Dear [name withheld]
Thank you for taking time to contact me about your support for stricter gun control measures. I always appreciate hearing from those whom I represent in the Congress.
I have four children and now six very young grandchildren. The massacre of the small children in Newtown was one of the saddest, most horrific events that has ever happened in this Nation, and it sparked a debate on one of the most divisive and heated issues in our Country.
In the wake of such an event, I understand the desire to see stricter gun control laws, and I hope there is something we can do in a responsible, reasonable way.
I have supported background checks in the past and certainly agree we need gun laws.
Unfortunately, nothing that has been proposed so far would have prevented this tragedy, other than greatly increased security at our schools. However, we do not have the money with all our other needs to absolutely guarantee perfect security.
We already have so many thousands of laws, rules, and regulations about guns that we do not even have a computer that could keep up with them all, much less a human being. We have more laws about guns than all but a few other countries, counting those at the federal, state and local levels.
We have an Agency, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives that receives nearly $1.2 billion each year, mainly regulating guns, but which does little good other than provide jobs for bureaucrats.
I do not believe federal gun laws do much good. The most effective actions against guns are done at the local level, primarily by local law enforcement agencies.
The main reason local regulations are the most effective is that the situation differs widely throughout the Country.
New York City is very different than Wyoming. The problem in Memphis is very different than in the rural areas of Tennessee.
Chicago has the toughest gun laws in the world, yet it is the murder Capital of the United States. Washington, D.C. has laws just as tough and just as ineffective as in Chicago.
Most crimes in which a gun is used involve small handguns. Yet we could never effectively enforce a law banning all guns. It is almost unheard of for a crime to be committed by an AR-15, for example.
I was a Criminal Court Judge in Knox County for nearly eight years, handling felony criminal cases. I went through more than 10,000 cases in those years, because almost all plead guilty and applied for probation.
Well over 90% of felony cases, all over the Nation, are committed by defendants who grew up in father-absent households. I heard one psychologist say that every mass school shooter except for one since the 1980s had come from a father-absent household and/or had been on anti-psychotic drugs. Most had been young people who were loners addicted to computers or video games.
I am open to suggestions and appreciate your comments. Rest assured, I will keep your thoughts in mind when this issue comes before the U.S. House of Representatives.
Again, thank you for taking time to contact me about your support for stricter gun control measures. If I can ever be of assistance to you, your family or friends in the future, please do not hesitate to call on me.
With kindest regard, I am
JOHN J. DUNCAN, JR.
Member of Congress