“Just because it’s hard, that’s no excuse not to try” – President Obama
Following President Obama’s impassioned speech earlier today on reducing gun violence by enacting a series of Executive Orders, some of New Mexico’s federal congressional delegation is weighing in.
Unsurprisingly, Republican Rep. Steve Pearce continued his NRA-tainted rhetoric filled with fear mongering about Americans “not feeling safe in our homes.” (Read Pearce’s statement HERE.)
Pearce is one of the top ten recipients of money from the NRA and other pro-gun lobby groups. He has collected nearly $113,000 from pro-gun groups during his time in Congress. (Read our report on Pearce’s silence on gun violence issues while taking loads of money from the gun lobby HERE.) Unsurprisingly again, Pearce has an “A” rating from the NRA.
Though out-of-touch politicians like Pearce may be fuming today, President Obama’s orders are very much in line with what polling suggests Americans want in terms of common sense gun legislations. Requiring anyone in the business of selling guns to acquire a Federal Firearms License (FFL) just like brick and mortar gun shops (a big step into closing the so-called “gun-show loophole”), increasing the funding and staffing for the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) to help with background checks and to upgrade infrastructure for that process, funding for mental health care and removing obstructions from mental health reporting to the FBI, and investing in technologies to make safer firearms are simple and simply common-sense.
Of course, much of the President’s actions were part of legislation that’s been blocked in the past by other pro-gun legislators, even in the wake of some of the nation’s worst gun massacres like Sandy Hook three years ago. Congress has been at a stand still on any kind of gun reform as record amounts of money continue to pour in from the NRA to senators and congressmen like Pearce.
Pearce stated that the President’s actions miss the mark on curbing gun violence and that he should “instead look to the factors causing these horrible actions and how to move beyond them as a nation.” That is about as disingenuous as it can get considering that Pearce voted along party lines to maintain the Dickey Amendment in 2011 which would have allowed the Centers for Disease Control and other governmental agencies to start doing research in to gun crime issues. He also voted for a resolution that was made part of the Affordable Care Act that disallowed doctors from asking patients about gun ownership.
Senator Martin Heinrich, however, applauded the President’s actions and assured New Mexicans that they “can count on me to be on their side as we seek to find bipartisan, commonsense solutions to reduce gun violence in our communities, while still respecting our constitutional rights.”
Senator Tom Udall also praised President Obama’s actions today but recognized that these are “modest” steps and that much more can and should be done. “The most important thing we can do to prevent gun violence is to keep guns out of the wrong hands, including criminals and those who are a danger to themselves or others because of mental illness. But in order to make real progress, Congress needs to act.”