I wrote my first letter to a politician over the last few days and sent them off in the mail today. The text of the letter is below. I sent it to all three members of my Congressional Delegation, all three members of my Idaho State Legislature and the Governor of Idaho. I’m really not much of an activist, but the consequences of what is brewing at the national level really has set off an alarm with me and I felt I need to let my representatives know what I think. I adjusted the wording to fit with the particular recipient so what you see below was written to Senator Crapo. I added some hyperlinks to this post for your reference.
I strongly recommend everyone out there who is concerned about Congress and your local Legislature taking away your individual and natural right at self-defense from you, drop a letter in the mail to your local representative immediately. There is a lot of unreasonable voices in the media and the country using terms such as “weapons of mass destruction” and “assault weapons” to scare the populace into falling in line with them. The uninformed need to be educated to the reality of homicides and gun ownership in the United States. Go to the FBI Uniform Crime Reports and educate yourself. So when you’re out and about and an uneducated person begins a discussion about gun ownership and gun control take a few minutes to educate them.
As an independent voter, a taxpayer, a police officer and a concerned U.S. citizen, I want to share my concerns regarding gun control. I recognize that there is a tremendous call for some kind of action in response to the tragic killings in Newtown Connecticut this past December.
I am a firm believer that additional regulations on the sale, possession, transfer, manufacture or use of firearms and accessories are not an effective means to curb violence. As this tragic incident demonstrated, gun laws (such as the “Gun‑Free School Zones Act“) do not discourage or prevent determined criminals. As powerful as Congress and the Office of The President may be, neither yourself nor the collective legislative body of the United States can legislate evil from this country. Additional restrictions will do little to prevent future criminal activities or similar killings, while doing an injustice to innocent law‑abiding citizens who simply wish to exercise their natural and constitutional rights to self-defense and to keep and bear arms. I am a firm believer in the rights enshrined in the 2nd Amendment to our Constitution.
As a police officer, our department trains routinely on “active shooter” scenarios for shopping malls, public schools, college campuses and other businesses. As many shootings in the recent months show, “gun free zones” do not deter deranged killers from achieving their goals. The shooting at a Texas theater was stopped by an off duty police officer carrying a concealed weapon. The Trolley Mall shooting in 2007 in Salt Lake City Utah was stopped by two off duty police officers who pinned the suspect down until a tactical response from law enforcement was able to arrive and shoot the killer. Many other incidents do not make national news where armed citizens stopped shootings or defended themselves against an attack. Likewise, mass killings such as the Columbine Colorado shooting was not stopped or deterred by the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban.
From my perspective as a police officer, two recent shootings stand out to me. A man who was a prohibited possessor of firearms and served 17 years for manslaughter did the killing of two firefighters and his sister in Webster New York a few days after the shooting in Newtown. His 17 year sentence for manslaughter was a plea bargain for the murder of his grandmother. A second shooting recently occurred in Bellevue Washington when a 19 year old man who was involved in the killing of a transient in 2009 when he was 16-years old opened fire in a bar killing one person. Again, a prohibited possessor carrying a concealed weapon in a gun free zone killed a citizen. These stories reflect the problems our criminal justice system has in releasing violent felons into our society and the contributions the system makes towards these killings. If the criminal justice system is going to continue with these policies, then we as law-abiding citizens should not have the natural right of defending ourselves with a gun taken away from us by the government.
I humbly propose that any political action taken in response to the Newtown shootings be focused on additional security to schools, problems in our criminal justice system, the influence video gaming has on adolescents, the influence our news media has on individuals, the role the abuse of pharmaceuticals and illicit drugs play and research for improved understanding of the dangers posed by mental health conditions present in our society. I believe any political solution to gun violence should include consideration of allowing state concealed carry laws to preempt federal gun‑free school laws.
As your constituent, I thank you for your time and consideration of this matter. Again, I strongly urge you to act against any proposed increased regulation or restrictions on individual and natural rights granted by 2nd Amendment.
I signed the letter here and included my home address.