In the wake of the recent tragedies that have shocked the country, the topic of policies regarding firearms has come under fierce public scrutiny. Many are looking to politicians to see what their responses to these events will be.
U.S. Rep. Tom Reed, R-23rd, expressed his continued sincere condolences to the families who lost loved ones in the Dec. 14 tragedy in Newtown, Conn. and addressed the need for a conversation not limited to gun control, but one which gets at the root of the problem: the individual behind the gun.
"All of our thoughts and prayers remain with the families and people of all ages affected by the senseless tragedy that took the lives of so many," Reed said. "As a father myself, I cannot even begin to comprehend the pain of those who lost their innocent children. Our focus is on supporting Newtown and the healing process however we can."
Reed, R-Corning, spoke to well over 100 residents on Saturday at his four town hall meetings throughout the district, many of whom expressed their concern for the Newtown families and what can be done to help prevent these tragedies.
"While the reaction to such an emotional event causes many to turn immediately to the need to restrict our rights guaranteed by the Second Amendment, we need to make sure that when we are making policy decisions, we do so in a way that is driven by good, solid debate," Reed observed. "Once one right is eroded, it becomes easier to take another right away."
"The conversation needs to be broader than gun control," Reed continued. "It needs to get at the root of the problem which is making sure that troubled individuals have the help they need. We need to empower parents, educators, law enforcement and medical professionals to be able to raise concerns and protect people when they see indicators of potentially dangerous irrational behavior in those of our society who would commit such horrific acts. Part of the solution also means having a discussion on how we as a society stop glorifying violence in our everyday life, be it video games, movies, sports, language, television or other means."
Reed says his office will continue to support schools in making sure they have the resources needed to keep students, faculty and staff safe. He supports giving local teachers and administrators the flexibility necessary to ensure security is achieved in their respective school system's unique circumstances.