Alaska's congressional delegation reacts to gun control package

January 16, 2013 

Reaction from Alaska's congressional delegation:

"Sen. Murkowski is on a trip to Japan evaluating energy opportunities and will be assessing the president's proposal very soon."

-- Spokesman for Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski

"I was pleased to see the president call for an increase in mental health services as well as strengthening the enforcement of laws already on the books. I have repeatedly supported both of these issues ... these are areas where Congress can and should come together ... I was particularly pleased to hear the president specifically mention the need for mental health first aid training, the key component of legislation I introduced last year to improve mental health services on college campuses.

"I also support providing funding for more resource officers in our schools. As mayor of Anchorage, I helped expand our school resource officer program ... It's proven to be a great partnership that increases communication between law enforcement and young people and provides responsible role models in our schools.

"There is no quick fix when it comes to keeping our families and communities safe. We must make smart investments to increase our safety while ensuring Americans' Second Amendment rights are protected."

-- Written statement from Democratic Sen. Mark Begich

"I ... take issue with the president's call for banning aesthetically altered rifles and shotguns and certain magazines.

"This is a dangerous limitation on a family's ability to defend itself ... Perhaps in cities where the police response time tends to be more rapid, it is easy to forget how important a firearm is to keeping loved ones safe. However, in rural America, where law enforcement is many miles away, a semi-automatic weapon could mean the difference between life and death.

"... I am encouraged that the Administration will take measures to improve lacking law enforcement protocols designed to prevent those with mental illness from obtaining weapons. As a former educator, I appreciate promised efforts to provide our nation's educators, first responders, and law enforcement with proper training for active school shooters, while also providing incentives for schools to hire school resource officers.

"I continue to meet with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to discuss ways to address mental health, and keep guns out of the hands of madmen, all without infringing on responsible gun owners' Second Amendment rights."

-- Written statement from Republican Rep. Don Young

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