The issue of protecting our Second Amendment rights was the topic of much conversation this week on Capitol Hill. I was proud to lead a one-hour Special Order on the floor of the House of Representatives to allow my colleagues and me to share our thoughts on our Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms while protecting ourselves and our families.
In the wake of the Newtown, CN, tragedy, there has been much discussion of gun control proposals designed to keep our children safe. As I spoke, I acknowledged that there are evil people who use guns for evil purposes, but quickly pointed out that firearms are a tool and should not be blamed for the actions of misguided individuals. Furthermore, we must not allow tragedies to rush lawmakers into passing hastily-written and emotionally-driven legislation that would infringe on the rights of law-abiding citizens to protect themselves and their loved ones.
I cited two Missouri cases in which victims of crime were able to defend their lives, thanks to firearms. There is the 2008 case of a Cape Girardeau rape victim who was almost assaulted a second time, days later, by the same rapist. She protected herself with a 12-gauge shotgun borrowed from a friend. Then there is the 2005 case of a Kansas City homeowner who defended his life with a gun against a knife-wielding intruder. There are many more examples of firearms being used to protect the lives of honest and decent citizens.
We must have meaningful conversation about mental health issues and other possible contributors to violent behavior. We must commit ourselves to addressing the human factor behind gun violence, rather than emotionally attacking the tool used by the attacker.
On another matter, I voted to shift funds within the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) budget to reinforce Congress’ desire to keep the flying public safe. It will now be up to the Obama Administration to determine whether contract control towers in Columbia and elsewhere will be spared.
We hope the Obama Administration and the FAA will see fit to use the authority they have been given to keep open the airport control towers in Columbia and more than 140 other airports across the country. The traveling public and the hard-working air traffic controllers in Columbia should not have to suffer as a result of poor spending decisions.
I have advocated for quite some time that the FAA make smarter choices as to where to make cuts resulting from the sequester. I would have preferred specific language requiring the FAA to keep open the contract towers, but this bill at least forces the FAA to prioritize its spending to avoid further furloughs and prevent the closure of control towers.
The bill permits the FAA to transfer $253 million from the current fiscal year to air traffic control salaries and expenses. I will be watching this situation closely to see whether the FAA uses this funding shift to keep open the airport control tower in Columbia.
Have a good week.