WASHINGTON, D.C. - Oklahoma U.S. Senators Jim Inhofe and Tom Coburn reacting to President Obama's announcement of gun control measures said they will support the Second Amendment.
Their reactions came Wednesday after Obama that morning announced 23 executive orders he later signed and legislative proposals he will push in Congress – all measures targeting to preventing gun violence as seen last month at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut where a gunman killed 20 children.
U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-Okla.) is his statement regarding Obama's proposals said the president is right to examine what can be done to prevent such tragedies such as Sandy Hook from occurring again.
"I commend his effort and look forward to working with him on areas of agreement while we continue to honestly debate areas of disagreement," he said, saying he supports the president's efforts to strengthen mental health databases to ensure that guns do not end up in the hands of criminals or those who are a threat to themselves or others.
"In the hands of a deranged person, a clip size of one is one too many. Still, states are primarily responsible for enacting measures to improve reporting to the NICS system," Dr. Coburn said.
The senator said he also supports Obama's call to action to Congress and will review Obama's recommendations in detail, saying Congress has a responsibility to review all laws and make adjustments as necessary in an open and deliberate manner.
"However, as we debate these measures, we first must ensure our constitutional rights and individual liberties, including the Second Amendment right to bear arms, are protected. Instead of repeating the failed policies of the past, Congress should work on thoughtful and constitutional ways to prevent unspeakable tragedies like this from happening again," said Coburn.
"The fact that almost every public mass shooting tragedy occurs in a place where guns are prohibited shows that restricting Second Amendment rights tends to disarm everyone but the assailant."
He said, however, that with rights come responsibilities.
"Gun owners must exercise personal responsibility and do everything in their power to prevent firearms and ammunition from falling into the wrong hands."
Coburn concluded in saying that the legislative process is "downstream from culture" and that laws made in Washington have less impact than the movies and video games.
He pointed to special interest groups and said those in the legislative branches as elected officials are "beholden solely to the Constitution."
"Our job as it relates to interest groups is not to take instructions from them, but to give direction to them through our constitutional authority to legislate," Coburn said.
In response to Obama's announcement, Inhofe (R. Okla.) said while the nation mourns the loss of the children at Sandy Hook, the actions of those few who acted illegally should not impact the constitutional rights of the many.
"I will continue to strongly oppose any effort to undermine the Second Amendment and an individual citizen's right to keep and bear arms," he said.
Inhofe pointed out that the day's announcement involved two distinct actions by the president – the first being executives actions Obama will be implementing unilaterally and the second being recommendations to Congress for laws that it should pass.
Inhofe in his statement labeled most of the executive orders as "common sense changes" which he said were "within the president's current powers to implement," those being:
- Launching a national safe and responsible gun ownership campaign.
- Providing law enforcement, first responders and school officials with proper training for active shooter situations.
- Maximizing enforcement efforts to prevent gun violence and prosecute gun crime and
- Launching a national dialogue led by Secretaries Sebelius and Duncan on mental health.
Inhofe said he will adamantly oppose any executive order he believes infringes upon enacted laws by the Congress or on Constitutional rights.
"Where I do disagree with the President is on his recommendations for laws Congress should pass," he said, saying experience shows an assault weapons ban will have no meaningful effect on gun violence – that many of the changes that are implemented by a such a ban are cosmetic in nature.
"Statistics demonstrate that a ban on particular weapons will not significantly decrease crime. Such a ban will, however, significantly decrease our rights guaranteed by the Constitution."
"The text of the Constitution clearly confers upon an individual the right to bear arms – and not just for the purposes of hunting as many liberals will claim. Our Founders believed that the people's right to own guns was an important check on the powers of the government and ‘necessary to the security of a free State.' I couldn't agree more and I stand firm in my support of this right."