Monday, March 8, 2010

Senator Murray response

Well, Senator Patty Murrary's office responded, Senator Cantwell's office hasn't yet. Here is what Senator Murray wrote.

Dear Mr. Knowles,

Thank you for contacting me to express your opposition for allowing loaded guns in our country's national parks. I appreciate hearing from you on this issue.

The Senate recently debated H.R. 627, the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure (CARD) Act of 2009, legislation which provides new and necessary regulations to protect families from predatory and deceptive credit card practices.

During consideration of the Credit CARD Act, Senator Coburn (R-OK) offered an amendment that would allow loaded weapons in any national park or wildlife refuge. Since I share your concern about this provision, I voted against it, but nonetheless the amendment was agreed to by a vote of 67-29. However, because the Credit CARD Act was so desperately needed to address a number of issues, I felt that it was important to implement this legislation despite the unfavorable amendment. As a result, I voted in favor of H.R. 627, which passed in the Senate on May 19, 2009 and was signed into law by President Obama on May 22, 2009.

Throughout my tenure in the Senate, I have supported reasonable gun control measures that reduce gun violence while also providing the least possible inconvenience to law-abiding gun owners. Rest assured, should legislation related to loaded weapons in national parks comes before the Senate for a vote during the 111th Congress I will keep your thoughts in mind. If you would like to know more about my work in the Senate, please sign up for my weekly update at Again, it was good to hear from you and please stay in touch.

Patty Murray
United States Senator

What this means, to me at least, is that while she's interested in doing this, it's clearing not a priority, or even on her radar. It's also clear she sees and understands the power of the gun activists, especially the NRA and now Open Carry group, to attack Senators who oppose gun rights. Even in the face of the evidence of the violence guns have caused in people's lives.

In short, I don't see her sponsoring, but maybe supporting, an amendment to fix the stupidity of Senator Coburn to appease gun rights activists over public's right to safety and security in public places, like National Parks and Wildlife Refuges, but only if it's attached to a bill she supports. This means our safety is held hostage to the whims of a minority who have cowered Senators.

I won't argue that being a Senator is about balancing diverse interests and balancing your constituents's interest with the national interests, but somewhere you have to take a stand for something and especially someone, and more so the public and our national parks. Apparently Senator Murray won't go out of her way to do that.

So what will it take for Senator Murray to do that? The proverbial body bag of a park ranger, or worse some citizen, shot by someone with a loaded in gun? Or will you do what the gun activists do, just distance that person from "law abiding citizens" and real gun owners?

What's the value of a life versus a gun? What's the value of public safety, especially for visiting foreigners, over a gun? What's the value of being an American versus a gun? And when and where is the value of a gun more important than anything else?

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