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Saturday, 05 January 2013 06:11

Response from Representative Bill Posey

Written by  Representative Bill Posey

Response from Representative Bill Posey concerning gun control. January 4, 2013

Thank you for contacting me in the aftermath of the tragic shootings in Newtown, Connecticut. As a father and a grandfather, my heart goes out to the parents and families of these children, and the families of the teachers and school employees whose lives were so tragically cut short. We all grieve as a nation over this senseless tragedy. We are all interested in looking for real solutions that will help prevent such tragedies in the future.

Before jumping to conclusions and possible solutions, we need to develop a more complete understanding of what happened leading up to this tragedy. In particular, we need to understand more about the perpetrator and his background and mental state of mind. Too often Washington is tempted to jump quickly to conclusions and quick fixes without fully understanding the complex issues involved.

Clearly, the individual who perpetrated this terrible act (Adam Lanza) was mentally disturbed, and news sources thus far indicated that intervention was seriously lacking. The specifics of any mental or developmental disability from which he suffered must be fully understood and investigated. Understanding more detail on this subject will play a significant role in developing interventions to prevent future Adam Lanzas from carrying out such unthinkable acts. 

Also, some media reports have indicated that he was on psychotropic drugs. We need to understand what drug or drugs he was on and what role, if any, these drugs may have played in his mental state and aggression. Some reports indicate that his mother was in the process of having him committed to a mental institution. Is this true? And, if so, what role may this have played? What early warning signs were there? What actions were or were not taken? What barriers to intervention exist and what changes in law might be needed to address such deficiencies?

Additionally, media reports indicated that Lanza spent a considerable amount of time playing violent first-person shooter video games. What role if any did this play particularly when combined with his mental instability, and possibly being on psychotropic prescription drugs? You may recall that serious mental problems and addiction to violent video games were also traits that investigators uncovered when investigating the murders carried out by James Holmes at the movie theater in Aurora, Colorado. 

A Washington Post poll following this tragedy reports that a majority of Americans believe that this incident reflects a larger problem in American society. Some have suggested that the culture of violence is poisoning the minds of children and these games are desensitizing children to the reality of violence. The Parents Television Council reports that the average child graduates from elementary school having seen 8,000 murders and more than 100,000 acts of violence on television. By age 18, the number of murders is up to 40,000. Can this level of exposure be a factor in already troubled youths committing aggressive acts, including murders? 

The issues at hand here run deep and deserve a broader discussion and investigation. The issues involved also cross federal and state jurisdiction and thus any solutions, once we understand all of the issues at hand, may merit consideration at multiple levels. I appreciate knowing of your support for additional gun control. As you may know, the State of Connecticut has some of the most restrictive gun control laws in the country. Initial reports indicate that the firearms belonged to the shooter's mother, who herself was a victim of Lanza. We need that part of the investigation to be completed so we know for certain whether the firearms belonged to Ms. Lanza. If they do - and were in compliance with current law - then we need to recognize that broad-base firearms laws are not likely to be effective in preventing gun violence in the future. 

A common thread of serious mental imbalance, increased aggression, excessive exposure to violence through various media, and prescription psychotropic drugs, and the failure of early intervention have been a common factor in similar acts of violence. 

I look forward to a complete investigation into this tragedy so that any proposed solutions are focused on the specifics of the case to address this growing concern of mentally unstable individuals and firearms crimes.

Thank you again for contacting me. I appreciate having the benefit of your views. It is an honor to serve you in Congress. For more information on my work in Congress, to sign up to receive my E-newsletter, or to participate in telephone town hall meetings, please visit my website,, or call my office at (321) 632-1776. If I may be of service to you in the future, please do not hesitate to contact me.


Bill Posey
Member of Congress


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