Beshear tells Vice President he's 'open' to gun ideas, requests funds for school safety

01/11/2013 10:02 AM

Gov. Steve Beshear asked for more resources for school safety and mental health programs but said little about gun laws in a letter sent Thursday to Vice President Joe Biden, who is spearheading a task force on gun safety.

Beshear repeated what he has told reporters in the weeks since the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. He wrote Biden that the “national conversation you have begun is a good first step.”

But he didn’t offer any specific suggestions about changes to gun laws he would support.

“I am a hunter and gun owner, but all of us must be open to all ideas when it comes to the safety need o our families and, most importantly, of our children and our schools. And, whatever we choose to do, it needs to be a national solution,” Beshear said.

Instead, Beshear made a pitch for federal funding for other programs in light of “tremendous revenue shortfalls” Kentucky and other states have faced.

“Specifically, we need increased resources for school safety officers, school safety audits, surveillance equipment and school entry control equipment,” Beshear wrote. “… We have spared our mental health programs from the vast majority of cuts seen by other agencies. However, this certainly does not mean that these programs could not benefit from additional funding. Getting people the care they need helps ensure that all communities and all families are safe.”

Beshear’s letter will arrive as Biden prepares to make recommendations on potential gun safety law changes as early as Tuesday. It also comes as other governors of New York, Connecticut and Colorado highlighted the gun issue in their statewide addresses this week.

About Ryan Alessi

Ryan Alessi joined cn|2 in May 2010 as senior managing editor and host of Pure Politics. He has covered politics for more than 10 years, including 7 years as a reporter for the Lexington Herald-Leader. Follow Ryan on Twitter @cn2Alessi. Ryan can be reached at 502-792-1135 or ryan.alessi@twcnews.com.

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