Reaction to Presidental gun violence control plans rolling in

Posted at: 01/16/2013 1:39 PM
Updated at: 01/16/2013 4:26 PM
By: KOB.com staff

KOB Eyewitness News 4 is working to get reaction to President Obama’s statement Wednesday on gun control.

Without waiting for Congress, President Obama signed a $500 million plan to curb gun violence that includes universal background checks, bans on military-style assault weapons and high-capcity ammunition magazines. The moves come in the wake of several high-profile shootings, including the massacre of 26 people at a Connecticut elementary school in December. 

Here’s what reaction we’ve been able to gather so far – check back here later Wednesday and watch Eyewitness News 4 tonight for more.

Calibers Shooters Sports Centers:

"We at Calibers share the goal of wanting to make our communities and children safer by reducing violence in our society, like the tragic incident that occurred last month in Newtown, Conn. We are reviewing Vice President Biden's recommendations with an open mind in hopes they will offer real means of achieving our shared goal. The central issue involved in violence where a firearm is misused is the unauthorized access to the firearm. We believe it is critical to first focus on the unauthorized access to firearms by irresponsible persons and those not legally qualified to possess them. We support immediate improvements to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) that will bring all appropriate mental health and other records, such as restraining orders, into the NICS system. Fixing NICS must be among the highest priorities in order to help further prevent illegal purchases of firearms from federally licensed retailers. In order to help prevent unauthorized access to firearms in the home, we have long supported and are initiating an expanded safety campaign to promote the secure and responsible storage of all firearms and ammunition when not in use. We believe the personal responsibility of gun owners, especially if there are children or at-risk individuals in the home, is central to any meaningful discussion of the issues. Calibers will continue to lend its expertise to this important national and local conversation."

Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M.:

“I’m pleased that the Administration has proposed some pragmatic public safety measures that the vast majority of Americans—and especially gun owners—can embrace. I also applaud President Obama for prioritizing mental health services and ensuring that our schools, families, and communities have the tools they need to support the mental health of our kids. “Keeping guns out of the hands of people legally prohibited from having them is a common-sense way to prevent gun violence. Additionally, expanding background checks and creating serious penalties for selling firearms to criminals are ways to prevent gun violence without punishing law abiding gun owners. “I have always believed that law abiding citizens should be able to own firearms for both sport and self-defense. Like many New Mexicans, I own guns for both of these purposes. But like all parents, I was deeply affected by the events in Connecticut. I will be taking a serious look at all of the legislative proposals aimed at preventing these horrific tragedies and intervening early where mental health is a concern. I’ll base my support for any legislation on whether it can realistically reduce the violence while still protecting the constitutional right to bear arms.”

Rep. Ben Ray Luján, D-N.M.:

“I want to thank Vice President Biden for his hard work to put together proposals to address gun violence. The shooting in Connecticut was a horrific tragedy and my prayers are with all the families and the community. It is one of many tragedies that reveal an alarming trend of gun violence in our society. I am a supporter of the 2nd amendment, however, in light of the many recent shootings, from Aurora to Tucson, and the heinous killing of innocent children in Newtown, we need to have this real discussion about how we balance these rights and the safety of our communities. “I appreciate the recommendations President Obama has proposed, especially when it comes to universal background checks to prevent criminals and the mentally ill from getting their hands on guns and limiting high-capacity magazines. While I have expressed concern about limits on magazine capacity in the past, we have seen high-capacity magazines on any gun amplify the amount of destruction and loss of life that can be caused. Focusing on the size of magazines is an important step to address these horrific events while taking into account 2nd amendment rights and our responsibility to promote public safety. “A critical aspect is the role that mental illness plays in these tragic events and I am encouraged that President Obama is committed to ensuring more is done to provide help to those suffering from mental health issues, both for their sake and the benefit of our communities.”

Congressman Steve Pearce, R-N.M.:

"Today, Congressman Steve Pearce expressed his firm opposition to the misguided and ineffective gun ban proposals put forward by the President: I am, and always have been, a strong supporter of Second Amendment rights. More gun restrictions may allow Washington to congratulate itself, but will never change the sickness and depravity that drive someone to murder indiscriminately. Instead, let’s look to our communities, our churches, our doctors, and our families: the institutions that do have the power to solve the problem.

The National Rifle Association of America: 

"Throughout its history, the National Rifle Association has led efforts to promote safety and responsible gun ownership. Keeping our children and society safe remains our top priority. The NRA will continue to focus on keeping our children safe and securing our schools, fixing our broken mental health system, and prosecuting violent criminals to the fullest extent of the law. We look forward to working with Congress on a bi-partisan basis to find real solutions to protecting America’s most valuable asset – our children. Attacking firearms and ignoring children is not a solution to the crisis we face as a nation. Only honest, law-abiding gun owners will be affected and our children will remain vulnerable to the inevitability of more tragedy."

Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham, D-N.M.:

“The President’s proposals are the first steps towards real action. From universal background checks to a ban on assault-style weapons and high capacity magazines, these are common sense proposals. These proposals are comprehensive and Congress should immediately consider and enact them into law. In addition, I am delighted that beyond gun violence prevention measures, the President has highlighted the need to improve mental health services in this country. We need to be able to focus on getting students and young adults the support they need and that includes, but is not limited to making sure teachers and support staff are properly trained to help detect the signs of mental illness. Even in this fiscal environment, it is vital to make sure that school-based health centers get the proper funding they need. Today I had the privilege of attending a hearing held by the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee and listening to the first-hand experience of those devastated by gun violence. I was especially moved by Emily Nottingham and Dr. Janet Robinson who highlighted the personal tragedies they experienced. This left a lasting emotional imprint about what is at stake for children and their families. Their stories renewed my resolve to work to address this problem in a meaningful way. Another issue that was addressed at the hearing was the issue of Gun Security. Congress needs to look at programs that encourage current and future firearms owners to secure their guns and limit their access to criminals and those with mental illness. I also think it is important to note that none of these proposals are infringing on 2nd Amendment rights and don’t take guns away from responsible law-abiding gun owners."

Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M.:

"I appreciate the work the president's task force has done to address the epidemic of gun violence in our nation. I will carefully consider any reasonable legislation that takes shape in the Senate to prevent future senseless tragedies from occurring. I also plan to pay close attention to any action from the New Mexico Legislature on this issue as the session gets underway. As a former federal prosecutor, I'm not convinced that a sweeping, one size fits all model is the right approach for New Mexico, where many law abiding citizens exercise their constitutional right to bear arms. Most of us agree that expanding background checks to keep guns out of the wrong hands, improving access to mental health services and providing state and federal authorities more resources to investigate and prosecute gun crimes are sensible steps. But what's best for New York or California, may not serve sportsmen and responsible gun-owners in New Mexico well."