Dear M, Thank you for contacting me with your thoughts about events that have recently occurred in Oregon and Connecticut. I have heard from many Oregonians who have shared their thoughts and prayers as we process, both individually and as a nation, what happened and try to heal. I am deeply saddened by these senseless shootings and the loss of innocent lives. As a parent, I was horrified to learn of these heartbreaking events, and I am at a loss to make sense of it all. Mary and I are holding in our thoughts and prayers the victims, their loved ones, the communities, and all who have been affected by these terrible acts of violence. The tragedy in Newtown affirms that, as a country, we must no longer accept complacency or the unwillingness to discuss gun violence. Massacres like this have occurred all too often across this country. They raise questions that need thorough examination, including the types of weapons and ammunition, the securing of weapons in the home, the application of background checks, and the accessibility of treatment for mental illness. I fully support President Obama's call to action to prevent these tragedies from continuing to happen. Furthermore, I plan to work with my colleagues in Congress and engage in productive dialogue to answer the question of what strategies can effectively address the epidemic of gun violence. Please know that I will keep your views and the memory of the lives lost due to gun violence in mind during these discussions. Thank you for participating in this national dialogue. I hope you will continue to send your thoughts and observations my way. All my best, Jeffrey A. Merkley United States Senator While he didn't really have my vote, he definitely has lost it at this point.