So as mentioned previously my wife sent a pretty direct letter to our federal representatives. Patty Murray responded today.
Dear Mrs. Barnett:
Thank you for contacting me regarding your thoughts on new gun control legislation. I appreciate having the benefit of your views on this matter.
The views of Washingtonians are very important to my work. I will keep your thoughts in mind, and I encourage you to stay in touch. If you would like to know more about my work in the Senate, please feel free to sign up for my weekly updates at http://murray.senate.gov/updates. Again, thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts with me.
United States Senator
Janelle’s comment to me when forwarding it was a perfect descriptor:
She answered with a non answer. Way to talk around the issue.
Murray however gave a much different response to a friend of mine:
Dear Mr. Willington:
Thank you for writing me regarding the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. It was good to hear from you.
As a mother, grandmother, and former preschool teacher I was shocked by the tragedy that unfolded in Newtown. My thoughts and prayers go out to the families and loved ones of the victims whose loss is difficult to comprehend.
Unfortunately, this horrific tragedy was another in a long line of gun violence episodes that have ranged from places like Columbine, Virginia Tech, and Aurora to coffee shops in Lakewood to the corner of South Byron Street and McClintock Ave South in Seattle. These episodes have plagued our cities, our schools, and our shared sense of security. This cannot go on. As a society we need to come together to begin a real conversation on all the factors contributing to those horrific instances of gun violence, but we also need to take specific action to bolster our current gun safety laws.
There is no question that we can and should limit access to the assault style weapons of war that are on our streets and that are too often being used to kill innocent people indiscriminately. I have repeatedly voted for an assault weapons ban and will do so again as soon as we can get a bill to the Senate floor.
But preventing tragedies like the one in Newtown will take more than just common-sense gun policies and enforcement. It will also take a renewed commitment to understanding and dealing with the root causes that lead isolated individuals to carry out these atrocities. At this moment, everything needs to be on the table for scrutiny.
Our nation is at a crossroads moment, and we must take the path that protects future generations from re-living these gun violence tragedies over and over again. It will take the courage of people with opposing views but a common purpose sitting down with one another and agreeing that the status quo is unacceptable.
Please be assured I will keep your views in mind as I work with my colleagues and please feel free to share with me your ideas on how to address this crisis. If you would like to know more about my work in the Senate, please feel free to sign up for my updates at http://murrav.senate.gov/updates. Thank you for contacting me, and please do not hesitate to contact me again.
United States Senator
We haven’t gotten a response from Cantwell regarding her specific letter though here is her response to my letter:
Dear Mr. Barnett,
Thank you for contacting me regarding the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. I appreciate hearing from you on this important issue.
All Washingtonians – and all Americans – offer our deepest condolences to the families of the 20 children and six school staff members who were killed in this senseless attack. Our thoughts and prayers are with the community of Newtown, as its residents heal from this incomprehensible tragedy.
This horrific attack highlights several issues that must be addressed promptly in order to better protect against such inexplicable violence. We need to get powerful assault weapons off our streets. And we need to strengthen services for the mentally ill and their families.
In the past, I supported the original Assault Weapons Ban and the Brady Bill, as well as the Youth Handgun Safety Act of 1993, which prohibits juveniles from possessing or receiving handguns. I look forward to work with my colleagues in the Senate to strengthen responsible legislation to rein in gun violence. We need to work to close the loopholes in existing laws that allow criminals and children to gain access to firearms contrary to the law’s intention. One example is the well-known "gun-show loophole" which allows people to purchase firearms at gun-shows without undergoing the background check required when guns are bought from licensed dealers. Lastly, I believe we must support increased gun-safety and gun-use education.
I support the Second Amendment and the rights of law-abiding Washingtonians who own guns. I also remain focused on addressing the deeply troubling violence in this country and making our state and our country as safe as possible for all people, including our most vulnerable citizens, our children. I believe both of these goals are important and can be simultaneously accomplished through common-sense gun laws and stricter enforcement of existing laws.
Along with addressing gun violence, making services for the mentally ill and their families more accessible will encourage those suffering from mental illness to seek needed care and support. Mental health care is a critical component of our healthcare system and an individual’s overall health status. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, approximately one in 17 Americans suffers from a seriously debilitating mental illness. I care deeply about mental health care and understand the important role behavioral health services play in the lives of both those who suffer from mental illness and their family and loved ones.
Thank you again for contacting me to share your thoughts on this matter. Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future if I can be of further assistance.
United States Senator
If you live in the state of Washington. Light up their phones and crank up the heat. I am liking the idea Robb had, especially since the local gun shows draw from both Idaho and Washington so we’d get a decent set of calls into multiple districts. Combine that with methods for people to send letters to congress critters it could be quite effective. Especially if you had people there who could help them personalize them instead of form letters.
As you will notice on the right hand side, I’ve added a Join the NRA link. I know some aren’t too happy with the NRA, I’m one of them. As Sebastian said though, we have the NRA we’re going into this fight with, it’s not going to change and you’re not going to wish up an alternative. Do what you can, voice your opinion to the NRA, they have a better record of listening than congress, and get active. If all you do is bitch in the corner about how they don’t represent you, of course they won’t. You haven’t lifted a finger to guide them in representing you.
I’ve also added a quick box to aid people in contacting their legislators. Do it if you haven’t already. There is nothing to loose by doing so and you have everything to gain. As you can see folks, this is going to be an up hill battle and this is one we can not loose. A quote worth remembering of which I was reminded of it by a friend of mine:
“Never give in, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never Yield to a force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”
― Winston S. Churchill
We must stand and fight. We must not waiver, we must not flinch. We must come out on top, our very culture depends on it.