Idaho delegation weighs in on Obama gun proposals

Idaho delegation weighs in on Obama gun proposals

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by Scott Evans

Bio | Email | Follow: @ScottEvansKTVB

KTVB.COM

Posted on January 16, 2013 at 5:34 PM

Updated Wednesday, Dec 4 at 10:52 PM

BOISE – A month after the Sandy Hook massacre, President Obama took the bold and extremely controversial option of announcing sweeping gun control proposals.

"Concrete steps we can take right now to keep our children safe, to help prevent mass shootings," said Obama.

The president's plan calls to for greater background checks to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people. It also calls on a ban of the so-called assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.

The president would also like to see legislation to make our schools safer and increased access to mental health services.

So how are our congressional leaders responding to the president? Simply put, they don't like the approach the president is taking and that includes the signing of 23 executive orders.

Obama called on Congress to pass the most comprehensive set of gun control measures in U.S. history.

"He started out appropriately noting that no law or set of laws can stop these kinds of things from happening in the future, then he went on to outline laws that he wanted to put on the books, mostly through executive order," said Idaho Republican Sen. Jim Risch. "That's where he went astray badly."

Here’s the portion of the president’s speech that Risch is referring to.

"While there is no law or set of laws that can prevent every senseless act of violence completely, no piece of legislation that will prevent every tragedy, every act of evil, if there is even one thing we can do to reduce this violence, if there is even one life that can be saved, then we've got an obligation to try."

"Do you agree with the president's plan?" asked NewsChannel 7.

"No, not at all. He's doing it to punish law abiding people when he acknowledges that this is not going to respond to the problem that everybody feels badly about," said Risch.

Risch is on the same page as the other members of the Idaho delegation, Sen. Mike Crapo and Congressmen Mike Simpson and Raul Labrador.

Sen. Crapo issued a statement to the media:

"The President's proposal on gun control is very disappointing.  Any discussion about restricting the Constitutional rights of law-abiding Americans deserves, at minimum, a full and public debate in Congress.  Burdening law-abiding citizens of this country with additional gun restrictions is not the answer to safeguarding the public from further attacks."

Crapo and Risch are also upset Obama signed 23 executive orders without going through Congress.

"The Founding Fathers gave us a Constitution that we've lived with for 236 years and has served very well, and in that, they very, very clearly provided that in order to have no one with too much power, you'd have an executive branch and a legislative branch, and each would have specific responsibilities," said Risch. "The executive branch cannot legislate, and the legislative branch can't execute, and he's attempting to do both, and he can't do it.”

Here is Congressman Simpson's response to the president's plan:

"I haven't yet had a chance to fully review the many executive orders President Obama signed today, but I have long been concerned about the use of executive orders to push forward proposals that should be considered in Congress. I will take time over the coming days to fully review each of the executive orders and consider them with the Constitution and the concerns of my constituents foremost in my mind.  I am not seeing any significant support among my constituents for new restrictions on gun rights nor am I seeing any momentum building in Congress for additional federal gun control measures."

"I haven't heard anything yet be put on the table that specifically that I could support," said Risch.

Congressman Raul Labrador also issued a statement:

"Despite the shameful use of children today to drive his agenda, I will carefully review the president's executive actions and his legislative proposals.

Our Founding Fathers believed the right to bear arms was essential to the cause of freedom. Those same founders also gave the executive branch the authority to enforce the laws protecting this right and our security - and this is the authority the president asserts today.

I will review these proposals to ensure that the president's actions and proposals do not violate our constitutionally protected right to bear arms.  I will also thoughtfully consider whether the laws we currently have on the books can be better enforced to safeguard our lives and our liberty.

I have always defended the Second Amendment and will continue to do so with my heart and soul.  Still, I believe our nation and the Second Amendment are strong enough to withstand an examination of ways we can protect the most vulnerable among us without harming those liberties that God has given us to make us free.  I look forward to having a thoughtful, honest and straightforward discussion about these issues in the Judiciary Committee over the next few months."

To be clear, the president signed 23 executive actions Wednesday; those mostly deal with administrative issues, allowing organizations to share background check information, etc.

The plan to ban so-called assault rifles and high-capacity clips must go through Congress to become law.

MORE INFORMATION:

Watch Obama full speech (you can find it on the video tap in the app)

Read the gun proposal fact sheet

Read the gun proposal executive summary

Read the gun proposal reduction executive actions

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