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Rep. Kline Calls Newtown Tragedy 'Unthinkable;' Mum on Gun Laws

The second district's Congressman John Kline has been a consistent supporter of gun rights.

Congressman John Kline has issued a statement of sympathy for the families of a Connecticut town struggling to cope with a school shooting on Friday that left 26 people dead, including 20 children—but so far, the incident has not prompted Kline to reconsider his position on the issue of gun control.

“As new details continue to emerge about the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut, one thing remains certain: a community–and a nation–have been forever changed by an unthinkable act. My thoughts and prayers remain with the students and staff at Sandy Hook Elementary, as well as their friends and family, in this time of grief,” Kline said in a brief statement released Monday.

(Read what Lakeville school Superintendent Dr. Lisa Snyder said about school safety in the wake of the Newtown tragedy. Also, read about how you can help.)

In the wake of the tragedy, some conservatives, including West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin and former Congressman and GOP Pundit Joe Scarborough, have reversed their former position.

"Entertainment moguls do not have an absolute right to glorify murder while spreading mayhem in young minds across America," said Scarborough, who was given the highest rating by the National Rifle Association during all four terms in Congress. "And our Bill of Rights does not guarantee gun manufacturers the absolute right to sell military-styled high-caliber semi-automatic combat assault rifles with high capacity magazines to whoever the hell they want." 

Like Scraborough, Kline has been regarded by gun lobbyists as a solid supporter. The NRA endorsed Kline in the recent election and donated to $2,500 to his campaign over the last two years. Kline has also received an A rating from Gun Owners of America.

The NRA cited Kline's “proven record of defending the Second Amendment,” as their reason for supporting his bid for re-election.

In November of 2011, Kline co-sponsored H.R. 822, “The National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act of 2011,” which would authorize citizens with valid concealed handgun permits to carry a concealed handgun in any other state that does not prohibit concealed carry. In 2010, Kline co-sponsored a resolution commending the NRA's Eddie Eagle GunSafe Program for "teaching 23,000,000 children its lifesaving message" and encouraging educators in elementary schools to incorporate gun education programs in elementary school curricula to help decrease the incidence of accidental gun-related deaths among children.

Kline also co-sponsored the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act protecting gunmakers and sellers from civil liability pertaining to suits based on misuse of a firearm, and in 2003, he cosponsored H.R. 1036, loosening restrictions on interstate gun purchases.

As of this week, CBS News reports that popular support for gun control is the highest it has been in 10 years, with 57 percent of those polled saying gun control laws should be tightened, while 34 percent think that the status quo is sufficient. Nine percent think gun laws should be loosened. There is talk of renewing a 1990s-era ban on assault weapons that expired in 2004.

Erin Cameron December 19, 2012 at 03:06 PM
We cannot protect ourselves from every imaginable circumstance or idiot out there. There are laws regarding guns, as there are laws on drinking and driving, and drug use. The law abiding citizens respect them, and the others don't. More laws or restrictions will never solve the problem.

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