Dear Mr. XXXXX:
Thank you for taking the time to contact me about the tragic shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. I appreciate hearing from you about this issue.
As you know, on December 14, 2012, an individual in Newtown, Connecticut forced his way into Sandy Hook Elementary School and opened fire on teachers and staff in the building. In total, the perpetrator murdered 20 students between the ages of six and seven years old, as well as six adults, many of whom heroically sought to stop the shooter and save the lives of children. Like many Americans, I was deeply affected by the scope and brutality of this act. My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families . . .
The motives that led to this senseless massacre will likely never fully be comprehended. However, I believe that all public officials have a responsibility to work to prevent such an event from occurring again. This incident reflects a complex problem that requires a comprehensive strategy, including funding for law enforcement officers and the mental health care system. Too many individuals with mental illness are not receiving the services they need and tragically, sometimes a small number of these individuals turn violent. I have supported access to affordable and accessible mental health services for all Americans and I will continue to review proposed solutions to improve our mental health system.
As you may know, I am a strong supporter of the Second Amendment. Pennsylvania has a fine hunting and sporting tradition, and I will defend the right to bear arms as it is enshrined in our Constitution. However, I also believe that the attack at Sandy Hook Elementary School highlights very serious dangers posed to public safety by the misuse of certain weapons and technology originally developed for warfare. According to reports, the shooter was able to kill many children and adults very quickly because he possessed a military-style semiautomatic weapon. He also allegedly used magazines containing up to 30 rounds of ammunition and carried hundreds of rounds more. After much reflection and careful study of the issue, I have decided to support a federal assault weapons ban as well as legislation restricting high capacity clips. In light of what occurred at Sandy Hook, these are two measures that will lessen the chances that this will happen again soon.
Our Nation has already begun a critical dialogue as we examine what steps must be taken to prevent this type of tragedy in the future. On December 19, 2012, President Obama announced the formation of an inter-agency task initiative, led by Vice President Biden, to study these issues and recommend possible actions. I look forward to reviewing these proposals, as well to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to address this complex issue.
Again, thank you for sharing your thoughts with me. Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future about this or any other matter of importance to you.
For more information on this or other issues, I encourage you to visit my website, http://casey.senate.gov. I hope you will find this online office a comprehensive resource to stay up-to-date on my work in Washington, request assistance from my office or share with me your thoughts on the issues that matter most to you and to Pennsylvania.
United States Senator