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James Inhofe (R-OK)

A little earlier I published a Diary requesting a small piece of information. That one is gone now and I am grateful to Kossack Burned, who located it for me. Allow me to thank all the others who also tried to help. You are good people.

The original request was so that I might be able to submit the response I received when I inquired about my Senator's attitudes to the gun control debate now underway right across the country.

I published the response from the Senator in that Diary, and a couple of comments remarked on the moderate tone of the letter. Well there is little that is moderate about Sen. Inhofe, indeed I believe he might even be offended at the suggestion!

My own feeling is that it was a typically bland reply from a man so craven that he will not own his opinions in the vain hope that the occasional Democrat might be tempted to vote for him.

I am not really interested in his written answers, I am only concerned about how he votes. On every issue of any substance, I cannot recall this Senator doing any other than voting with whichever rump group stood furthest to the Right.

So below the fold is the reply, and the bolded parts interspersed are my reactions

Dear Mr. Bracken:

Thank you for contacting me regarding the Second Amendment. As your voice in Washington, D.C., I appreciate hearing from you.

You are very welcome, Senator. Let's chat.

The text of the Constitution clearly confers upon an individual the right to bear arms. Our Founders believed that the people's right to own firearms was an important check on the powers of the government and "necessary to the security of a free State." I couldn't agree more and I stand firm in my support of this right.

The Constitution says nothing of the sort. For the best part of two hundred years the second amendment was effectively obsolete. It was not until the 1970s that the National Rifle Association began their successful attempt to change the message. Prior to that the Supreme Court had never ruled on an individual right in the current context. That was left to a single vote in the matter of District of Columbia v Heller Several United States Presidents, including both Ronald Reagan and H W Bush proposed new gun laws. Many thousands of gun control laws have been passed with none ever reaching the SCOTUS on second amendment grounds.

Given your stated position of supporting this right on the basis that the people need the capacity to resist a totalitarian government, I would be interested to hear how the people would resist Predator drones, with a rifle. Come to think of it, the government also has tanks, tactical nuclear ordinance, and the US Marine Corps. How would we deal with them?

Seriously Senator, is this your contention?

The President's recent proposals on dealing with gun violence came in two very distinct parts:

1) executives actions that the President will be implementing unilaterally, and

2) making recommendations to Congress for laws that it should pass. Most of the planned executive orders are changes that are within the President's current powers to implement, namely:

1) Launch a national safe and responsible gun ownership campaign.

Sounds like a very sensible approach. We are in agreement.

2) Provide law enforcement, first responders, and school officials with proper training for active shooter situations.  

Senator. Did you support the efforts of Public Servants to be recognised as professional workers with rights to negotiate on their own behalf? Did you make any representations to Governor Fallin (R- Batshit) when she reduced the budget and cut pay and benefits for these valuable folk in your home State?. Are they able to provide the benefits you wish to see given your failure to support them prior to this statement?

I'd be interested to hear what you have in mind for school officials, as school budgets have been repeatedly cut in your home state and I can't remember hearing you on the local TV complaining about that.

3) Maximize enforcement efforts to prevent gun violence and prosecute gun crime.  

Does this mean you will be urging the House of Representatives to appropriate the funding for this? Excellent news, thank you.

4) Launch a national dialogue led by Secretaries Sebelius and Duncan on mental health.  

Senator we have been having that dialogue for several years. You voted against it. Do you recall the Affordable Care and Patient Protection Act? Hint: We lovingly call it ObamaCare.

It's great, if a little surprising to learn that you might be reconsidering your position on health care

Presidential Executive Orders are, by definition, unilateral and a well established part of his Executive Authority. G W Bush issued hundreds, in addition to many "signing statements" nullifying the parts of duly enacted laws that he didn't like. What's your point?

Suggesting that legislation be considered is called "Leadership".

However, there is at least one order I cannot support. President Obama wants to clarify that Obamacare does not prohibit doctors from asking their patients about guns in their homes. Obamacare, however, states that no patient shall be required to disclose his or her own lawful storage or use of a firearm. This order could create confusion for a patient who believes he must answer his doctor's questions. I will adamantly oppose any executive order that I believe infringes upon duly enacted laws by the Congress or on our constitutional rights.

I do apologise Senator, it appears I got ahead of myself and you are familiar with the healthcare debate.

You are not actually in a position to oppose Executive Orders. Please keep up, we have covered this. They are Executive Orders. That is, they are Presidential orders to his Executives, and not a Senate matter.

On the substantive point there is an easy remedy. Doctor/Patient communication is protected speech. Government cannot interfere in those matters and if we are to accurately assess the danger to a patient, surely part of that conversation might simply be for the doctor to make such an inquiry, and make suggestions to the patient.

There is a very worthwhile thing you could do to help. You might consider making a public address confirming your support for the principle of a patients right to privacy in their healthcare.

I also disagree with the President is on his recommendations for laws Congress must 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.

I remain far from convinced that the previously enacted AWB did not make a difference to the tragic number of Americans dying each year. I might be tempted to accept your position were you to explain how you opposed the legislation that prevented the Center for Disease Control from studying and reporting on gun violence.

You have also supported the Tiarht Amendment, and have refused to confirm the appointment of any Head of the ATF during the last six years. It is difficult to take seriously your statement that you will, in reality, support anything, when you have opposed making effective the Federal Agency responsible in this area.

Thank you again for your correspondence. Please feel free to contact me again in the future.

Thank you, Senator.


James M. Inhofe
United States Senator

Originally posted to Every Part of You Belongs to You on Thu Jan 24, 2013 at 08:41 PM PST.

Also republished by Shut Down the NRA, Repeal or Amend the Second Amendment (RASA), and Oklahoma Roundup.

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