Dear Mr. Leonard,

Thank you for contacting me concerning gun control and our 2 nd Amendment rights. I appreciate you taking the time to express your thoughts on this important issue.

As you may know, the tragedies in Newtown, Connecticut and Aurora, Colorado have prompted some lawmakers to consider new weapons bans, such as the recent legislation proposed by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) which would prohibit the sale, transfer, importation and manufacturing of so-called " assault weapons " as well as large ammunition magazines that hold more than 10 rounds .

While I believe that these horrific events warrant a serious discussion on what can be done to prevent future violence, I do not believe that greater government restrictions on gun ownership offer a viable solution to this problem and am not supportive of additional firearm bans; including the AR-15 rifle.

As a firearm owner and supporter of responsible gun ownership, I believe that our 2 nd Amendment rights are fundamental and must be protected. The discussion on gun control by the main stream media and some of my colleagues in Congress will only treat the symptoms of these tragic events, doing little to address the root cause behind how these incidents occur. Furthermore, they operate on the completely misguided premise that criminals will obey gun laws.

Instead of this approach , we must work to strengthen families and empower parents to provide safe home environments for their children and to recognize aggressive behaviors early on. Additionally, we must work with our communities to curb the trend of desensitization to violence, profanity and other high-risk behaviors glamorized by videogames and movies that often consume children's time, and shift to a culture that respects the sanctity and value of each innocent human life.

As a nurse for more than 40 years, I believe we must be prepared for a conversation on school violence as it relates to mental health. While many details remain unclear regarding the motives of the gunmen in the Newtown, Connecticut and Aurora, Colorado tragedies, we know that these individual were among the millions of Americans with a mental disorder, and may have benefitted from treatment options or more frequent opportunities to speak with counselors. Examples such as this are among the many reasons I continue to advocate for patient-centered healthcare reforms that will offer those facing mental disabilities access to the care that they need.

As discussion continues over what can be done to stop future acts of violence and keep our citizens safe, rest assured that I will work to achieve these goals in a way that upholds the provisions of 2 nd Amendment and protects the rights of private citizens.


Sincerely,

Diane Black
Member of Congress
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sent from a laptop sitting in my recliner