Young voices concern over White House gun control plan
President Barrack Obama announced a gun control plan last week that has congressional delegates on both sides of the fence speaking out in support and alarm. Alaska's representative Don Young issued a statement following the president's announcement, criticizing the limitations the plan poses for residents across the country.
"I have serious concerns with the statements made today by President Obama," said Rep. Young in the released statement, "and take issue with the President's call for banning aesthetically altered rifles and shotguns and certain magazines."
Young consistently points out the marked difference between firearm needs and uses in urban American versus rural America, and particularly where Alaska fits into that spectrum.
"This is a dangerous limitation on a family's ability to defend itself in the event they're threatened," Young said. "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."
Supporters of the gun control plan argue that particularly deadly firearms, including semi-automatic weapons, are more dangerous than they are useful and should be subject to much stronger controls than those currently in place.
The ongoing national discussion surrounding gun control reached new heights in the last month following the devastating shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School that claimed 27 lives - 20 of those being young children. Several other shootings have occurred across the country in the last six weeks, bringing the topic of gun control to the forefront across the country.
While Young is a staunch supporter of second amendment rights and critic of any plan that threatens them, he does join others in supporting the effort to prevent mass shootings in other ways.
"However, 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," Young said. "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."
Supporters of stronger limitations on gun access and ownership argue that these measures are not enough to battle the devastating issue of gun violence in America.
"I continue to meet with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to discuss ways to address mental health," Young said, "and keep guns out of the hands of madmen, all without infringing on responsible gun owners' Second Amendment rights."
Hannah Heimbuch can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.