Neb., Iowa politicians react to Obama's speech

Posted at 12:26 PM, Jan 05, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-05 16:22:46-05

Nebraska and Iowa representatives in the Senate and House react to President Barack Obama's speech on gun control:


Sen. Deb Fischer

The president’s executive actions would not have stopped any of the recent mass shootings, nor do they address the root causes of violent crime. Instead, these executive actions infringe on the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens to bear arms. Our constitution was not meant to be altered by an exercise of presidential prerogative; it can only be done by the will of the people. I will fight this flagrant expansion of executive power and continue to protect the Second Amendment rights of our citizens.

Sen. Ben Sasse

"The President should be bigger than the condescending rhetoric and political cynicism we saw today. Sadly, President Obama is demonizing law-abiding gun owners and undermining the legislative process. This approach will not end heartbreaking tragedies but it will poison public discourse."

Rep. Adrian Smith

At a time when we should be focusing our efforts on combating radical Islamic terrorism, treating mental illness, and enforcing laws already on the books, the administration is choosing instead to unilaterally push forward with dangerous violations of Americans’ constitutional rights,” Smith said.  “The President’s executive actions to restrict gun ownership target law-abiding citizens and subvert the will of Congress.  As an unwavering supporter of the Second Amendment, I will continue to stand against this unprecedented overreach and protect the fundamental right to bear arms.

Rep. Jeff Fortenberry

KMTV has reached out for a statement. Check back for an update.

Rep. Brad Ashford

"We must do more to ensure our communities are safe from gun violence. That’s why I support congressional action to improve and close gaps in our background check system and enhance mental health treatment.
I am disappointed that Congress could not break through the partisan gridlock to make our communities safer. This should not be done through unilateral executive action; Congress needs to address gun violence now."


Sen. Chuck Grassley (issued Monday)

America’s response to recent tragedies involving guns should include a thoughtful review of not only how, but also why they happened.  It should explore responsible, effective solutions to underlying problems and respect the fundamental, constitutional rights of law-abiding Americans.  This is exactly the deliberative process the Founding Fathers entrusted to the Legislative Branch of government, not the political agenda of one person.

Over the course of the next few days, we’ll be taking a deep look at the President’s proposals, with an eye toward ensuring that the Second Amendment is preserved.  Of course, the devil will be in the details of the regulations that he’s proposing.  I’d remind everybody, though, that one of the agencies the President is proposing to give additional authority and resources to, is the same agency that allowed guns to walk into Mexico and then turn around and kill one of our own Customs and Border Patrol agents.

History has taught us that simply focusing on limiting access to guns does not lead to drops in gun crimes.  Maryland, Illinois, California, and even Washington, D.C., have some of the nation’s strictest gun laws, yet they have some of the highest numbers of gun-related crimes in the country.

Congress has debated and continues to debate appropriate changes to America’s gun laws that respect Second Amendment rights.  I offered a comprehensive proposal in 2013 and again late last year that focused on mental health, straw purchases and illicit trafficking.  Both times, it received bipartisan support.  I’m currently working across the aisle with Sen. Durbin on a bill to prevent all non-citizens who aren’t legal permanent residents from purchasing guns. I’ve also put forward a number of bills to improve our response to mental health issues that are often at the root of these tragedies.

Our government, with its separation of powers and checks and balances, was designed to protect the rights of individuals, and ensure that our most challenging debates are held in Congress, where all Americans have a voice through their representatives.  This can be a difficult and frustrating process, but it is how we ensure that the will and rights of the American people are respected and protected, and it is where this debate should take place.

Sen. Joni Ernst

“I am opposed to President Obama’s overreaching and unilateral actions; the American people should have a voice in this process instead of the President's top-down approach that sidesteps Congress and the people we were elected to represent.

There are laws currently in place to prevent firearms from getting into the wrong hands and we must ensure that they are being enforced. In addition, we must continue to focus on improving access to mental health services.

However, executive actions to restrict law-abiding citizens' rights are simply not the answer. President Obama's attempt to mandate these Second Amendment restrictions have fallen flat in Congress previously. Any further discussion about how best to respond to recent tragedies involving firearms should happen in Congress, where the American people have a voice through their representatives.

I remain committed to working to counter the President’s overreaching actions, and protecting the constitutional rights of law-abiding Iowans.”

Rep. Steven King

KMTV has reached out for a statement. Check back for an update.

Rep. Dave Loebsack

As a native Iowan, I was raised with an appreciation for Iowa’s hunting traditions and am a strong supporter of our Second Amendment rights. I believe that improving our background check system can help to address the safety of our communities while also protecting those Second Amendment rights.

“I have long advocated for an increased investment in mental health services so that people who are struggling with mental health issues can get the treatment that they need. I am pleased to see the new $500 million investment in mental health outreach, the behavioral health workforce, and treatment options, and Congress should act swiftly to approve this funding request. The bottom line for me is that as a grandparent and a former educator married to a teacher, I believe our kids must be safe in school and I want Iowa communities to continue to be a great place to live and raise a family.

Rep. Rod Blum

KMTV has reached out for a statement. Check back for an update.