Distinguished members of Congress,
Some of your colleagues have responded to the Newtown, CT tragedy with a promise of new legislation to ban standard magazine capacities and modern semi-automatic rifles, erroneously referred to as assault rifles.
I respectfully submit that if cooler heads prevailed one could refer to a hammer as an assault hammer or a baseball bat as an assault bat.
There are a number of reasons why I think you should oppose any legislation of the sort.
1. In 2011 the FBI recorded 8,583 gun related homicides; this is down 15% from 2007. Furthermore, 6,220 of those homicides were committed using a hand gun and 323 were committed using a rifle. So the data does not support the approach to addressing the problem.
2. I call your attention to the FBI’s 2011 National Gang Threat Assessment – Emerging Trends. By familiarizing yourselves with that report, you’ll understand that 60% of all violence in this country is gang related and gang related business activities like street level drug distribution. Of that 60%, ninety-four percent is committed using firearms. The report also addresses the methods in which these gangs acquire firearms. Ladies and gentlemen, they are far more creative and bold than I could have imagined. If in fact your intent is to address gun violence, then you must address the gang issue, which is the source of the vast majority of it. The proposed gun related legislation will only impact the law abiding citizen.
3. Finally, there are approximately 500 businesses that derive 50%, or more, of their revenues from designing, manufacturing, customizing and selling modern semi-automatic rifles. Legislation currently being proposed by some of your colleagues will ensure that 500 companies close their doors. The impact will be felt all along the supply chain as well. All this at a time when our economy needs all of the jobs it can create.
4. The 500 companies referenced in line item 3 are overwhelmingly owned and operated by veterans, or qualified disable veteran owned businesses. They happen to be companies that must take on the additional operating costs of the Affordable Health Care Act and the proposed increases of marginal tax brackets on incomes greater than $250,000.
Ladies and Gentlemen, as a country we need to take a deep breath and a step back. I urge you not to support any legislation that infringes on the Second Amendment, or law abiding citizens. I’ll close with a favorite quotation from John K. Galbraith: “If all else fails, immortality can always be assured by spectacular error.”
I wish you all the very best in the coming New Year!