Rep. Pete Olson (TX-22) issued the following statement in reaction to President Obama’s proposal to address gun violence:
“The tragedy in Newtown was every parent’s worst nightmare. We must do what we can to prevent further tragedies, but our response must truly address the issue and not become an excuse for passing proven ineffective laws and threatening our constitutional rights.
“Among many items, President Obama proposed renewing an expired ban on so-called assault weapons – an action which failed to reduce violence in our society on its first try. The fact is these firearms are no different than other legal firearms except for their exterior design. Claiming to address gun violence by offering a failed, illogical action is nothing more than a red herring to target the constitutionally protected liberties of law abiding gun owners. It dismisses the bigger issues of mental health and a culture of violence that has permeated our society.
“We must address the serious mental health issues facing our nation and develop a plan to implement needed solutions. I also believe these tragic events are influenced by the erosion of our society’s values over all. Even though we have more gun laws now than we had decades ago, back then there were certainly fewer bizarre, horrible mass killings.
“We must also closely examine the details of the 23 Executive Orders issued by the President to ensure that they do not exceed the authority given to the Executive Branch by the Constitution.”
“The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, on which I serve, will thoroughly review the systemic problems that are causing this kind of violence. We must gain a better understanding of societal factors, the role of mental health, and their overall relationship to violent behavior. As painful as this tragedy is, we must remember that the problem is not the firearm, but the person behind the trigger. Taking the proper steps to prevent a mentally ill person from using a firearm to cause harm will do more to protect our communities from random, horrible acts of violence.”