Sen. Tom Coburn

Thursday, November 1st, 2007

“When Tom Coburn stood alone in the United States Senate against Chuck Schumer of New York and other gun grabbers on a major gun rights issue,” he most certainly merited the CCRKBA Gun Rights Defender of the Month Award, stated John M. Snyder, CCRKBA Public Affairs Director.  “For this reason, as well as for the fact that Sen. Coburn of Oklahoma throughout his public life has supported the individual Second Amendment civil right of law-abiding American citizens to keep and bear arms, I nominate him for this distinction for November.”
 Snyder commended Coburn early last month for blocking an attempt by Schumer to ramrod firearms legislation through the Senate without full consideration of the proposal.
 “America’s millions of law-abiding gun owners owe Coburn their appreciation for his action,” said Snyder.
 “Schumer tried to bring a so-called National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) improvements bill out of the Senate Judiciary Committee and directly to the floor of the Senate without amendment with a unanimous consent agreement,” said Snyder.  “Under this procedure, a piece of legislation may be brought to the floor and acted upon unless at least one Senator objects.  Fortunately, Coburn objected and that is why he now is a hero of the gun rights movement.”
 The bill supposedly is designed to strengthen the mental health reporting and enforcing requirements of the NICS system.  It came about as a reaction to the multiple murders by a crazed gunman in April on the Virginia Tech campus.
 As Coburn pointed out, however, the bill does not fund the process by which veterans, as well as any other American who has been tagged unfairly as having mental health problems, can regain his or her Second Amendment rights. 
 Coburn believes the bill would create “a pathway by which individuals can lose their Second Amendment rights but no pathway through which they can gain them back if they’re stable.”
 Coburn said, “I believe individual rights should be guaranteed.”
 He stated he is even more concerned about the cost, which he contends would run to two billion dollars over the next several years.  Such legislation, he said, “is growing the government without decreasing it somewhere else.”
 When The New York Times editorialized against Coburn for blocking the action by Schumer, which it supports, Snyder said “the Times confirmed the significance of Coburn’s action.  The Times wants Coburn to drop his objections.  The gun control advocacy sheet believes ‘the gun lobby, and (Coburn’s) colleagues, should call Senator Coburn to heel.’  Coburn obviously has stung the gun grabbers.  Good for him!”
 “I oppose any and all efforts to mandate gun control on law-abiding citizens,” says Coburn.  “I staunchly support gun ownership and, as a gun owner myself, I believe we have a constitutional right to do so.  The Second Amendment guarantees the right of individual, law-abiding citizens to own and use firearms.  I was a cosponsor of the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act which was signed into law in 2005 and will shield gun manufacturers from frivolous lawsuits intended to limit gun ownership.
 “Congress does not have the authority to decide what firearms Americans should be able to possess for lawful purposes.  I support allowing national concealed carry reciprocity, shielding gun manufacturers from frivolous lawsuits, repealing the unconstitutional gun ban in our nation’s Capital and other measures designed to preserve the right of innocent Americans to protect themselves and their families.”
 Coburn, a two-time cancer survivor, was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2004.  He and his wife, Carolyn, a former Miss Oklahoma, were married in 1968 and have three children and four grandchildren. 
 As a citizen legislator, Dr. Coburn has pledged to serve no more than two terms in the Senate and to continue to care for patients.  He is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.
 Prior to his election to the Senate, Coburn served in the House of Representatives from 1995 through 2001, fulfilling his pledge to serve no more than three terms in the House.
 In 1970, Coburn graduated with an accounting degree from Oklahoma State University.  From 1970 to 1978, Coburn served as manufacturing manager of the Ophthalmic Division of Coburn Optical Industrial Industries. After the family business was sold, Coburn returned to school to become a physician, graduating from Oklahoma Medical School in 1983.