John Adams once wrote to Thomas Jefferson, “My friend, you and I have lived in very serious times.” Considering the challenges facing our country today, the same may be said of us. In this week's Rigell Report I want to brief you on how I am addressing two of those challenges, sequestration and gun violence.
Last week I visited the USS HARRY S TRUMAN while the ship was underway conducting training exercises off the coast of North Carolina. Ably led by Captain Robert Roth, the fine officers and crew of CVN 75 are ready to get underway and take their assigned station in the Persian Gulf. Yet anticipated cuts to the Navy's budget resulting from sequestration caused the Navy to delay the Truman's departure. The delay is an early indication of the serious impact that sequestration will have on our nation's military readiness and our local economy, if it is allowed to go in to full effect.
I actively supported and voted for two separate measures that would stop sequestration. Both were passed by the House and were sent to the Senate:
- On May 10, 2012, H.R. 5652, the Sequestration Replacement Reconciliation Act of 2012
- On December 20, 2012, H.R. 6684, the Spending Reduction Act of 2012
To date, the Senate has done nothing.
I am not going to give up the fight to find a wiser fiscal path and stop sequestration. This week, I co-sponsored legislation introduced by House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon, the Down Payment to Protect National Security Act of 2013. This legislation would stop the cuts for the remainder of this fiscal year by offsetting them with savings through normal attrition (not layoffs) in the federal workforce.
The Senate need only pass one of these alternatives to stop sequestration.
Preventing Gun Violence
This week, I, along with Representatives Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Patrick Meehan (R-PA), and Elijah Cummings (D-MD) introduced the first bipartisan bill in the House of Representatives of this Congress to address gun violence.
The Gun Trafficking Prevention Act of 2013 (GTPA) gives law enforcement the tools they said they need to deter and prosecute criminals who traffic in firearms. The bill specifically addresses “straw purchasing,” where an individual poses as the actual buyer, but is really acquiring the firearm for another person. Firearms acquired through a straw purchaser are often used to commit serious crimes, like the Christmas Eve murder of two first responders in Webster, New York.
The GTPA prohibits gun trafficking and increases the penalties associated with straw purchases, which too often are treated as “paper work” offenses.
As a Life member of the NRA, as a gun owner, and as a strong defender of our Second Amendment, I see the Second Amendment as a high and impassable wall that protects on one side every law abiding American’s constitutional right to own firearms; on the other side are those who do not have a constitutional right to a firearm, namely criminals.
I believe in strong penalties for those who break the law using firearms because their conduct inevitably puts pressure on my rights – and all of our rights as Americans protected under the Constitution.
This bill upholds the Second Amendment and better equips law enforcement. It helps create a culture that strongly discourages straw purchasers, which protects our children and our families. It is a serious crime to purchase a gun for someone else and reducing the number of straw purchasers will save lives.
Indeed, we are living in serious times. What is required of us is a firm resolve to do what must be done, to work together, and be guided in our decisions by sound principles that promote Liberty and Freedom. Let us not forget our special heritage and the sacrifice made by those who have defended our nation since its inception. We’re Americans, we can do this!
Yours in Freedom,
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