An Open Letter To The Elected Class Regarding Gun Control
January 14, 2013 by Bob Livingston
I realize it is customary to begin missives to elected representatives with the words Honorable Senator ______________ or Honorable Representative ______________, but I believe that title must be earned. Frankly, you (I am referring to you individually and to Congress as a whole) have not done so and, therefore, do not deserve to be addressed that way. However, the purpose of this letter is not to criticize you, but to inform you about what is happening in the country you were elected to serve.
According to a recent poll, Congress’ favorability ranks below lice, cockroaches, colonoscopies and root canals. Have you for a moment stopped to wonder why? It’s because a vast majority of Americans believe that Congress no longer represents them, but instead represents big corporations and, mostly, themselves and their cronies. The recent “fiscal cliff” deal is a perfect example. It socked a tax increase on 80 percent of American workers while doling out $76 billion in government money (which means my money) through special tax favors to large corporations, such as General Electric, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and DIAGEO, and to Hollywood and green energy companies. According to a recent column in The Washington Examiner, Senator Max Baucus’ (Fascist-Mont.) former staffers who are now lobbyists all got their clients millions of dollars in special benefits from the fiscal cliff deal. In return, Baucus received thousands of dollars in political contributions from those companies’ political action committees. Americans, myself included, believe this is standard operating procedure in Washington, D.C. And there is talk that additional tax increases on the middle class are on the way.
Upon your inauguration, you swore an oath, with your hand on a Bible, to uphold and defend the Constitution. You have repeatedly violated that oath by passing unConstitutional laws like the USA Patriot Act (and subsequent extensions) and the National Defense Authorization Act, which grants the President the authority to indefinitely detain American citizens and suspends habeas corpus. If I’m not mistaken, these unConstitutional laws contain provisions that in some way violate Amendments 1, 4, 5, 6, 8 and 9. That’s quite a feat for two laws.
We live in a Nation that goes far beyond anything George Orwell imagined in 1984. Our emails are read, our conversations are listened to, our cars have tracking devices and there are cameras everywhere watching our every move. Law enforcement has devices that can look through our clothes and into our cars and homes, and surveillance drones are patrolling our skies. Travelers are treated as criminals who must be strip searched or patted down before being allowed to fly — and sometimes before being allowed to board trains or buses. Many of us feel this is tyranny.
Now, in the wake of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, there is a great hue and cry among the elected class and the mainstream media about guns and gun violence. To hear them tell it, every gun owner in America is a potential mass murderer, especially those who happen to own a sporting rifle. You and I know that is balderdash.
The anti-gun lobby loves to pull out figures and statistics that it claims show that America is the most violent place on the planet, saying that if guns were simply banned, America would be a crime-free utopia. Let me give you some real statistics. Yes, the recent shootings at Sandy Hook and Aurora, Colo., were tragic and senseless. Do you know what their common denominators are? Both occurred in so-called “gun-free zones.” That means the shooters who made conscious choices to disregard our laws were able to freely attack a group of adults who were restricted by their desire to obey our laws from defending themselves and the children in their charge. Both shooters, as is the case with the vast majority of recent mass shooters, were on prescription psychotropic drugs prior to the attacks.
According to FBI crime data from 2011, rifles (of which the misnamed “assault rifle” is a subset) were used in only 323 of 8,583 firearms murders. This is a continuation of a long-established trend in which the rifle is the least-used of all firearm weapons involved in murders. Rifle use as a murder weapon even ranks below knives, blunt objects (clubs, hammers, etc.) and hands and feet.
In other words, rifles of all types kill less than one person per day. And fewer than 100 people are killed each year by rifles with magazines that hold more than 10 rounds. According to MotherJones.com, from 1982 through 2012 sporting rifles have been employed in mass shootings 35 times. They were used only three times in 2012. In those three attacks, 52 people died. Since the Sandy Hook shooting on Dec. 14, 40 juveniles (statistically speaking) have died in shootings using a weapon other than a sporting rifle. THAT’S JUST ONE MONTH.
Meanwhile, according to Childhelp, more than five children each day — or more than 1,825 per year — are killed by parental abuse. I realize that thinking about the 20 children gunned down by a drug-addled, mentally unstable man is gut-wrenching. But since the Sandy Hook shooting, about 10 times as many children have died at the hands of their parents, and almost twice as many have been killed in juvenile gang crimes. Why don’t these seem to concern you? Could it be because the media are not interested in talking about it and it won’t get you the “face time” you desire? Why aren’t you addressing the topic of the widespread administration of psychotropic drugs and their common link to mass shootings? Is it because you stand to lose political contributions from the medical-industrial complex?
Gun grabbers love to hold Great Britain up as a model of what happens when guns are banned. Well, let’s compare U.S. and U.K. crime statistics. Britain is the most violent country in the European Union. Since the imposition of the country’s gun ban following the Dunblane school massacre in 1996, recorded violent attacks have soared by 77 percent. The violent crime rate there is 2,034 per 100,000 residents.
Contrast that with the United States, which has a violent crime rate of only 386.3 per 100,000. That’s about one-fifth the rate of violent crime in the U.K. And this has trended down since the ban on “assault weapons” ended in 2004.
In the U.K., the weapon of choice to use in a violent crime is the knife. In 2006, there was one knife crime committed in Britain for every 374 people. In the U.S. in 2006, there was one gun crime for every 750 people. In other words, a person was twice as likely to be a victim of a knife crime in the U.K. as he was a gun crime in the United States.
What about guns? The media frenzy that followed the Dunblane massacre led the British government to pass the Firearms Act of 1998, which instituted a nearly complete ban on handguns. Handgun owners were required to turn their guns over to the government, and those who sought to follow the law did so. But the Act didn’t end mass shootings. Another one occurred in 2010. However, within 10 years after the gun ban was enacted, gun crimes had almost doubled. British police are now arming themselves in response to armed gangs. Meanwhile, British citizens are helpless against attacks by criminals wielding knives, clubs, rocks, ropes, chains, axes and anything else that can be used as a weapon.
It also did not have the effect of ending gun crimes. From April 2010 through March 2011, there were 60 shooting homicides in the U.K., despite an almost complete ban on guns. And the number of annual shootings continues to increase.
What the law has done is make criminals out of law-abiding citizens, as in the case of Paul Clarke, a taxi driver who found a shotgun in his yard and turned it into the police only to be arrested for possessing it, and Iraq War veteran Danny Nightingale, who was given a Glock pistol as a gift by Iraqi forces he had trained. That gun was packed in his bags by colleagues when he left Iraq to bury two friends who were killed in action. When the gun was located, Nightingale was forced to plead guilty to possessing it in order to avoid a five-year sentence.
Since the “assault weapons” ban in the United States ended in 2004, gun crimes in the United States have decreased. Not only that, but according to statistics by the Department of Justice, as the number of guns per 1,000 U.S. citizens has increased, the number of serious violent crimes per 1 million population has dropped.
Now to the mood of the country. Americans have been pushed and pushed until they are near the brink. Much of the blame for their anger falls on a government that is out of touch with middle America and tone deaf to its pleas. Most Americans see Congresses past and present inserting fingers into every aspect of daily life: whether it’s the amount of water that can pass through a toilet or the type of light bulb can be used or how much ethanol has to be in gasoline or how one can use his own property or what type of health insurance he must pay for. Now comes the threat that law-abiding Americans will have to surrender their guns — which Senator Dianne Feinstein’s (Communist-Calif.) proposed bill will require — and be restricted from purchasing a gun simply because it looks frightening, carries a high-capacity magazine and a bunch of pointed-headed, intellectual, overeducated elitists have decided it is not “needed” for hunting. And banning large capacity magazines is attacking a problem that is statistically insigificant.
The 2nd Amendment was included in the Bill of Rights — as were all the first 10 Amendments — to restrict what government can do. It was designed to ensure that Americans could deter or, if necessary, overthrow a tyrannical government — you know, the type of government that Representative Jerrold Nadler (Communist-N.Y.) would institute because he believes, as he told a reporter recently, “that the state should have a monopoly on legitimate violence.” When the state has “a monopoly on legitimate violence,” Americans are no longer citizens; they are subjects. Americans will not become subjects.
The 2nd Amendment was not included in the Bill of Rights to ensure Americans could hunt or defend themselves against criminals, so the argument that we “don’t need” guns with “large capacity clips (sic)” — by the way, the proper word is magazines — is a non sequitur. How do I know this? Here are the words of some of our Founding Fathers:
Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself. They are the American people’s liberty teeth and keystone under independence … From the hour the Pilgrims landed, to the present day, events, occurrences, and tendencies prove that to insure peace, security and happiness, the rifle and pistol are equally indispensable . . . the very atmosphere of firearms everywhere restrains evil interference – they deserve a place of honor with all that is good — George Washington
[W]hen the resolution of enslaving America was formed in Great Britain, the British Parliament was advised by an artful man, –who was governor of Pennsylvania, to disarm the people; that it was the best and most effectual way to enslave them… — George Mason, The Virginia Ratifying Convention
Who are the militia? Are they not ourselves? It is feared, then, that we shall turn our arms each man against his own bosom. Congress have no power to disarm the militia. Their swords, and every other terrible implement of the soldier, are the birthright of an American . . . . [T]he unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people.” — Tench Coxe
Are we at last brought to such humiliating and debasing degradation, that we cannot be trusted with arms for our defense? Where is the difference between having our arms in possession and under our direction, and having them under the management of Congress? If our defense be the real object of having those arms, in whose hands can they be trusted with more propriety, or equal safety to us, as in our own hands? — Patrick Henry
Despite what you and those of your ilk seem to believe, it is not the job of Congress or the President to decide what Americans “need” or for what purpose. Americans are quite capable of deciding that for themselves. Nowhere does the Constitution give you the authority to legislate weapons in any way. Nor does the President have this authority, as all laws are to come from the legislative branch, per Article 1, Section 8.
Many, if not most, Americans feel there are already ample gun laws in place. In fact, an argument can be made that many if not all current gun laws violate the Constitution — not that unConstitutional laws seem to bother you people. But I can assure you that, should a bill be passed by Congress and signed by the President that in any way approaches the one being proposed by Feinstein, there will be blood in the streets once Federal agents begin knocking on doors of gun owners to fingerprint and register them. Feinstein’s proposed bill makes many weapons non-transferable, which is the equivalent of weapons confiscation. This will be resisted, as will registration and fingerprinting of gun owners.
And you can tell the President that any executive orders that infringes on the 2nd Amendment will also be ignored and resisted. You see, your passage of laws — or executive orders or whatever you want to call them — that are unConstitutional do not make them any less unConstitutional. Nor does consent to those unConstitutional laws by the Supreme Court give them validity.
Our rights come from our Creator, not government. Therefore, government cannot take them away.
In closing, I want to urge you to consider at great length what you will be starting if, in response to a senseless criminal act, you pass additional burdensome laws on people who have no desire nor inclination to commit criminal acts with the firearms they own — laws that would not reduce gun crime or prevent future Sandy Hook-style massacres but would only add burden and expense to lawful, legitimate gun owners. Gun crimes are committed by criminals. Criminals are criminals because they choose to ignore the laws. Writing additional laws will not serve as a deterrent.
The vast majority of gun crimes are committed by gang bangers and criminals, many of whom are prohibited from possessing a gun under current laws. For the most part, they obtain their guns illegally: either on the black market or by theft. Those committing gun crimes with legitimately purchased weapons are rare outliers.
As proven in Great Britain and Australia, additional gun control laws will neither end nor deter those with criminal intent from committing criminal acts. They will serve only to put the law-abiding public in further danger. That danger will come from two places: the criminal class that will see undefended citizens as easy targets and the Federal agents who will be tasked with enforcing unConstitutional laws.
But those Federal agents tasked to register and/or confiscate weapons will be putting themselves at risk as well, and any violence that results will be on your hands. The threat of arrest or death will cause some to give up their arms peaceably. But as was the case on April 19, 1775 at Lexington and Concord when the British came to confiscate arms and weapons, there will be many patriots who rise up to resist this usurpation. I have spoken to a number of current and former members of the U.S. military who say they will be a part of that resistance group. These are people who have already shown a willingness to die in order to defend the Constitution from all enemies foreign and domestic.
I pray to God that you enter into any gun control negotiations prayerfully and with a full understanding of the mood of the country. You have been warned.
[Editor’s note: In order to encourage a thoughtful and meaningful dialogue, comment to this column will be strictly monitored. The moderator has been instructed to remove all comments that contain ad hominem attacks on the author or other commenters. Make your case in a civil manner. Be respectful of other opinions. Do not disparage others if you want your comments to remain. Understand that the comment policy will be strictly enforced. -- BL]