These petitions are worse than useless. They're useless because nobody of influence actually reads them, and they're worse because they make people believe they're actually engaging in some sort of meaningful civic involvement.
You know who reads these? Sandy. She's a grad student at Georgetown who has to sift through these things, and she wonders every day why she's slumming it for free when she could have taken that job at the coffee shop for $9.00/hr. Once in awhile, she'll find a petition that might be of interest, and it gets passed on to some focus group who files it away.
24,000 signatures? Heck, I could start a petition to cover the White House lawn in bacon and get that many in a week.
As it is, I don't want the FOPA getting overturned. Not because I dislike machine guns, but because there's a lot of stuff we need attached to it. If we're to get the Hughes Amendment reversed, it's going to take time and effort, and we're going to have to change a lot of hearts and minds.
A poorly-written online broadside isn't going to make that happen. The administration won't hear it, and this Congress isn't interested.
Now, bacon? That's a possibility.
Sometimes it’s nice not to destroy the world for a change.