Dear Mr. White:

Thank you for contacting me regarding gun control. I appreciate having the benefit of your views.

The kind of violence that took place in Newtown is horrifying and hard to understand. Six years ago, we experienced the Nickel Mines School shooting. I was deeply affected by that incident. Shortly afterward, on June 13, 2007, I voted for a bill, the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) Improvement Act, that prohibited firearm purchases by people deemed by a court to be mentally ill or dangerous.

On December 19, 2012, President Obama announced the creation of a White House Task Force on Firearms. On January 16, 2013, the President announced the results of the Task Force, a series of 23 proposals intended to reduce gun violence. These include adjustments to information sharing for background checks, “launching a responsible gun ownership campaign,” conduct research at the Center of Disease Control and Prevention about gun violence, “challenge the private sector” to come up with safety technology, and “launch a national dialogue” on mental health.

I’m a former teacher, a father, and a grandfather. The issue of violence in schools is personal for me, and I take it with utmost seriousness. There are no easy answers and there are no quick fixes. We need to take an honest look at how we address mental illness in our country, and, as Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee’s Health Subcommittee, I am doing that. We also need to question why so much of our entertainment seems to revel in violence, and why families, communities, and faith are weaker than they once were. We should look at gun laws too, particularly at how we enforce them, but we need to recognize, though, that no law can prevent insanity, and that criminals and madmen do not obey the law.

We in Congress also are bound by our oaths to support the Constitution. I believe the Second Amendment means what it says, and I will continue to support it as law.

Rest assured, I will keep your views in mind. Thanks again for sharing your thoughts with me. Please don’t hesitate to contact me in the future if I can be of any help to you or your family.

Sincerely,

Joe Pitts
Member of Congress