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Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn fires back at critics over gun vote

After being called a traitor and numerous obscene names on his Facebook page, Sen. Tom Coburn responded that the gun bill debate is necessary to keep dangerous people from buying firearms.
by Chris Casteel Published: April 12, 2013

/articleid/3785665/1/pictures/2011444">Photo - U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn <strong> - Oklahoman File Photo</strong>
U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn - Oklahoman File Photo

Coburn's response

Many of those complaining said they would work against his re-election, obviously unaware that Coburn imposed a two-term limit on himself and won't be running for office again.

In the statement, Coburn said, “Some have even suggested a more pro-Second Amendment Republican should run against me in the primary next election. I hate to disappoint them but I respect the will of the people so much I have primaried myself by term-limiting myself.”

Coburn has previously been accused by some Democrats of being too staunch a defender of gun ownership rights.

He fought a long battle to ensure U.S. military veterans weren't denied the right to purchase firearms if they sought mental health services.

And he authored legislation that was approved in 2009 allowing people to carry loaded firearms in national parks.

On Friday, Coburn said “the most onerous and blatantly unconstitutional provisions the gun control lobby favors,” including a ban on so-called assault weapons and a limit on magazine sizes, would never pass the Senate.

“What is up for consideration is how to improve a broken system that literally allows illegal aliens, drug traffickers, child molesters, rapists, felons, members of al-Qaida cells and mentally deranged persons to buy firearms,” he said.

“If you believe the Second Amendment gives those people the right to arm themselves, then we have an irreconcilable difference of opinion.”

Coburn participated for weeks in talks to fashion a bipartisan proposal to expand background checks to gun shows and other non-dealer transactions. He eventually dropped out because of his concerns that government records would be kept of the sales.

He said last week that the agreement reached wouldn't work.

He said Friday he would offer his own proposal to create an online system allowing a consumer to print out a pass showing they weren't on a list of prohibited buyers.

That system, he said, wouldn't treat people as guilty until proven innocent and wouldn't subject them to new fees.

Coburn said Americans have “a responsibility to do their homework and understand what is and is not under consideration. My office is prepared to answer as many questions as possible as clearly and quickly as we can.”

by Chris Casteel
Washington Bureau
Chris Casteel began working for The Oklahoman's Norman bureau in 1982 while a student at the University of Oklahoma. After covering the police beat, federal courts and the state Legislature in Oklahoma City, he moved to Washington in 1990, where...
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