The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

News

January 17, 2013

President's gun measures spur local discussion

— SUNBURY — Politicians representing the Valley vowed Wednesday to protect the right of citizens to own guns in light of President Obama’s sweeping executive and legislative proposals to help curb gun violence.

But while Pennsylvania’s U.S. senators, Democrat Bob Casey and Republican Pat Toomey, agreed they still needed to examine Obama’s ideas, Casey said he supported a ban on military-style weapons and high-capacity magazines.

It is also critical, Casey said, that any proposal include increased funding for local law enforcement programs such as Community Oriented Policing Services, the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grants and Bulletproof Vest Partnerships, as well as measures to address mental health.  

“I continue to be a strong supporter of the Second Amendment,” Casey said, “and believe in the right of citizens to own guns for their own protection as well as for hunting, recreation and collection.”

Toomey said he was carefully reviewing Obama’s proposals.

“Second Amendment rights are important to many Pennsylvanians,” he said, “and must be protected, but there may be areas of agreement with the White House that can be addressed to improve public safety.”

He declined to identify those areas of agreement.

Former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum, a Pennsylvania Republican, said: “President Obama’s gun control recommendations fall far short in addressing the real issue here — putting an end to gun violence.  While the president did propose some reasonable measures, I’m disappointed, yet not surprised, to see so much emphasis on gun control and not enough on key contributors to mass shootings — mental illness and the impact of the entertainment industry’s glorification of violence.

“As a strong supporter of the Second Amendment, I take issue with the Obama administration’s effort to take more control of our lives on the gun issue, when we already have reasonable accommodations in place. We have seen time and time again, when law-abiding citizens have used their legal firearms as a means of self protection.

“Our government cannot stand in the way of that. I come from a state with a rich heritage of hunting and fishing, and will fight to protect our right to bear arms for the sake of the freedoms we cherish as a nation.”

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