March 1, 2012Hon. Patrick MurphyPatrick Murphy for PAPO Box 2020Philadelphia, PA 19103
Dear Congressman Murphy,
We were concerned to hear your statement earlier this week about your views regarding the SecondAmendment relating to reasonable reforms to reduce gun violence. When questioned about your record inCongress you explained:
"Either you believe in the Second Amendment or you don't… You can't pick and choose what sections of
the Constitution you believe in."
While CeaseFirePA acknowledges that the Constitution does grant individuals the right to bear arms, we do notbelieve that the right is so black and white. Like all Constitutional rights, it comes with certain responsibilitiesand safeguards intended to protect the public good.We are not alone in that opinion. In the 2009 United States Supreme Court case
McDonald v Chicago,
themajority plainly stated that while there is a Constitutional right to bear arms, the right
by no means eliminatesthe ability to devise solutions to social problems that suit local needs and values
The court went further to incorporate observations from their previous 2008 decision in
District of Columbia v Heller
, explicitly citing safeguards that have traditionally protected communities from gun violence, withoutinfringing on the Second Amendment right to bear arms:
“It is important to keep in mind that
Heller, while striking down a law that prohibited the possession of
handguns in the home, recognized that the right to keep and bear arms is not „a right to keep and carryany weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose.‟
We made it clear in Heller
that our holding did not cast doubt on such longstanding regulatory measures as „prohibitions on
the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill
,‟ „laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in
sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and
qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.‟”
Unfortunately, extreme pro-gun lobbying groups like the National Rifle Association have refused toacknowledge
the Supreme Court’s complete interpretation of the Second Amendment and
continue to stand inthe way commonsense federal, state, and local reforms designed to protect public safety such as: enforcing aneffective background check system, confirming the authority of local law enforcement to issue or denyconcealed carry permits to residents of their own jurisdictions, and establishing the legal responsibility to reportlost or stolen firearms upon discovery of their absence.
As a Member of Congress, you repeatedly rejected opportunities to support commonsense reforms toreduce gun violence.
You chose not to co-sponsor legislation to close the Gun Show Loophole and to seal theTerror Gap. While we appreciate your support for the 2007 Federal Assault Weapons Ban, your subsequentvotes in favor of special interest requests by the gun lobby
including votes to allow guns in national parks andto exempt firearms from individual estates for bankruptcy purposes
are a serious concern.