Join Date: August 17, 2007
I am writing to express my deep concern with the disregard for Second Amendment rights that I have witnessed in many of our leaders. It seems that some in leadership positions don't understand the amendment, its purpose, history, breadth, or even how it actually functions to equalize the ability of citizen to resist violence.
While regulating the possession and use of firearms, to a point, is clearly within constitutional bounds, that regulation CANNOT extend to banning an entire class of weapons that are widely used for a plethora of lawful purposes, that are in common use, and that are the overwhelmingly most popular choice of the American people.
Many courts, including the US Supreme Court, have recognized that among the several important purposes of the 2nd amendment , are self-defense both in AND OUTSIDE the home, hunting, target shooting, and as an important safeguard against any future tyrannical government.
Long-standing prohibitions on felons, mentally ill, etc were correctly re-affirmed by the court.
The Supreme Court has opined in Heller vs DC (2008), and Chicago vs McDonald (2010) that the type of weapons that are protected by the constitution are, quite simply, "Those weapons that are in common use at the time". In another passage, the court found that "anything that constitutes a bearable arm" is protected under the Second Amendment.
There is no more popular rifle today than the semi-auto only, AR15 pattern rifle. Nor, ironically (despite recent mass shootings), no weapon used LESS in violent crime. In fact, according to the FBI uniform crime report, rifles of ALL TYPES are used in fewer than 600 of the 20,000 annual gun deaths.
The abject horror of mass murders understandably causes us to feels that something should be done. This is an admirable, natural, compassionate, human response.
Yet such rifles, and other rifles which share their performance characteristics, are ideal for defense, have saved thousands of lives as any police department will attest. There is good reason why nearly every modern police department have AR215 rifles with twenty or thirty-round magazines. They are the most effective tool to stop a violent attack.
The ammunition fired by these civilian, semi-automatic rifles, the 5.56/.223 caliber, is of a type which is far less likely, even than most handgun rounds, to over-penetrate building material, or multiple persons, thereby unnecessarily endangering innocent bystanders.
It may well be that the average citizen is far less likely to encounter armed criminals than the police. But once a citizen is confronted by criminals, they are the SAME criminal, JUST as dangerous, and the tools needed to defend from such an attack are the SAME. Indeed, the citizen will likely be on her own until police arrive, so the need to be adequately armed is even greater.
Ammunition magazine limits may SEEM like a reasonable step in curbing gun deaths, but the reality is that standard capacity magazines, such as 15 round pistols magazines, and 20 or 30- round rifle magazines are STANDARD, UBIQUITOUS, and will be EXACTLY the kind of firepower that citizens must defend against, should they encounter a criminal.
All too common in criminal attacks, multiple assailants compound the need for police and citizens to have sufficient ammunition to defend innocent life. This cannot be stressed enough. Even police regularly expend entire ammunition magazines to stop an single violent attack. Citizens do not typically have the same advantages of training, protective gear, the ability to call backup, or multiple force options. A citizen cannot reasonably be expected to defend their family against home invasion with multiple intruders using a ten round ammunition magazine.
For all of its various purposes, the very FUNCTION of the second amendment is to equalize the force used by citizens to defend against unjust violence, whatever the source. The government cannot restrict the magazine capacity of LAW ABIDING citizens without directly eviscerating the amendment for its core purpose of equalizing force. This is an important and fundamental fact based on the simple physics of use of force.
I thank you for your service and for carefully considering my comments.