you propose require a constitutional amendment, like when the teetotalers banned alcohol within Uncle Sammy's domain?" I know you can do it. After all, you forged through mighty mountains passes on the asses of elephants.
– C. dog put in his thumb and pulled out a plumb while sitting in his corner
January 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterC. dog
Carol SEIU-Porker campaigns on jobs, more cash for the education industry and free abortions for her lady friends...

But after she is back holding Pelosi's luggage - its gun confiscation all the way.

January 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterEd Naile

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