17014 Broadway ave.
Snohomish, WA 98296-8031
November 11, 2003
Senator Patty Murray, WA
Senator Maria Cantwell, WA
Representative Jay Inslee, WA
Representative F. James Sensenbrenner Jr., Chairman, House Judiciary Committee
Representative Howard Coble, Chaiman, House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security
Senator Orrin Hatch, Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee
Senator Lindsey O. Graham, Chairman, Senate Subcommittee on Crime, Corrections, and Victims’ Rights
FAX: (425) 259-7152, (206) 220-6404, (425) 776-7168
(202) 225-3190, (202) 225-8611, (202) 224-6331, (202) 224-3808
Senator Murray, Senator Cantwell, Representative Inslee, and the members of the Judiciary committees and subcommittees:
I am writing you this letter to express my increasing unease with what I, and many others, perceive to be a continuing and increasing attack on our rights and freedoms as recognized and guaranteed in the Constitution. I hope you will take the time to read through my letter and take my concerns into consideration in your decisions and actions.
The right and freedom of which I most specifically speak is the right to possess firearms, as recognized and guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the Constitution: “A well regulated Militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed.” This right and freedom has suffered incremental erosion over the last several decades, and continues to be subject to attacks both obvious and subtle. I am asking you all to work to put a stop to these attacks and erosions.
If I were writing about the right to speak freely, or to peaceably assemble, or to worship as I wished, I would not have to approach you on bended knee asking permission to exercise that which is rightfully mine. Why is the right to keep and bear arms considered a “second class” right, less worthy of respect and protection? The right to keep and bear arms proceeds directly and inexorably from the fundamental human rights recognized in the Declaration of Independence: the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
My right to life directly implies my right to defend my life against those who would take it away from me. How am I to effectively defend my life and the lives of my loved ones if I am denied the right to arm myself? I cannot rely upon others to do so for me; the police cannot always respond quickly when their assistance or protection is needed and, in fact, the courts have repeatedly ruled that the police do not have any obligation to protect individuals, only the public in general.
My right to liberty directly implies my right, indeed my duty, to defend that liberty against those who would take it from me. I am doing that here and now through this letter, but how am I to effectively defend my liberty against those who would take it from me by force if I am denied the right to arm myself in a manner which deters them? History is rich with examples of States that have disarmed their citizens in preparation for oppressing and even exterminating them; I do not succumb to the delusion that It Can't Happen Here.
And if I find happiness in possessing and shooting firearms, why should I be prevented from doing so if I do so in a manner that does no harm to others?
I believe there is a crisis of responsibility in this nation. We no longer seem to wish to take responsibility for our own actions and their consequences. We no longer seem to wish to take responsibility for our own health and safety. It is always somebody else's fault that something bad happens, and somebody else's job to make sure we are safe, secure and healthy. We seem to want someone else to make our decisions for us so that we won't have to think about difficult subjects, while simultaneously we seem to be enamoured of telling others what they may and may not do rather than letting them make their own decisions about what is best for themselves.
Our nation was founded upon individual liberty and personal responsibility. Our legal system is fundamentally based on these twin concepts. Our laws should not – indeed, must not – endeavor to make bad things impossible by banning things that may at some time under some circumstances cause harm to somebody. Apart from being an exercise in futility, attempting to do this is condescending to free adults, destroys the concept of personal responsibility, and leads us to the unbearable condition of living in a “Nanny State,” where we are no longer permitted to make our own choices freely because Somebody Else Knows Better What's Good For Us. Our laws should instead hold persons responsible for the effects of their actions upon others, and grant individuals the maximum liberty possible.
The basic question I have is: why should I, by law, be made to suffer for the actions – or simply the possible actions – of another? Because someone else may use a firearm in the commission of a crime, I am prohibited from owning one? This completely discards the principles of individual liberty and personal responsibility. This completely ignores the fact that prohibitions do not prevent crime, and never will. Because someone else is careless enough or stupid enough to harm themselves or others accidentally with a firearm (or, indeed, any tool), I am prohibited from owning one? This again completely discards the principles of individual liberty and personal responsibility.
I hope you will contemplate these views carefully as you consider pending legislation.
There are a number of bills presently before the House and Senate that use fearmongering and “daddy knows best” logic to either weaken or directly attack our rights and personal liberties. I strongly urge you to oppose passage of these bills:
H.R. 143 Assault Weapon Ban Enhancement Act of 2003
H.R. 2038 Assault Weapons Ban Reauthorization Act of 2003
S. 1034 Assault Weapons Ban Reauthorization Act of 2003
H.R. 899 Handgun Licensing Act of 2003
H.R. 124 Handgun Licensing and Registration Act of 2003
H.R. 900 Handgun Registration Act of 2003
S. 969 Homeland Security Gun Safety Act of 2003
There are also several bills before the House and Senate that seek to reaffirm our rights and liberties as guaranteed in the Constitution. I urge you to support these bills and do whatever possible to see that they are passed into law:
H.R. 648 Citizens' Self-Defense Act of 2003
H.R. 2789 Citizens' Self-Defense Act of 2003
H.R. 3193 District of Columbia Personal Protection Act
H.R. 357 Firearms Heritage Protection Act of 2003
H.R. 1036 Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act
S. 1805 Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act
S. 1806 Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act
H.R. 3125 Right to Keep and Bear Arms Act of 2003
H.R. 153 Second Amendment Protection Act of 2003
H.R. 193 Second Amendment Rights Protection Act of 2003
H.R. 990 Secure Access to Firearms Enhancement (SAFE) Act of 2003
H.R. 276 States' Rights and Second and Tenth Amendment Restoration Act of 2003
Thank you for your time and consideration.