Posted: Jan 16, 2013 11:53 AM by Russell Jones
Updated: Jan 16, 2013 2:36 PM
BATON ROUGE - Members of Louisiana's congressional delegation responded to President Obama's plans to curb gun violence in the U. S. today.
Obama announced 23 executive orders and called on Congress to pass other legislation on issues such as a new assault weapons ban, high-capacity ammo clips, mental health and universal background checks on all gun sales.
Congressman Bill Cassidy (R-LA) pointed out that the weapons used in the Sandy Hook school massacre were purchased by someone who would have passed a background check. He also said shootings at Virginia Tech and Tucson, where fellow lawmaker Gabrielle Gifford was shot along with others, weren't committed with assault weapons.
"The common thread in these crimes was untreated mental illness. Funding for mental illness is often misused and ineffective. If we are serious, this should be our focus," Cassidy said.
Congressman Rodney Alexander (R-LA) also issued a statement saying he would not support any proposal which "tramples" the Second Amendment.
"This proposal will not stop criminals from getting their hands on weapons and using them for harm. Instead, the suggested policy will punish law-abiding citizens by placing undue restrictions on valid activities involving firearms," he said.
Meanwhile, Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-LA) commended the president and vice president's recommendations, and called on "all Americans, including hunters and sportsman" to join the effort to make communities safer.
"Regardless of our position on gun ownership, we all have a moral obligation to reduce the broader epidemic of gun violence in this country," Richmond said. "The safety of our families, our sons and daughters, comes above all else."
Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) also said lawmakers and citizens needed to come together in order to solve the problem of gun violence, but stopped short of endorsing the president's recommendations.
"I look forward to reviewing the proposals put forth by the administration and will give them my serious consideration as they are brought for debate in the Senate," she said. "We must find a way to balance our Second Amendment rights with the challenges of mental illness, criminal behavior and the safety of our schools and communities."
Rep. Charles Boustany (R-LA) called the gun control measures "knee-jerk conclusions" which ignored larger issues related to gun violence.
"Guns are merely an avenue for sick people to commit heinous crimes - they are not the root cause," Boustany said. "I cannot support any action by the President to limit gun ownership for American citizens punishing law-abiding gun owners for the actions, however horrible, of one mentally ill individual."