Finger Lakes Rep. Tom Reed (R-Corning) says passing tighter gun control laws is not the way to respond to the Las Vegas shooting Sunday that left 59 people dead and hundreds injured. Some lawmakers are advocating for new measures after police revealed that the alleged shooter in the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history had scores of weapons, but Reed says that approach only offers false security.
“Thinking the government is going to somehow protect us from these weapons, and take away our Second Amendment rights in order to do it, somehow will prevent all of these incidents from occurring, I think is just too much reliance on government and not a realistic position,” Reed said.
Reed says the more effective way to prevent mass shootings in the future is by addressing what he calls the root cause - mental health and terrorism issues.
“And that’s where a lot of these elected officials aren’t willing to go because it’s much harder to take on the issue of mental health, it’s much harder to take on the issue of domestic and foreign terrorism because now we are talking about individuals and we’re talking about the privacy of individuals,” he said. “How can we deliver services or potentially target individuals that are expressing these extreme positions?”
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) is among those calling for more gun control, but she says her colleagues are "too cowardly and too weak" to oppose the gun industry.
GOP Tax Overhaul
Providing relief to the middle class is a top priority for members of Congress now considering a tax overhaul, according to Reed. The Republican says criticism from some that the proposed changes favor wealthier Americans over everyone else is just an attack by those who are benefiting from the tax system as it exists today.
Critics note that the legislation would slash taxes for the one percent, and get rid of items like the estate tax that largely benefit wealthier Americans. But Reed says the Republican Party's proposed reforms, like doubling the standard deduction and offering a child care tax credit, focus on helping middle class families.
"The President said it best himself – I believe – when he said, you know what, he isn’t looking to cut taxes for that wealthy bracket,” Reed said. “And actually at the end of the day, if they end up having to pay more in order to get tax reform done, he’s OK with that. I associate with that type of principal."
Reed says he will continue to advocate for keeping the state and local tax deduction that benefits Americans in high-tax states like New York, which the Republican plan would eliminate.
He says the tax reform package could be complete and ready for the president's signature by January 1, 2018.