17014 Broadway ave.
Snohomish, WA 98296-8031
(360) 668-5342
May 30, 2004

Senator Patty Murray
Senator Maria Cantwell
Representative Jay Inslee

Senator Murray, Senator Cantwell, Representative Inslee:

I would like to take the opportunity of Memorial Day to write you this letter regarding one of our fundamental rights and hard-won freedoms: the right to keep and bear arms. Over the past few decades the right to keep and bear arms has been under constant attack, the most visible instance being the 1994 “Assault Weapons” ban.

The Assault Weapons Ban was bad legislation; it attempted to achieve an attractive goal through pointless prohibitions and was promoted by fearmongering and deceptive claims. True assault weapons, which are capable of fully-automatic fire, were already strictly regulated. Banning cosmetic features such as bayonet lugs will not reduce violent crime, and banning weapons will not keep weapons out of the hands of violent criminals. The people backing the ban knew this, yet played on peoples' fears to gain support for it. Do not vote to renew or expand this bad law.

The Assault Weapons Ban has been ineffective in its ostensible goal of preventing violent crimes. To begin with, only a tiny fraction – at most one-half percent – of violent crimes involved the sort of weapons the AWB prohibits. Numerous studies since the ban went into effect, including multiple studies by the Justice Department, have shown that the ban has had no measurable effect on violent crime rates. The experiment has failed. Do not vote to renew or expand this ineffective law.

The Assault Weapons Ban is also ineffective in reducing or preventing violent crime because criminals do not care whether the law bans something – if they want it, they will obtain it illegally. Only law-abiding citizens are affected by this ban. The ban is only effective in its true, unpublicized goal – as a “good first step” towards total disarmament of law-abiding citizens, as a way to get people to accept in small bites what they would choke on if forced to swallow whole. Remember Sen. Feinstein's comment: “Mr. and Mrs. America, turn them all in!” The ban is not “reasonable.” The ban is not “fair.” Do not vote to renew or expand this cynical law.

Finally, the Assault Weapons Ban is plainly in violation of the Constitution's Second Amendment limit on the powers of Congress: “...the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” The Supreme Court has consistently held that the Second Amendment is an individual right, that “the people” means the same thing there as it does everywhere else in the Constitution. How the AWB does not infringe this right is beyond logic. And if the Second Amendment is indeed about “militia” firearms and not all firearms, then the “Assault Weapons” that are banned are precisely the sort of weapons a militia would be expected to possess to be effective in their duty. Do not vote to renew or expand this unconstitutional law.

I demand that as my representative and as someone sworn to uphold and defend the Constitution, you oppose any attempt to renew or expand the Assault Weapons ban, whether as an independent bill or as an amendment to any other bill, and oppose any attempt to institute a similar or even more restrictive ban.

I have never been a single-issue voter, but this issue is rapidly becoming a litmus test I will use in the future. If you do not act to defend my rights, my freedoms, and my Constitution, I will vote for someone who will.

Yours sincerely,

(signed) John Hardin