Oklahoma Senators and Representatives speak out on gun regulation:
Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.):
“There just doesn’t seem to be a positive effect from gun control,” Inhofe said.
He said that criminals by definition will not follow the law, so gun regulation laws will only affect law-abiding citizens.
He cited Chicago as having some of the tightest gun control laws, but it is one of the top cities for crime in the country.
“Gun control has historically not worked,” Inhofe said.
Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.):
Sen. Coburn has come out heavily against restricting firearms for law-abiding citizens, and has questioned the viability of universal background checks to solve the problem.
“Unfortunately, there is no legislation that will eliminate all violent crime or that can fully ensure firearms do not fall into the hands of the dangerous. Likewise, expanding background checks cannot prevent how guns used in crimes are predominately procured through stealing, illegal markets, or taken from relatives,” Coburn said in a letter to Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-New York).
Coburn also cited social and cultural changes in society as part of the problem.
“…policymakers in Washington should remember that the legislative process is downstream from culture. The laws we make in Washington have less impact than the movies and video games that are shaping the hearts and minds of the next generation,” he said in a statement.
While he called on gun owners to exercise responsibility and not use or sell firearms illegally, Coburn also pledged to protect the second amendment.
“…we first must ensure our constitutional rights and individual liberties, including the Second Amendment right to bear arms, are protected. … The fact that almost every public mass shooting tragedy occurs in a place where guns are prohibited shows that restricting Second Amendment rights tends to disarm everyone but the assailant,” he said.
Rep. James Lankford (R-Okla.):
Rep. Lankford has said that cultural changes are a larger problem than Americans keeping guns in their homes, which is historical.
“People lashing out at others is a symptom of broken families and our increasingly disjointed and violent culture,” Lankford said. Americans have always had guns in their homes, and further restricting Americans’ access to guns does not fix the cultural shift in our nation that led to the increase in violent behavior.”
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Lankford called for a national discussion on the federal level regarding mental health issues and ways to create a stronger mental health system.
He also called for keeping regulations local, and not implementing a single federal law which would be inappropriate based on the different cultures running throughout the United States.
“Each state’s approach to guns is different, and state preferences should be respected,” Lankford said. “I do not believe Oklahoma’s preference to allow the open-carry of weapons should be imposed on New York, and I don’t think New York’s restrictions on guns should be imposed on Oklahoma.”
“A state-by-state approach to handling the issue allows for more flexibility and responsiveness to the preferences of families, communities and businesses,” Lankford added.
Lankford also asked that democrats and republicans set aside their differences regarding gun control, and focus on the issue of mental health and cultural changes.
“Republicans and Democrats can find common ground on issues like mental health assistance in order to help address some of the factors that have led us toward the shift to a frightening culture of violence in our nation,” he said.
Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla):
Rep. Cole said he would vote against gun regulations which would limit the second amendment.
"I will oppose any legislation to limit the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Americans, including a ban on so-called assault weapons,” Cole said in a statement. “I represent tens of thousands of responsible gun owners who safely use guns for hunting and protection, and restricting their freedom is not the solution to gun violence."