Join Date: November 15, 2007
Location: Outside KC, MO
Response from Senator Claire McCaskill, and my counter response
I am not sure if this reply was to my direct email to the Senator's office, or to my linked signature from Ruger website petition, but here is what she had to say:
January 24, 2013
Dear Mr Leake,
Thank you for contacting me regarding the recent shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, as well as gun control policy and gun safety. I appreciate hearing from you and welcome the opportunity to respond.
On Friday, December 14, 2012, a gunman entered Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, and began shooting teachers and students before taking his own life. This horrific tragedy took the lives of 27 people, including 20 children seven years of age and younger. As a mother, I'm horrified and stunned by the senseless violence against innocent children and teachers.
This tragedy has led to renewed and important discussions about gun control, which is often a divisive topic in our nation. The loss of so many beautiful children in a mass shooting that involved an assault rifle with ammunition clips that held large numbers of bullets makes clear that we need to revisit the assault weapons ban that expired in 2004 and review permissible magazine ammunition sizes. I am also supportive of closing the gun show loophole and making sure that those with court-determined, dangerous mental health diagnoses do not get access to guns. Finally, it is equally clear that we must reconsider the mental health services available to our citizens, knowing that each mass shooting our nation has experienced involved individuals with substantial mental health problems. "Obamacare" will expand important mental health coverage when it is implemented in 2014. Protecting our children and our citizens will require us to come together to find real solutions that cover a broad range of factors that have contributed to these horrific incidents.
I firmly believe that an attempt to promote appropriate gun safety measures can be done without infringing upon law-abiding citizens' right to own firearms or unduly burdening the hunting and sportsmanship culture of Missouri. I believe the horror of the Newtown shootings makes clear that we must get to work protecting our communities and our children from mass slaughter, while also protecting our Second Amendment rights. I am hopeful that the National Rifle Association, a significant voice in this discussion, will be a constructive part of this dialogue.
Even as I welcome this renewed debate, please know that I will continue to protect the Second Amendment Rights of law-abiding citizens to safely own and use appropriate firearms. In the past, I have voted to permit residents of the District of Columbia to own and purchase firearms. I also supported an amendment to a spending bill that would prevent funding for any international organization, including the United Nations, that places a tax on any firearm owned by a United States citizen. I have opposed other inappropriate measures, such as forcing Missouri to accept other states' firearms laws.
As your United States Senator, I will keep your thoughts in mind anytime Congress considers gun-related legislation. In the wake of the Newtown tragedy, my prayers are with the students and staff at Sandy Hook Elementary, and with their families. All Americans are outraged at senseless and criminal gun violence no matter where they may fall in the debate on guns in American society. A renewed national conversation has begun and we must all be a constructive and open-minded part of it. There is middle ground here, where this nation can come together with sensible laws that prevent the mass murder of innocent citizens, while we continue to respect our Constitution and its Second Amendment rights.
Again, thank you for contacting me. Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future if I can be of further assistance to you on this or any other issue.
United States Senator
P.S. If you would like more information about resources that can help Missourians, or what I am doing in the Senate on your behalf, please sign up for my email newsletter at http://mccaskill.senate.gov.
This actually seemed like something more focused than the boilerplate one often gets from one's officials, so I will give credit to the Senator and her staff for that.
Here is my response. Sorry, it's kind of long, but...
Thank your for your reply. I do have some issues with your positions. I will address those in the order which you used in your reply:
First, unless you propose to limit the number of magazines a citizen may own, limiting the number of rounds in a magazine does not do much to protect against a determined, reasonably skilled shooter. Vice President Biden's nonsensical comments in his google forum notwithstanding, it does not take about a minute to reload. It takes about three seconds for a reasonably skilled shooter to dump one magazine, and load the next. Furthermore, given the millions of 20 and 30 round magazines in circulation, the only people you would affect by such legislation would be those who would voluntarily follow your restrictions - and those are not the people who should cause you concern.
Second, there is no such thing as a "gun show loophole." Some states allow private sales to be conducted without going through an FFL. This was the norm, nationwide, until 1968. It is how Missouri, the state you represent, operates. A private sale at a gun show is a private sale. If an FFL conducts a sale at a gun show, he is still bound by FFL rules, and must have the buyer fill out a form 4473 and pass an NICS check. There is no loophole; this is just a meme that gun control advocates and the media have pushed for years, and that many members of the public who have attention spans no longer than a sound bite have blindly accepted. Universal Background Checks, by any other name, are merely a means for the federal government to further encroach on the purview of state and local governments, and are a goal for those gun control advocates who ultimately want a national firearm registry, and subsequent confiscation attempts.
Supporting that statement, here is a quote from Senator Feinstein, on CBS' 60 Minutes in 1995 :
"If I could've gotten 51 votes in the Senate of the United States for an outright ban, picking up every one of them -- Mr. and Mrs. America turn 'em all in -- I would have done it. I could not do that. The votes weren't here."
So, you can see where we Second Amendment supporters might be suspicious of ulterior motives. As far as the Sandy Hook incident, I believe it was Rahm Emmanuel who said, "Never let a good crisis go to waste." (It is also Rahm Emmanuel who is trying to pressure banks into canceling loans and lines of credit with firearms manufacturers.)
Third, I am supportive of both better mental health care, and of better reporting standards. I am not in favor of granting any law enforcement or regulatory agency extrajudicial powers for determining who meets or fails some mental standard. Laws are in place; the courts are in place; the system needs to actually use them.
Now, you did not address this point, but Larry Correia did in a very good article about the subject of spree shooters: Aside from the incident where Representative Gabrielle Giffords was shot, and several people died, all other "spree shooting" incidents in the last 50 years occurred in either Federal Gun Free Zones, or in private property that was posted "No Guns." Those people who want to live or day in notoriety seem to choose places where they are likely to be able to kill a lot of people before anybody can do anything effective to stop them. Effective stopping techniques typically do not involve the throwing of iPads, erasers, or chairs - those are stop-gap improvisations that are all that most students and teachers have at their disposal. The federal government, in my opinion, has done nothing but create killing zones for psychopaths in creating so-called Gun Free zones.
You also did not address the failure of the federal and state legal systems to effectively use existing laws to keep violent recidivists off the street. In Atlanta, just a few weeks back, a police officer was shot to death by a felon who was on his second parole, and second early release, from incarcerations for - wait for it - possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
In theory, under federal and Georgia law, that felon should have been in prison for ten years to life, not for six months.
Unfortunately, the majority of people in prison these days are there for possession of narcotics. Maybe you should look at legislation to get rid of mandatory sentencing for drug users, and free up space for violent repeat offenders? Maybe you could look at getting your colleagues to examine why enforcement of penalties against both violent repeat offenders and against straw purchasers (those who break the law by knowingly buying guns for prohibited persons) is spotty at best?
All the laws that have been proposed by the President, the Vice President, Reid, McCarthy, Schumer, Cuomo, et all will do is create problems for law abiding citizens. In Cuomo's case, his law - if unchecked by the courts - is likely to create thousands of felons a year after it goes into effect.
The last thought I would leave you with, as one pilot to another, is that many in federal (and some state) government are screaming that "We have to do something!" I would put it to you that if an engine fails, and the puts the wrong lever into fuel cutoff, or worse yet pushes the wrong rudder, that is much worse than if the pilot sits back for a few moments to actually analyze his situation.
Sometimes an immediate action can only make things worse.
I am curious to see what response this may get.
Edit: Aaaargh.... proofread, proofread, proofread.... I meant "live or die," not "live or day." For those of you who write your reps, please proofread better than I did. Similarly, it should have been "and the pilot pushes" in the paragraph about engine failure.
I must have bumped a hotkey that deleted as I was typing....
Second Edit: I would have caught this in a printed form. Snail mail does have some advantages over email....
Last edited by MLeake; January 25, 2013 at 12:48 PM.