Reed reaffirms support for gun rights, Second Amendment

U.S. Rep Tom Reed

U.S. Rep. Tom Reed said he is in full support of Second Amendment rights and does not believe a ban on the AR-15 rifle is the answer.

In a call with reporters Tuesday morning, Reed said Congress should do what is necessary to keep mass shootings, such as the recent shooting in a Parkland, Fla. high school last week, from happening. However, he said he will “stand firm” on his stance regarding Second Amendment rights. Instead of pursuing a ban on certain weapons, Reed said he is “looking at the perpetrator” and hopes to “remove the criminal elements from society” in order to protect society from these types of acts.

Reed said there was a systemic failure to stop Nicholas Cruz from shooting and killing 17 people at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida on Valentine’s Day.

“Mental health providers should have removed him (from society),” he said.

While he said Congress doing nothing is not the appropriate response, Reed said he doesn’t believe revisiting the assault weapons ban from 1994 to 2004 would ultimately “get to the finish line.” He said the issue is not as simple as “removing Second Amendment rights.”

“I’m afraid what I’m seeing in the debate is a knee-jerk reaction,” Reed said. “I want to solve the problem.”

He said the best plan moving forward is a multi-prong approach that includes measures to address mental health issues. When asked about receiving donations from the National Rifle Association, Reed said he does get “support from folks who stand with us” on the Second Amendment and has no problem with it being highlighted in recent media reports.

Reed said the trouble with banning certain guns begs the question, “Where do you stop?”

“Why do you stop at one gun over another?” he asked.

Reed said if a person is going to perpetrate a shooting, “they’re going to do it” regardless of a gun ban. He said the conversation can start at that point, but a true solution will have to be much broader.

“How can we sleep quietly at night knowing we only tried to passify the situation?” he asked.

Reed said he remains a co-sponsor of U.S. Rep. Chris Collins’ Second Amendment Guarantee Act, a bill that would keep states and local governments from further regulating or prohibiting rifles or shotguns. The legislation was introduced in July, and would effectively repeal New York State’s Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act, or the SAFE Act. The bill states that the term “rifle or shotgun” for the purposes of the bill includes “any part of a rifle or shotgun, any detachable magazine or ammunition feeding device and any type of pistol grip or stock design.”

According to Congress.gov, the bill was refered to the House Of Representatives’ subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations in September 2017. Reed said he does not have an update on the status of the legislation at this time.

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