Reader Accur81’s letter to Senator Feinstein:
Dear Senator Feinstein,
The tragic mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary school, as well as shootings in Aurora, Colorado and other locations within the United States, has prompted a renewed interest in what some consider to be “common sense” gun control. While I respect and appreciate your desire to mitigate gun violence in our great nation, it is evident to me that your efforts to create a Federal Assault Weapons Ban and a High Capacity Magazine Ban are misguided, and public safety would be much better served by the elimination of the “Gun Free Zone” . . .
In the Aurora, Colorado shooting, James Eagan Holmes chose the only movie theatre of seven nearby which was labeled as a “Gun Free Zone.” Adam Lanza murdered his own mother, stole her firearms, and shot his way through a window at Sandy Hook Elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut. Since Lanza was in a Gun Free Zone, an armed person did not challenge him until he had managed to murder an additional 26 people, 20 of them children. All of the victims were defenseless.
Additional mass shootings occurring in Gun Free Zones:
United States Postal Service Shooting: Edmond, Oklahoma – Aug. 20, 1986
Stockton Schoolyard Shooting: Stockton, California – Jan. 17, 1989
Luby’s Massacre: Killeen, Texas – Oct. 16, 1991
University of Iowa Shooting: Iowa City, Iowa Nov. 1 – 1991
Royal Oak Postal Shooting: Royal Oak, Michigan – Nov. 14, 1991
Lyndhurst High School Shooting: Olive Hurst, California – May 1, 1992
Thurston High School Shooting: Springfield, Oregon – May 21, 1998
Westside Middle School killings: Jonesboro, Arkansas – Mar. 24, 1998
Columbine High School Massacre: Littleton, Colorado – Apr. 20, 1999
Xerox killings: Honolulu, Hawaii – Nov. 2, 1999
Goleta postal shootings: Goleta, California – Jan. 30, 2006
Amish School shooting: Lancaster County, Pennsylvania – Oct. 2, 2006
Virginia Tech massacre: Blacksburg, Virginia – Apr. 16, 2007
Northern Illinois University shooting: Dekalb, Illinois – Feb. 14, 2008
Fort Hood massacre: Fort Hood, Texas – Nov. 5, 2009
It seems that “common sense” would cause someone facing an armed mass murder to desire to be armed themselves. A textbook or a bag of pencils thwarted none of these mass murderers. Indeed, a lawfully armed civilian confronted the Clackamas Mall shooter in Portland, Oregon. The shooter subsequently ran into a stairwell and took his own life, ending the possibility of further bloodshed.
Estimates of lawful defensive gun use run between 2.1 – 2.5 million per year (Dr. Gary Kleck and Marc Gertz Targeting Guns) to 1.46 million per year (Dr. Philip Cook and Jens Ludwig “Guns In America: National Survey on Private Ownership and Use of Firearms”). As someone who has lawfully used a firearm in self-defense while on-duty, I can relate to these other Americans who have defended themselves. No one in fear for their own life, or the life of a loved one, would desire to be restricted to a 10 round magazine. Law Enforcement does not restrict the arms of their personnel for that very reason.
In a similar vein, I have heard you say that “No hunter worth his salt” would use a rifle such as an AR-15 for hunting. Again, I disagree. Thousands of hunters across this nation have used AR-15s to hunt deer, pig, and other game. I have seen and used AR-15s to hunt white tail deer in Friesland, Wisconsin.
Media moguls and politicians have stated that these firearms belong only on “the field of battle” and have “no place” in civilian hands. Yet more than 600,000 deer hunters entered the woods of Wisconsin this season. The greatest dangers they faced in a sea of firearms were falling out of tree stands.
And what of calls for strict gun control?
Chicago has some of the strictest gun laws in the United States, and lawful concealed carry of a handgun is essentially non-existent. There were more than 500 murders in Chicago in 2012. Connecticut already has some of the most restrictive firearm laws in the nation, which were completely ineffective in preventing the Sandy Hook shooting.
Los Angeles, New York, and Washington D.C. have high murder rates and strict gun laws. Mexico essentially prevents citizens from owning firearms, and had 27,199 people killed last year, according to Mexico’s statistics and geography institute. Clearly, restrictive gun laws have not enhanced the safety of these places.
Your plan to vilify lawful gun owners by taxing them and supporting a “high capacity” magazine ban flies in the face of the wisdom of the 2nd Amendment and the Founding Fathers of this great nation. George Washington said it well “A free people ought not only to be armed and disciplined, but they should have sufficient arms and ammunition to maintain a status of independence from any who might attempt to abuse them, which would include their own government.”
As a Marine, shootings sports director, and police officer, I have always understood the value of responsible gun ownership. Despite my best efforts, I cannot be everywhere at once, or protect anyone outside of my immediate vicinity. Yet recognizing the right of teachers to lawfully carry a concealed firearm in a school would save lives, and protect children by opposing these madmen while they “wait for the good guys.” As it stands, the average mall jewelry store has more security than most schools.
Therefore, I must respectfully state that I enthusiastically oppose your efforts to put forward a federal Assault Weapons Ban and High Capacity Magazine ban. Prohibition was ineffective in banning alcohol. The War on Drugs has not rid our streets of cocaine, methamphetamine, and PCP. No cleverly worded law, however well intended, will dissuade a deranged killer intent on murder. It is truly regrettable that some people in this world are so evil as to be immune to common decency, remorse, or pity. These men must be stopped with force, not laws. Perhaps you had this in mind when you received your own concealed carry permit.
Instead, consider eliminating schools as “Gun Free Zones.” History has shown us that criminals do not follow laws, and have an affinity for locations where their victims cannot legally be armed. As a father, I would feel much better knowing that a rational and responsible member of my school’s staff was legally carrying concealed. If the Secret Service can protect the President’s children, there is no reason to prohibit responsible and lawful gun ownership within our nations schools. Sandy Hook has shown us the horrible tragedy that occurs when the only armed person is evil beyond imagination and has no regard for law or life.