Ky.'s U.S. Senators cautious but not closed-minded about Obama's gun proposals

01/16/2013 07:22 PM

While some media organizations are proclaiming President Barack Obama’s gun proposal doomed from the start, Kentucky’s two Republican U.S. Senators say they’ll at least give it a look.

Obama on Thursday proposed 23 reforms through executive order, including “strengthening” background checks on gun purchases, outlining options for mental health workers to report potentially violent tendencies and directing the Centers for Disease Control to study how to reduce gun violence and whether video games contribute to it. Obama also pledged to push for universal background checks, an assault weapons ban and limiting clips to 10 rounds.

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul said he will be looking closely to make sure that none of Obama’s actions through executive order go beyond the president’s constitutional powers.

But as to the merits of the new laws the president wants to see, Paul said he’s not convinced an assault weapons ban would work. Here’s what he told reporters in Frankfort before speaking to the Rotary Club:

U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell’s spokesman Robert Steurer said McConnell “will continue to defend the 2nd Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens” and will judge any gun-related proposal the Senate according to that.

“While the administration acknowledged that there is much more to be done to enforce existing law, Sen. McConnell’s first test of any new legislation the majority leader decides to bring before the Senate will be on whether or not it infringes on the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms,” Steurer said in a statement.

Similarly, U.S. Rep. Brett Guthrie, R-Bowling Green, released a statement saying he’s looking forward to reviewing the president’s proposals but seemed a bit skeptical. Here’s his statement:

“I believe that achieving the goal of safety for our children will be best accomplished through focusing on mental health issues as opposed to infringing on the Constitutional rights of law abiding citizens.

“We need to focus on the issue at the core of many of these tragedies. Improving mental health care is critical to ensure that future incidences of violence are avoided and that people who are mentally ill cannot access weapons.

“My colleagues and I on the House Energy and Commerce Committee have a renewed focus on mental health and we will certainly discuss how to move forward from this tragedy to hopefully prevent future violent attacks. In addition, the House Committee on Education and the Workforce will be examining school safety and how to best protect our children, and I will be interested in hearing from Kentucky education officials to get their views. Both of these issues are vital to the dialogue and I look forward to reviewing these proposals at the committee level.”

About Ryan Alessi

Ryan Alessi joined cn|2 in May 2010 as senior managing editor and host of Pure Politics. He is now pursuing an advanced degree in non-fiction writing from Murray State University and is a regular contributor to Pure Politics. Ryan has covered politics for more than 14 years, including seven years as a reporter for the Lexington Herald-Leader. Ryan can be reached at purepolitics@twcable.com or @mycn2 on Twitter.

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