August 19, 2015

The Honorable Bernie Sanders
United States Senator
P.O. Box 905
Burlington, VT 05402

Dear Senator Sanders:

I am writing to you today both in your capacity as a present United States Senator, as well as a candidate for the presidency of the United States; nothing hereafter is intended to offend nor to denigrate you, but rather exists solely to express sentiments shared by millions of Americans, including myself. It ought not to be presumed that I am writing on behalf of any organizations I am affiliated with or lead. I write this merely with the perspective of a concerned voter . . .

On July 5th of this year, you appeared on CNN’s State of the Union with Jake Tapper, where you briefly spoke on policy pertaining to American gun violence. Towards the conclusion of your conversation with Mr. Tapper, you stated: “I want to see real serious debate and action on guns.” This, coupled with other encouraging statements you have made in the past several years — the time since I began looking up to you as a fellow ambitious, New England-based progressive — has provided me with hope that you may ultimately become the advocate that so many of us want (and desperately need) you to be.

Many proponents of the common sense gun regulations our entire country is sorely lacking — from Burlington to Baltimore, and everywhere else — have been extremely disappointed not just by certain statements you have made and votes you have cast, but also by what you have yet to say in spite of the prevalence and ameliorable nature of the epidemic we face in preventable gun violence. You have repeatedly defended your record on this issue when asked about it — despite voting both against the Brady Bill and in favor of allowing firearms on Amtrak — but rarely seem to speak on the matter if not prodded to do so.

Other candidates, at least in the Democratic primary, seem to get it — Martin O’Malley and Hillary Clinton alike have been much more vocal on this topic, and rumored candidate, Vice President Joe Biden, has been as well. In fact, when I went to see Biden speak at the Make Progress National Summit in D.C., which took place just after your appearance on CNN, I couldn’t help but think of how Biden — who was primarily discussing campaign finance, the environment, and gun violence — spoke in a way that reminded me of your campaign in all but the final category, to my stark disappointment (or approval, in Biden’s case). To put it simply, your position on this issue is inconsistent with your reputation for being one of, if not the most progressive public servants, and presidential candidates, in the United States.

I do not want you to believe this letter is meant to condemn you; if that were the purpose, there wouldn’t be a letter at all — I simply would opt to vote for another candidate. But the fact of the matter is that I desire both to vote for, and actively support you — I genuinely do. However, many feel as though an opaque or conservative position on gun violence should preclude a candidate from receiving their support; having conversed with parents who have lost children, children who have lost parents, and being aware of far too many additional permutations of relatives both taken and left behind as a result of preventable shootings — I must overwhelmingly concur with the necessity of said preclusion. The purpose of this letter, then, is to ask that you enable my cohorts and I to support you without consequently supporting a candidate less interested in combating this crisis than several alternative office seekers. I am asking you to acquire what many have begun to refer to as “gun sense.”

As I’ve mentioned, I am far from the only person who will be unable to support you based on your present policy position (or lack thereof). Organizations working to prevent gun violence such as Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America number well into the millions, and undoubtedly among these, and similar national groups, are many who would otherwise consider voting for you. At a recent town hall in Nevada, a state with an upcoming referendum to determine whether or not basic background checks ought to be requisite for gun purchases, Hillary Clinton asked members of Moms Demand Action to stand so that she could recognize their emotionally exhausting efforts. I can assure you, from working with and knowing many in groups such as these, that they do their research, inform their networks and communities, and most importantly, will absolutely not forget to vote for and actively support candidates who possess sufficient “gun sense.”

This perpetual scourge necessitates immediate attention from someone unafraid to stand up to groups like the NRA, and more importantly, to stand with the families of the 88 Americans who are being killed every single day — in our cities, suburbs, and rural areas, in our schools, churches, and movie theaters… and just about any other setting you could possibly conceive of. On numerous occasions, you have shown that you are undaunted by the prospect of diverging from the crowd, and are willing to fight for the best interests of the American people regardless of political consequences. I am having immense difficulty understanding how someone of your integrity, which I have always admired very much, is capable of disregarding or downplaying such a copious and utterly senseless loss of human life. Hillary Clinton may have voted for the Iraq War, but you have indisputably been to her ideological right on this equally indefensible domestic conflict, wherein our nation’s citizens comprise both sides of belligerents.

That being said, if and when you do decide to make it clear that this deadly quandary is something you are willing to prioritize, at least to the extent of your Democratic opponents (Clinton & O’Malley, particularly), I intend to do all I can to assist your campaign; in the meantime, however, I will seek to contribute to candidates who exhibit a desire to amend this grand societal wrong that has many Americans living in fear — or ceasing to live altogether — on a daily basis.

Many fellow activists have told me that you will never be the advocate for this cause to the extent that Secretary Clinton, Governor O’Malley, and numerous (albeit far too few) others, both seeking and occupying various offices, have committed to being. All I can do is hope that you will prove that assertion to be unequivocally false — and if your recent decision to incontrovertibly demonstrate support for racial justice is any indication, you certainly appear willing to expand your platform so as to encourage further, necessary transformations of an unacceptable status quo.

So in closing, I ask you this, Senator Sanders — Will you defend the American people you seek to lead from devastating, ceaseless gun violence, or will you stand idly by while we continue to be gunned down, one at a time, while the rest of the world looks on thoroughly appalled by our seeming indifference towards a domestic war every bit as bloody as those abroad in which we so often find ourselves entangled, and which an individual of our mutual persuasion would be commonly thought to condemn?

I respectfully request that you consider the rampant gun violence so permeating our beloved nation, and furthermore, that you consider the families of the tens of thousands from our body politic being killed every single year. Do they not merit occupancy of a plank on your platform, or thirty seconds of your campaign speech?

I urge you to ally yourself with those leading this vital effort, and sincerely hope that I find myself able to support the many positive aspects of your platform, without having to conscientiously abstain from supporting your candidacy for president of the United States. I thank you, senator — or whomever the reader of this may be — for your time and consideration, and eagerly await your response.

Cordially,

Michael J. Hout
Amherst, Massachusetts

(This open letter originally appeared at medium.com)

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44 Responses to An Open Letter to Bernie Sanders On ‘Gun Violence’ [VIDEO]

  1. Oh dear lord.. I lost some brain cells reading this…
    Bernie hasn’t said anything because he doesn’t want to sound stupid, unlike the other candidates who jump on every tragedy before the bodies are cold, or the facts presented. Yes this means you dear Hillary.

    • “…dear Hillary”?

      The only thing ‘dear’ about Clinton is she’s like “Mommy Dearest”; she’s her own romantic interest in her quest for presidential power and notoriety, and her adopted orphans are all freedom loving citizens of the United States of America.

    • I quit reading the moment I realized the author felt it necessary to point out that the views expressed in the letter they were writing, included those expressed by themselves…..which was the first sentence. *facepalm.

      • In the letter writer’s own turgid words: “ I must overwhelmingly concur with the necessity of said preclusion.”

    • Sorry – couldn’t get past the third paragraph. I’m old(ish) and don’t have time for such nonsense.

      Bernie hasn’t said anything about “gun control” because a portion of his base look to him because of the fact he doesn’t say much about gun control. Have no doubt; should MR Sanders succeed in obtaining the highest political office in this country, he will toe the progressive party line. He is no lover of freedom except for his own.

      I lived in Burlington, VT, when he was the mayor. I didn’t like him then either. He started Burlington in its decent into progressive squalor. The city hasn’t recovered since.

  2. I kinda just threw up in my mouth a couple of times while reading that.
    Guys, could you try not to post the truly vile stuff during feeding times…

    It saddens me then angers me that there are wanna be slaves like Mr. Hout out there.

    • “Guys, could you try not to post the truly vile stuff during feeding times…”

      Fighting you gag reflex is just another way of training to help control your breathing and heart rate.

      “It saddens me then angers me that there are wanna be slaves like Mr. Hout out there.”

      Sir, it is just a Declaration of Division, that will have to be settled eventually if America is to survive.

      • “Fighting you gag reflex is just another way of training to help control your breathing and heart rate.”

        LOL. True.

        Limousine liberals are so grabby that they won’t stand for anything less than wholesale confiscation. Not once were the words “freedom,” much less “hunting” or “self-defense” even mentioned as an aside in that wall of crap he wrote. I bet they never had a confrontation with danger or starvation in their natural lives. Once again, I hope Sen. Sanders remembers that middle America actually cares about hunting and self defense, but most importantly, their freedom.

  3. Wow when I saw “open letter to Bernie Sanders” by Dan Zimmerman, after reading halfway through I had to skip down to make sure a TTAG contributer didn’t actually write this.. Definitely a WTF moment for me. After reading the whole thing thank god this guy is in New England.. Yall can keep it.

  4. Hout bears a remarkable resemblance to Pajama Boy.

    Hout is the future of the Democrat party, and I’m thrilled to say that the future is dim.

  5. Like Tom in Oregon, I don’t feel so well after reading this. I’m glad (to some degree) that my plans are to head North to NH.

    Besides, Bernie is from VT. Ya just can’t jump right up and be anti-gun. You could have an “accident” out there in the Green Mountains. (J/K)

  6. Why in the hell as an American citizen would you take one second of your life to support a Socialist? Is the author a citizen? You do understand Socialism leads to Communism and is often seen in the same light.

    What a colossal waste of time to write to Sanders, a person who would best be sent to prison for supporting socialism.

    • That’s not entirely true… there are plenty of Socialists that despise Communists. Orwell was one such Socialist.

      • BS

        Orwell was a Populist, which meant nearly an entirely different thing at the time, and was more conservative than many red-tie republicans out there.

        Orwell’s Animal Farm is the clear proof. He not only railed against the idea of Socialists/Social Communists as they tend to quickly slide off into the sh_t hole that is Communism when they become unencumbered with the standard toil of daily life and separated from the people and causes that placed them in a position of power (sought or otherwise), he railed against “the farm” and the farm mentality, and social order (striation).

        • AND. . . VT is a pissant little state with pissant minded blue state evil house of liberal bullsh_t (D) mf’s.

          FUVT – if it weren’t for your skiing, we’d bulldoze you into the Hudson and choke off NY’s water supply.

        • Joe R. I don’t know what to say. At least once a month I share the range with many freedom loving people who hate some of what Vermont has become. But we still love our state and work to restore it to those values that made Vermont such a great place to grow up in half a century ago.

          If you want to help, tell all your liberal friends who’ve ruined where they’re from and want to move to Vermont because of the beautiful scenery and “rural atmosphere” to stay the fvck out.

    • 1. A not insignificant number of people DO support Communism.

      2. An even larger number of people support socialism.

      3. Imprisonment over a political stance is basically the end result of Communism. You just went Communist in your own post.

    • >> a person who would best be sent to prison for supporting socialism.

      Have you ever heard of the First Amendment?

  7. He strikes me as the kind of fella that walks into the shower and says, “Hey everyone, I dropped the soap.”

  8. Bernie ‘the socialist-collectivist’ Sanders and this puke-fuck letter writer are merely two more collectivist-idiots de-facto advocating for starting civil war.

    Pass all the ‘laws’ you want. I am utterly done debating, defending against or even discussing collectivist-controls and abrogations of fundamental rightful-liberty, relative to guns or otherwise.

    There isn’t a ‘law’ these domestic enemies can pass that I cannot and will not personally nullify, resist and disobey.

    I am done because they will NEVER cease in their efforts, on all fronts, and the fact is that compromise and/or discussion is simply playing their game with their rules and it is naught but a fools errand, destined to fail.

    F*ck you….I will not comply. That is all.

  9. Yet another screed about the “epidemic of gun violence” that isn’t an epidemic in any sense of the word.

  10. Bernie has only ever been Pro-Bernie and takes money from whoever is willing to give it. While he’s chastising the rich he has no problem taking money from Soros, Bloomberg, and Steyer. Bernie is and has always been for sale to the highest bidders.

  11. I agree with one thing from this letter: Bernie’s stance on guns is not good enough to gain my support.

    If he is serious about having a conversation about guns, then I hope he invites the author of that letter and brings a lot of simple charts with small words. Even Bernie-flavored Fudducation would be a massive improvement from the pig headed notion that getting rid of guns will get rid of violence. Or, for that matter, that banning guns would get rid of them.

  12. I used to live with those people in Amherst, MA, even went to school with them; thankfully I’ve since moved to firearms friendlier pastures.
    It was growing up behind enemy lines and keeping mum about your passion for firearms until you found another gun owner you could talk to. It was drooling at the stuff those of you in free states could buy, and buy for less than our cost-inflated pre-ban guns. Glocks were uncommon and overpriced, and we couldn’t order ammo or 30rd magazines online and take part in those glorious discounted online sales
    UMASS Amherst has a Firearms Club that does have range events; it is wonderful to see kids show up at those events; gives me hope to see interest in firearms in the Socialist People’s Republic of Amherst in Commiechusetts.

  13. Jeez, someone really thinks being verbose equates to intelligence.

    “…and more importantly, to stand with the families of the 88 Americans who are being killed every single day — in our cities, suburbs, and rural areas, in our schools, churches, and movie theaters… and just about any other setting you could possibly conceive of.”

    Yeah, mostly street corners and crack houses located in ghettos sustained by a self perpetuating culture of violence among this nations minorities.

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