A growing culture of violence, not gun-control laws, deserves scrutiny after last weeks massacre in Connecticut, say the two new Republican members of Congress the Charlotte region will send to Washington next month.
Concords 8th District Rep.-elect Richard Hudson praised President Barack Obamas expression of national grief over the shooting of 20 first-graders. But he said new gun-control laws wont prevent such tragedies and he wont support them.
It is appropriate that we have a national dialogue about how and why this kind of violence keeps happening, said Hudson, a lifelong hunter and National Rifle Association member.
This is not an issue that can be solved by a new law. It has to do with culture, with mental health issues, with how we respond to the social isolation this young man evidently felt. . We should talk about the glorification of violence in video games, entertainment and media. There are so many factors and no single one of them caused this crisis. I just feel like we need a thoughtful discussion and not a knee-jerk reaction.
Ninth District Rep.-elect Robert Pittenger of Charlotte, a strong gun-rights supporter, said, We need to do what is prudent and logical in response to the shootings in Connecticut.
But he, too, said more gun-control laws wont stop further tragedies, saying if people want a gun, theyre going to find one.
The major problem we have is violence in our country and the glorification of violence in media and culture, said the grandfather of seven young children.
Until theres a real discussion about the elements affecting our society, youre not going to have the outcome that you want.
Some colleagues already in Washington echoed the incoming freshmen in focusing on societal issues instead of firearms.
We are still trying to grapple with the unimaginable horrors that continue to take place at the hands of people who have been isolated from society and live in a world of their own terrible delusions, said 2nd District Rep. Renee Ellmers, a Harnett County Republican elected in 2010. This must continue to remain our mission to protect our citizens and seek and rectify the root causes of these evil acts, rather than focusing on means by which they are accomplished.
U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., said its important to have laws in place to prevent such mass shootings.
We need a common-sense debate on a comprehensive approach that looks at access to guns, including laws that may have already been on the books, access to mental health care, and violent video games, she said.
In the coming months, I will review any proposals with an open mind, ensuring that they will improve the safety of our communities without restricting the rights of responsible gun owners as guaranteed by the Second Amendment.
U.S. Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., didnt respond to a request for comment.
Tenth District Rep. Patrick McHenry, a Cherryville Republican, said its too early to insert politics into what is obviously a devastating travesty.
My prayers are with the folks and the families and the community that was affected. Thats my focus right now, especially in this holiday season.
Henderson: 704-358-5051 Twitter: @bhender
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