Until I'm blue in the face…

March 19th, 2009

The following letter was sent to Attorney General Holder in response to his comments about a renewed Assault Weapons Ban. It was not sent by a gun-rights group. It was not sent by the NRA.

Nope; it was sent by 65 Democratic Congressmen. Read on.

Sanford Bishop, Jim Marshall and John Barrow of Georgia signed on to it. I urge anyone reading this to peruse the original and check the list of signees. If your legislator is on that list, please contact them. Thank them for having the common sense and courage to buck part of their party's status quo. Thank them for acknowledging our civil rights, and for standing up for those rights. These people deserve the same support we'd give to any Republican holding the same seat.

In fact, some of these folks are showing more backbone on the issue than many Republicans.

I've highlighted the bits that show a refreshing amount of common sense on the part of the authors. I'd also like to point out that I've harping on this already, and I'd like everyone to take a deep breath before they fly off the handle and cry wolf at every rumor they hear on the internet.

Dear Attorney General Holder:

As strong supporters of the Second Amendment, we were very concerned to see your recent remarks suggesting that the administration will push for the reinstatement of the 1994 ban on "assault weapons" and ammunition magazines.

We believe that this ban was ineffective during the 10 years it was law, and would oppose its reenactment. Crime began falling before the ban was passed in 1994, and continued falling during and after the ban. The last time the murder rate was at its current level was more than forty years ago.

Even the Urban Institute study of the ban's effectiveness mandated by the 103rd Congress found that it could only have a limited effect because "the banned weapons and magazines were never used in more than a modest fraction of all gun murders."

It is hard to believe the ban would be any more effective in controlling crime by well-funded international drug traffickers, who regularly use grenade launchers, anti-tank rockets and other weapons that are not available on the civilian market in the United States.

The gun control community has intentionally misled many Americans into believing that these weapons are fully automatic machine guns. They are not. These firearms fire one shot for every pull of the trigger. Some of the guns that would be banned under proposed bills have been around for more than 70 years, and are often passed down from generation to generation.

Many of our constituents lawfully own and use these firearms and ammunition magazines that would be affected by a new ban. Indeed, these are commonly owned firearms throughout the country. Law-abiding Americans use these guns for the all the same reasons they use any other kind of gun–competitive shooting, hunting, and defending their homes and families.

Our constituents also have very real and serious problems that we in Congress urgently need to address. People are worried about keeping their jobs, paying for their families' health care, educating their children, and retiring with the kind of security their parents and grandparents enjoyed. A long and divisive fight over a gun control issue will only distract us from giving these more important issues the attention they deserve.

Again, we would actively oppose any effort to reinstate the 1994 ban, or to pass any similar law. We urge you to abandon this initiative and to focus instead on effective law enforcement stategies to enforce our current laws against violent criminals and drug traffickers.

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