In recent months, President Obama has led the effort to implement more gun-control measures across the country. With the debate continuing over this issue, I wanted to take this opportunity to assure you that I remain an unwavering defender of our Second Amendment rights.

Like so many Arkansans, I want to reduce violent crime, especially the mass murder of innocents. But the current gun-control debate misses the point: guns aren’t the cause of violence, and often are the solution to violence. We must focus on keeping guns of out of the hands of those who commit gun violence—criminals and the dangerously mentally ill. Making it harder for law-abiding citizens to own firearms only puts them at greater risk of gun violence.

The conversation about gun control needs to move toward a discussion about mental health and what we can do to help those who are unable to help themselves. For instance, someone with a history of manic-type behaviors should not suddenly be given total control of their health-care decisions on their eighteenth birthday. Rather, doctors should work with families to ensure these individuals are being properly treated and their best interests are protected.

I know firsthand the importance of the right to keep and bear arms. As a soldier in Iraq and Afghanistan, I kept my rifle within arms’ reach because of a fundamental truth: at critical moments, your life and your freedom, and that of those depending on you, depends on you right to defend yourself.

The same truth applies here at home. America was founded on the principle that all law-abiding citizens have the right to keep and bear arms. As a 6th generation Arkansan, I know how central the outdoorsman way of life is to our state’s identity. I am committed to preserving that tradition for generations of future Arkansans.

The President has publicly vowed that he will not stop pushing for stronger gun-control. Well, I will not stop pushing back at him in defense of liberty. His efforts are an assault on our freedoms and I will not stand for it. I will continue to fight to protect the second amendment rights of Arkansans and all Americans.