Thursday, February 28, 2013

Congressman Ignores Constituents On Second Amendment

Photo Courtesy of US House of Representatives, Public Domain
 
Several citizens of Arizona's Second Congressional District (AZ-CD-2) wrote letters of petition and concern to Rep. Ron Barber. The letters centered on concern over bills introduced into the US House and Senate that would greatly infringe upon the Second Amendment.

The letters addressed the natural right of self-defense against violent crime and tyranny that the Second Amendment was ratified to protect from governmental infringement. The letter writers included facts about lower crime rates in places that have looser restrictions on concealed carry and weapons ownership. They addressed the fact that even the US Supreme Court has ruled that it is an individual responsibility to protect one's life, family, and property from violent crime and not the job of police.

One letter writer documented police response times in regards to 911 calls over home invasions, attempted murders, and rapes. The information provided was to highlight the need for individual citizens to enjoy the freedom protected by (not granted by) the Second Amendment in order to fend off violent criminals.

 In addition, some of the letters addressed concerns over proposals to place authority to suspend those rights being given to health care professionals and government bureaucrats. The authority to suspend those rights should not be taken lightly and should remain within the judicial branch instead of being migrated into executive branch powers. Furthermore, these concerns address rights to privacy, violations of HIPPA laws, and violations of the Fourth Amendment which protects citizens against search and seizure without a justified warrant issued by a judge.

The writers were voicing their concerns in hopes that Ron Barber would listen and vote against any bills designed to limit, further restrict, or otherwise infringe upon those rights.

Ron Barber is the Vice-Chair of the House Task Force To Prevent Gun Violence, a cabal of socialist oligarchs with designs on devaluing the Second Amendment to the point of making it ineffective to protect our natural right to protect our lives, liberties, and property.

As part of his efforts, Barber and seven co-sponsors introduced what appears to be an innocuous bill to fund and expand mental health training. The bill, HR 274, proposes increased federal fund allocations to enhance and reward that expanded training. The training is meant to increase personnel certified to identify individuals with mental health conditions so that they can be placed into databases which will deny them their Second Amendment protections without a court order or conviction. The bill itself doesn't address this database. That proposal is in another piece of legislation in an effort to pass these efforts under the radar.

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the `Mental Health First Act of 2013'.

SEC. 2. MENTAL HEALTH FIRST AID TRAINING GRANTS.

    Section 520J of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 290bb-41) is amended to read as follows:

`SEC. 520J. MENTAL HEALTH FIRST AID TRAINING GRANTS.

    `(a) Grants- The Secretary, acting through the Administrator, shall award grants to States, political subdivisions of States, Indian tribes, tribal organizations, and nonprofit private entities to initiate and sustain mental health first aid training programs.
    `(b) Program Requirements-
      `(1) IN GENERAL- To be eligible for funding under subsection (a), a mental health first aid training program shall--
        `(A) be designed to train individuals in the categories listed in paragraph (2) to accomplish the objectives described in paragraph (3);
        `(B) ensure that training is conducted by trainers that are properly licensed and credentialed by nonprofit entities as designated by the Secretary; and
        `(C) include--
          `(i) at a minimum--
            `(I) a core live training course for individuals in the categories listed in paragraph (2) on the skills, resources, and knowledge to assist individuals in crisis to connect with appropriate local mental health care services;
            `(II) training on mental health resources, including the location of community mental health centers described in section 1913(c), in the State and local community; and
            `(III) training on action plans and protocols for referral to such resources; and
          `(ii) where feasible, continuing education and updated training for individuals in the categories listed in paragraph (2).
      `(2) CATEGORIES OF INDIVIDUALS TO BE TRAINED- The categories of individuals listed in this paragraph are the following:
        `(A) Emergency services personnel and other first responders.
        `(B) Police officers and other law enforcement personnel.
        `(C) Teachers and school administrators.
        `(D) Human resources professionals.
        `(E) Faith community leaders.
        `(F) Nurses and other primary care personnel.
        `(G) Students enrolled in an elementary school, a secondary school, or an institution of higher education.
        `(H) The parents of students described in subparagraph (G).
        `(I) Veterans.
        `(J) Other individuals, audiences or training populations as determined appropriate by the Secretary.
      `(3) OBJECTIVES OF TRAINING- To be eligible for funding under subsection (a), a mental health first aid training program shall be designed to train individuals in the categories listed in paragraph (2) to accomplish each of the following objectives (as appropriate for the individuals to be trained, taking into consideration their age):
        `(A) Safe de-escalation of crisis situations.
        `(B) Recognition of the signs and symptoms of mental illness, including such common psychiatric conditions as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major clinical depression, and anxiety disorders.
        `(C) Timely referral to mental health services in the early stages of developing mental disorders in order to--
          `(i) avoid more costly subsequent behavioral health care; and
          `(ii) enhance the effectiveness of mental health services.


Increasing identification, familiarization, and immediate response training for citizens is, in itself, a great idea. However, this proposal could lead to citizens treating mental illness in a manner similar to the Salem Witch Trials where opinion and hysteria weigh stronger than facts and empirical evidence in decisions to infringe upon Second Amendment protections.

Barber's office sent out automated form-letter responses. Each of the letter writers received the same canned response:

Dear Mr. [REDACTED],

Thank you for contacting me about gun violence prevention. I appreciate hearing from you on this important issue.

Like you, I am a strong supporter of the Second Amendment and the right to bear arms. Most firearms are legally purchased for legitimate purposes, including self-defense. In Arizona and across the country, there is a rich tradition of hunting and shooting sports. We must protect the rights of citizens to possess firearms for these lawful purposes.

As a grandfather and a member of Congress, I also believe we have a responsibility to ensure the safety of our families, our schools and our communities. Preventing gun violence is a complex problem with no single answer, but I am hopeful that we can come together and take meaningful steps to address the availability of high-capacity magazines and prevent those who are criminals or a danger to themselves and others from purchasing weapons illegally.

As we work to prevent future violence, we also must take steps to identify and treat mental illness. Untreated or undiagnosed serious mental illness combined with easy access to heavy fire power has been an underlying cause in a number of mass shootings. It is important to stress that the vast majority of people with mental illness are not violent. In fact, they are far more likely to be the victim of violence than the perpetrator. Nonetheless, we must expand mental health awareness and treatment services and prevent people who are a danger to themselves or others from having access to weapons.

On January 15, I introduced H.R. 274, the Mental Health First Aid Act. This bill would provide training similar to first aid instruction run by local chapters of the American Red Cross. It would take a public health approach to mental illnesses by providing training to teachers, students, firefighters, police officers, emergency services workers and others. Those trained would learn how to recognize the signs and symptoms of mental illness and would be given the tools necessary to respond and know where to get mental health services. I was pleased that the president and vice president included my legislation as part of the Administration's recommendations to prevent gun-violence

I was honored to be named as a Vice Chair of the House Task Force to Prevent Gun Violence. As a Vice Chair of that task force, I have been able to work with my colleagues in the House, Senate and the vice president as we develop recommendations to make our communities safe while protecting every American's right to bear arms. At home in Arizona, I have initiated Mental Health and Law Enforcement Task Forces to talk with experts in these fields about what they feel we must do to prevent and reduce gun violence. Most importantly, I'm talking with the people I represent, in my office and out across Southern Arizona at Congress on Your Corner and other public events, where I can hear directly from you and other constituents in my district.

As Congress works to reduce gun violence, be assured I am committed to working with my colleagues to move forward with common sense proposals that both ensure the safety of our communities and protect our Second Amendment rights.

It is an honor to represent Southern Arizona and keep the people I serve updated on my work in Congress. My office can also help you resolve issues with federal agencies. Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of assistance to you. Click here to contact me or call my office in Tucson at 520-881-3588 or in Sierra Vista at 520-459-3115 for more information.

Yours sincerely,

Ron Barber
Member of Congress
Barber completely ignored the concerns and specific issues addressed in these letters from his constituents. One of the letter writers stated "[H]e totally missed the point of my letter to him. Residents, PLEASE contact Rep Barber and tell him magazine bans will not help the problem. Criminals don't care about gun laws! He is proposing legislation that affects law-abiding citizens!".

Attempting to engage Rep. Barber in a dialogue on the issues, he responded to the form letter:

Rep Barber,
Thank you for your reply. I can appreciate how you feel about your responsibilities to your constituents and your progeny. I feel the same way about my neighbors and my children, and recently born, first grandson.

I think you may have
missed my point in my previous letter though.

I absolutely do not support magazine capacity regulations. That legislation will only impact law-abiding American citizens who also wish to protect their neighbors and families. A criminal who intends to commit a violent felony is not concerned about the lesser charge of a magazine violation. In fact, he/she may not even be concerned with his/her own life. There is no deterrence, except to the citizen who wishes to protect their family from the lawless thugs who will disregard these laws.

I believe you are a good man with good intentions, but I do not support you if you support this chipping away of the second amendment. Our Constitution should be sovereign and nonnegotiable.

Sincerely,

[signature and phone number REDACTED]
As of this posting, the citizen has yet to receive a response.

Ron Barber succeeded his mentor, Gabby Giffords, after she resigned from her seat due to recovery from a failed assassination attempt. The left-wing extremist who shot Rep. Giffords did so because he felt her actions were not as progressive as they should have been. Mrs. Giffords, despite being a rather socialist-minded politician, was well known to listen to her constituents. She was known to vote against her personal ideology and in favor of her constituents' desires, to include endorsing several Arizona state-level laws and policies, to include "Constitutional Carry" laws that made it no longer necessary to acquire a permit to carry a concealed firearm in Arizona.

Barber is not doing very well in attempting to appear to follow in her footsteps.

Based upon his cold, form-letter response on this issue, it's obvious that Rep. Ron Barber does not understand that he is employed by his constituents. Instead, he displays that he believes he is part of an oligarchy that "owns the plantation" and his constituents are there to bend to his will.