Sanders Statement on President

BURLINGTON, Vt., Jan. 16 – U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) issued the following statement today in response to President Barack Obama’s proposals on gun violence:

“As a nation, we must do everything we can to end the horror of mass killings that we have seen at Newtown, Conn., Aurora, Colo., Blacksburg, Va., Tucson, Ariz. and in other American communities. As the president indicated, there is nothing more important than keeping our children safe.

“Clearly, there is no single or simple solution to this crisis. In my view, Congress must consider a comprehensive approach which includes a serious discussion about guns, the need for greatly expanded mental health services and ending gratuitous violence in the media. I intend to play an active role in that debate.

“As someone who, in 1994, voted for a ban on military-style assault weapons, I am certainly prepared to do that again. As the president proposed, I think it’s also important that Congress take a very hard look at developing the best ways to keep guns and high-capacity ammunition magazines out of the hands of people who should not have them.

“It is also imperative that Americans who need mental health services are able to access them in a timely manner. Too often, in Vermont and throughout the country, we have seen instances of people dealing with destructive impulses who have not been able to find the counseling they need. That must change.

“While we appropriately address the issue of mass killings, we should also be mindful that thousands of Vermont families enjoy hunting, target shooting and other gun-related activities. Well over 99 percent of these people are law-abiding citizens who are extremely careful with their weapons. In the midst of this debate, we should be mindful that their rights must be protected.”