Rep. Mullin calls Obama's executive orders "outrageous and an outright assault on civil liberties"
BY Staff Reports
Wednesday, January 16, 2013
1/18/13 at 1:47 PM
WASHINGTON — A member Oklahoma’s Republican congressional delegation strongly criticized proposed measures on gun control announced Tuesday by President Barack Obama.
However, U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe said most of Obama’s executive orders signed on Tuesday were “common sense changes,” and U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn said he supported “a full and open debate,” on Obama’s proposals to Congress.
“The president is politicizing a national tragedy to impose his own personal agenda,” U.S. Rep. Markwayne Mullin said in a statement.
“This is outrageous and an outright assault on civil liberties. I strongly oppose restricting the rights of law abiding citizens to keep and bear arms and will do everything I can to protect our second amendment rights,” he said.
Obama on Wednesday unveiled the most sweeping proposals for curbing gun violence in two decades, pressing Congress to pass universal background checks and bans on military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines like the ones used in the Newtown, Conn., school shooting.
A month after that massacre, Obama also used his presidential powers to enact 23 measures that don’t require the backing of lawmakers. The president’s executive actions include ordering federal agencies to make more data available for background checks, appointing a director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and directing the Centers for Disease Control to research gun violence.
“In Oklahoma there are many law abiding citizens who hunt, fish and keep guns for self-protection. The last thing we need to do infringe upon the rights of those citizens,” Mullin said.
“Criminals who chose to break the law will not be deterred by any number of executive actions.”
Inhofe said in a statement, “While we mourn with those who have lost loved ones, in no way should the actions of those few who act illegally impact the constitutional rights of the many. I will continue to strongly oppose any effort to undermine the Second Amendment and an individual citizen’s right to keep and bear arms.”
“What people need to understand about today’s announcement is that it involved two very distinct actions by the president: 1) executives actions that the president will be implementing unilaterally, and 2) making recommendations to Congress for laws that it should pass.”
Inhofe said most of the executive orders are “common sense changes that are within the president’s current powers to implement,” including launching a national safe and responsible gun ownership campaign; providing law enforcement, first responders, and school officials with proper training for active shooter situations; maximizing enforcement efforts to prevent gun violence and prosecute gun crime; and launching a national dialogue led by Secretary of Health Kathleen Sebelius and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan on mental health.
“I will adamantly oppose any executive order that I believe infringes upon duly enacted laws by the Congress or on our Constitutional rights,” Inhofe said.
“Where I do disagree with the president is on his recommendations for laws Congress should pass. We know from experience that an assault weapons ban will have no meaningful effect on gun violence, as many of the changes that are implemented by such a ban are cosmetic in nature.
“Statistics demonstrate that a ban on particular weapons will not significantly decrease crime. Such a ban will, however, significantly decrease our rights guaranteed by the Constitution.”
Coburn said he supported “a full an open debate,” on Obama’s proposals.
“The president is right to examine what can be done to prevent tragedies such as Sandy Hook from occurring again,” Coburn said. “I commend his effort and look forward to working with him on areas of agreement while we continue to honestly debate areas of disagreement.
“... the president is right to take steps to strengthen mental health databases and reporting to the NICS system so we can ensure that guns do not end up in the hands of criminals or those who are a threat to themselves or others. In the hands of a deranged person, a clip size of one is one too many.”
“I would welcome the opportunity to debate these issues on the floor of the Senate, and would encourage (Senate) Majority Leader (Harry) Reid to schedule a full and open debate. Members of Congress and the American people have a right to know where members stand on these key policies. If members can’t defend their positions, they don’t deserve to be here,” Coburn said.
“However, as we debate these measures, we first must ensure our constitutional rights and individual liberties, including the Second Amendment right to bear arms, are protected.
"Instead of repeating the failed policies of the past, Congress should work on thoughtful and constitutional ways to prevent unspeakable tragedies like this from happening again. 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.”
Coburn also said Congress shouldn’t “take our cues” from special interest groups — “from Hollywood to the NRA.”
“Our job as it relates to interest groups is not to take instructions from them, but to give direction to them through our constitutional authority to legislate,” he said.
U.S. Rep. Tom Cole said in a statement, “I will oppose any legislation to limit the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Americans, including a ban on so-called assault weapons.”
From left to right, U.S. Rep. Markwayne Mullin and U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe. Tulsa World File