Rep. Richard Hanna, R-Barneveld, is taking a bit of a wait-and-see approach to new gun control legislation, but he has gotten the opinion of at least one high school class in his district.
On Friday morning, Hanna visited Cazenovia High School to speak to a class. He talked about perks of being a congressman - like all the free food, if you know where to find the right buffets - and the recent debate over the Fiscal Cliff.
He also asked the students a few question on the topic of gun control and violence in schools. Hanna brought up the shooting this week at a high school in California that left one student wounded.
The students told Hanna they're more concerned about mental health surrounding gun access. That's a concern their representative shares too.
WRVO spoke with Hanna following his school visit on gun control and other issues. Some of his answers are below.
New proposals expected out of the White House next week on new gun control measures will likely contain some sort of ban on assault weapons. But Hanna, a Republican, says he's more concerned about access.
As a supporter of the Second Amendment, Hanna says he supports the right to own guns.
"I want to know how you'd keep them out of the hands of the people who would misuse them," Hanna says.
The Utica-area congressman says he open to a debate on gun control.
"It is the idea that the people committing these crimes are also maniacs. How do you keep guns out of the hands of people who shouldn’t have them or use them irresponsibly? That’s the real question."
He signaled it was a more important area of focus than an assault weapons ban.
Hanna just began his second term in Congress representing the 22nd District, but he says he's not planning on making a second career out of being in Washington.
Hanna told the students no term limits for representatives is a problem. Incumbency is a powerful thing, he says.
"The idea that anybody is indispensable is absolutely wrong headed," he says. "Ideas are indispensable. People are dispensable, in terms of their service and the time they should serve."
He says it's important to bring new ideas and perspectives to Congress.
Just how long is Hanna planning on serving? He wouldn't say exactly, but he put 10-12 years down as a timeframe.
Before running for office, Hanna became a millionaire running a construction company. That resume was enough for him to get his first chairmanship as a newer congressman.
Hanna will chair a House subcommittee on contracts and workforce, which is under the small business committee.
"One of the things I would like to do is open up markets to smaller and smaller companies and make the paperwork less onerous; have more people have access to federal contracts," Hanna says.