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Oklahoma Congressman React to Gun Proposal
President Obama signed 23 executive orders Wednesday to help curb gun violence. Our Oklahoma delegation in Washington agreed and disagreed with the President's plan. Two senators and two representatives sent us their views after President Obama's announcement.
Here are their unedit statements:
Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04)
"I will oppose any legislation to limit the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Americans, including a ban on so-called assault weapons. I represent tens of thousands of responsible gun owners who safely use guns for hunting and protection, and restricting their freedom is not the solution to gun violence."
House Republican Policy Committee Chairman James Lankford (R-OK)
"We all remain deeply saddened by the tragedies and loss of life from the too-frequent incidents of violence in the United States," said Chairman Lankford.
"Since our founding, Americans have owned and kept guns in their homes. The recent rise in mass shootings is not a product of gun ownership but a cultural shift that has occurred in our nation, requiring serious evaluation. Any proposals to address this shift must work to solve the problem, not just force Congress to 'do something.'
"On behalf of thousands of parents of students in central Oklahoma, I applaud the President's emphasis on school safety. I support efforts to reduce bullying and violence in our schools through creative local solutions, and I encourage responsible adults to get involved in the health and safety of our nation's children. The President's efforts to begin to implement some of House Oversight's recommendations to prevent gun trafficking in America will bolster local community safety initiatives for our children and families.
"State governments are best equipped to deal with local gun safety issues," continued Lankford. "The State of New York's recent choice to enact new gun controls on its citizens to meet a unique regional opinion does not force citizens of other states to live under a federal one-size-fits-all model.
"As a staunch Second Amendment advocate, I remain committed to the principle that any federal proposals must be constitutionally consistent and work to solve the societal problems we face. Since the President selected the Vice President, the de facto leader of the Senate, to lead his task force, it is my assumption that the Senate will immediately take up the President's proposals.
"I will reserve judgment on any proposed legislation until I am able to review the Senate-passed versions of the President's proposals," concluded Chairman Lankford.
U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-OK)
"The president is right to examine what can be done to prevent 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. For instance, the president is right to take steps to strengthen mental health databases and reporting to the NICS system so we can 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.
"I also support the president's call for Congress to vote on these measures and I will review his recommendations in detail. Some have asked whether I will try to block or filibuster this debate because of my support of the Second Amendment. My goal is the opposite. I believe Congress has a responsibility to review all of our laws and make adjustments as necessary in a transparent, open and deliberative manner. I would welcome the opportunity to debate these issues on the floor of the Senate, and would encourage Majority Leader Reid to schedule a full and open debate. Members of Congress and the American people have a right to know where members stand on these key policies. If members can't defend their positions, they don't deserve to be here.
"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. 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.
"Secondly, we must acknowledge 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.
"Finally, policymakers in Washington should remember that the legislative process is downstream from culture. The laws we make in Washington have less impact than the movies and video games that are shaping the hearts and minds of the next generation. Special interest groups from across the spectrum - from Hollywood to the NRA - all have a responsibility to defend a culture of life and liberty. Still, Congress shouldn't take our cues from these groups. As elected officials, we should be 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," Dr. Coburn said.
U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.)
"While we mourn with those who have lost loved ones, in no way should the actions of those few who act illegally impact the constitutional rights of the many," said Inhofe. "I will continue to strongly oppose any effort to undermine the Second Amendment and an individual citizen's right to keep and bear arms."
Inhofe continued, "What people need to understand about today's announcement is that it involved two very distinct actions by the president: 1) executives actions that the President will be implementing unilaterally, and 2) making recommendations to Congress for laws that it should pass. Most of the planned executive orders are common sense changes that are within the President's current powers to implement, namely:
1) Launch a national safe and responsible gun ownership campaign.
2) Provide law enforcement, first responders, and school officials with proper training for active shooter situations.
3) Maximize enforcement efforts to prevent gun violence and prosecute gun crime.
4) Launch a national dialogue led by Secretaries Sebelius and Duncan on mental health.
"I will adamantly oppose any executive order that I believe infringes upon duly enacted laws by the Congress or on our Constitutional rights. Where I do disagree with the President is on his recommendations for laws Congress should pass. We know from experience that an assault weapons ban will have no meaningful effect on gun violence, as 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."
Posted: Wednesday, January 16 2013, 09:37 PM CST
IN OKLAHOMA NEWS
OU student accused of illegal grade changes
May 18, 2013 16:55 GMT
NORMAN, Okla. (AP) -- Authorities have charged a University of Oklahoma student with computer-related crimes for allegedly changing his grades.
Prosecutors on Thursday charged 24-year-old Roja Osman Hamad with five counts of computer fraud or unlawful use of a computer or system.
The Norman Transcript reports (http://is.gd/erahCW ) Hamad is accused of changing the passwords of six OU faculty members without their permission. Investigators say Hamad had access to the system through his campus job.
After changing the passwords, Hamad allegedly had access to the faculty accounts and then altered his grades.
Once the passwords were changed, the faculty members couldn't access the OU computer system.
It was unclear whether Hamad had a lawyer. Hamad's bail was set at $50,000. He wasn't listed on the Cleveland County Jail roster on Saturday.
Information from: The Norman Transcript, http://www.normantranscript.com
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