Cornyn Responds To Letter About Gun Violence

By Johnny Rollerfeet's Echo Chamber - Last updated: Monday, February 1, 2016 - Save & Share - Leave a Comment

It’s rare that I’ve had good things to say about my congressional representatives. As a left leaning libertarian in Austin, they often don’t consider me as a constituent. 

After San Bernardino, I wrote a letter to my Senators and House Representatives about gun violence demanding that they take action. I wasn’t advocating for a particular action, but I expressed my distress at the lack of actual solutions from conservatives. 

I am happy to post this letter I received from Senator John Cornyn. It lays out a thoughtful response including actionable suggestions, all of which I support. I’m not naive enough to believe this is the end of the discussion, but I see proposed solutions which we should all agree to implement.

Read Senator Cornyn’s response below. (Errors are most likely due to poor OCR software and my inability to copyedit.)

United States Senate
WASHINGTON, DC 20510-4305

January 12, 2016

Thank you for contacting me with your suggestions for federal firearms policy. I recognize the time and effort that you are dedicating to actively participate in the democratic process, and I am encouraged that you and other concerned citizens are committed to reducing gun violence in America.

Like every Texan, I want to prevent gun violence, and I believe this begins with fully enforcing existing gun laws. Under the current Administration, gun crime prosecutions have dropped significantly. This is a starting point: going after the criminals and those who lie on their background checks.

The federal government has also not adequately enforced the 2007 NICS Improvement Amendments Act, a law that is supported by organizations ranging from the National Rifle Association to the Brady Campaign. Passed unanimously by Congress following the Virginia Tech shootings, this law requires states to submit the mental health records of individuals who are adjudicated as a danger to themselves or others, so that they are prevented from legally purchasing firearms. It is worth noting that Texas has received high marks from the Government Accountability Office for its compliance with the law. Our state has shown how to make the necessary reforms while also protecting Second Amendment rights.

On August 5, 2015, I introduced the Mental Health and Safe Communities Act of 2015 (S. 2002), which would enhance the ability of local communities to identify and treat potentially dangerous, mentally-ill individuals. S. 2002 will help fix the existing background check system without expanding it, increase the use of treatment-based alternatives for mentally-ill offenders, and improve crisis response and prevention by local officials. The bill is endorsed by a diverse group of organizations, including the National Alliance on Mental Illness, and the National Association of Police Organizations. Federal and state authorities alike have criticized the Justice Department’s ambiguous guidelines that fail to include many existing mental illness records. Far too many mental health records remain stuck in a bureaucratic logjam. S. 2002 would help to clear that logjam and has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee, of which I am a member, for further consideration.

This is the debate we should be having – a debate that focuses on the real root causes of mass violence, and a debate that addresses the perilous intersection of guns and mental illness. We can tackle these problems without curtailing Second Amendment rights, and I will continue to push for effective solutions that protect communities while preserving our constitutional liberties.

I am always appreciative when Texans reach out and share their concerns. Thank you for taking the time to contact me.

Sincerely,

JOHN CORNYN

United States Senator

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