Ren's Ramblings & Writings

Contemplations on things tangible and intangible

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

letter to Rep.Lois Landgraf re: Town Hall to discuss 2nd Amendment

 see below the flier that has been circulated to soldiers on Fort Carson (talk about trying to cater to ONLY one group of constituents)

Rep. Landgraf:
I am a gun owner and want to give you some things to think about before you provoke more hysteria and fear-mongering among your constituents, under the guise of “discussing” 2nd Amendment rights.  I am also one of your employers (constituents).  As such, I am extremely disappointed in you that you would promote more ignorance and blind extremism, rather than reasonably and objectively evaluate each aspect of this issue.  Right now, gun owners have an opportunity to be part of the solution and help write sensible laws.  With great freedom comes GREAT RESPONSIBILITY. Rather than create more hysteria, you, as a representative, have an opportunity AND responsibility to carefully and objectively evaluate all associated issues and to help your constituents understand them.
First, I am a gun owner and my husband thinks that I need to get a concealed carry permit because of the “fallout” I receive for speaking out FOR sensible gun legislation.  This merely proves the point that gun regulation IS CRITICAL because I GET TO SAY WHAT I HAVE TO SAY (see the 1st Amendment) without having to worry about other irrational, extremist gun owners who BELIEVE their 2nd Amendment right includes the right to harass me or threaten politicians.  Your 2nd Amendment rights DO NOT supersede MY 1st Amendment rights.  Your 2nd Amendment rights do NOT give you, or anyone else, the right to threaten anyone else; hence, the need for regulation, because I HAVE A RIGHT TO LIVE MY LIFE WITHOUT FEAR or worry. 
I am a gun owner and am extremely embarrassed by the obscene narrow-mindedness and lack of compromise exhibited by many gun owners, and, as a gun owner myself, do not want to be associated with that insanity.  Personally, I am concerned about any citizen with these blind, extreme views.
Let me educate you on a few things:
The current bills address assault weapons, background checks, domestic violence, magazine sizes, etc.  Not one of these jeopardizes ANYONE’S 2nd Amendment rights, and, let’s put the facts on the table: there are still thousands of guns and accessories that people can buy.  In addition, NOT ONE PIECE OF CURRENT LEGISLATION addresses the FACT that more people die to hand guns every day than to anything else: Jared Lee Loughner shot Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and 18 others WITH A GLOCK 9MM HANDGUN.  People die daily to hand guns, but no one has entered this into any discussion on bills.  I disagree with laws that prohibit concealed carry on college campuses, but we must evaluate and reflect on the current state of society.  
Second Amendment rights DO NOT SUPERSEDE anyone else’s CONSTITUTIONAL right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has stated that there are "undoubtedly" limits to a person's right to bear arms under the Second Amendment,” and this conservative Supreme Court justice authored the Supreme Court's 2008 opinion in District of Columbia v. Heller, which ruled that the Second Amendment protects a person's right to bear arms and struck down a D.C. ban on handguns, but also ruled, that "the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited."
District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008)
(1) The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home. (this does not include give ANYONE the right to threaten anyone else’s life, be it a politician who is working on gun legislation, or a private citizen who is invoking his or her 1st Amendment right to speak about the issue).
(2) Like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose: For example, concealed weapons prohibitions have been upheld under the Amendment or state analogues. The Court’s opinion should not be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms. Miller’s holding that the sorts of weapons protected are those “in common use at the time” finds support in the historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of dangerous and unusual weapons.

On May 15, 1939 the Supreme Court wrote in United States V. Miller:
"In the absence of any evidence tending to show that possession or use of a 'shotgun having a barrel of less than eighteen inches in length' at this time has some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia, we cannot say that the Second Amendment guarantees the right to keep and bear such an instrument."
Further explanation:
“Describing the constitutional authority under which Congress could call forth state militia, the Court stated, "With obvious purpose to assure the continuation and render possible the effectiveness of such forces the declaration and guarantee of the Second Amendment were made. It must be interpreted and applied with that end in view."”
“The Court also looked to historical sources to explain the meaning of "militia" as set down by the authors of the Constitution:”
"The significance attributed to the term Militia appears from the debates in the Convention, the history and legislation of Colonies and States, and the writings of approved commentators. These show plainly enough that the Militia comprised all males physically capable of acting in concert for the common defense. 'A body of citizens enrolled for military discipline.' And further, that ordinarily when called for service these men were expected to appear bearing arms supplied by themselves and of the kind in common use at the time."

US Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit ruling regarding Warner, who was caught in Utah with a machine gun and convicted on possession of a machine gun. Warner appealed on the basis the Utah constitution allows its citizens to bear arms, and therefore he is exempt based on 922(o)(2)(A), "under authority of the State." However, the court overruled this, citing the Farmer case saying machine guns were not meant to be in private hands, and although the Utah law gives permission to own automatic firearms, it did not grant him authority.
The 1994 “assault weapons” ban was a direct result of the shooting of President Reagan and Press Secretary Jim Brady (and two others).  After being disabled, Brady and his wife became active lobbyists, and the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act was passed in 1993 as a result of their work.  The 1994 assault weapons ban was not a stand-alone bill. It was part of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, an anti-crime measure, and voters largely accepted the basis for a ban on the production of assault weapons, according to news reports at that time.  Furthermore, President Reagan, who was an NRA member, supported the 1994 bill: here’s the link to his editorial explaining his position at that time.  He made these statements in 1989 after Patrick Purdy fired more than 100 rounds from a version of an AK-47, killing five children and wounding 30 others at a school:
“I do not believe in taking away the right of the citizen for sporting, for hunting and so forth, or for home defense. But I do believe that an AK-47, a machine gun, is not a sporting weapon or needed for defense of a home.”

“Certain forms of ammunition have no legitimate sporting, recreational, or self-defense use and thus should be prohibited.”

“With the right to bear arms comes a great responsibility to use caution and common sense on handgun purchases.”

“Every year, an average of 9,200 Americans are murdered by handguns, according to Department of Justice statistics. This does not include suicides or the tens of thousands of robberies, rapes and assaults committed with handguns. This level of violence must be stopped.”
Retired General Colin Powell stated this:
“The American people want to see something done, and it is not a threat to the Second Amendment.”
“A message I’d like to see get out is: ‘we’re not taking away your Second Amendment rights,’” Powell said. ”I believe in the Second Amendment, I have guns in my home, I am prepared to protect my family, but I’m prepared to do whatever is necessary to make sure that everyone buying guns is checked—what is objectionable about that?”
“Extremists who think they need to protect themselves from the government need to be countered by diplomatic calls for gun control, the panel agreed.” (emphasis mine).
“The Second Amendment was written to protect the people from the government, but the reality is the government isn’t coming after you and the Second Amendment is intact. You can own guns legally,” (emphasis mine). “But the American people have been devastated by what’s happened at Newtown and elsewhere.”
Retired General Wesley Clark stated this in 2003:
“I have got 20 some odd guns in the house. I like to hunt. I have grown up with guns all my life, but people who like assault weapons should join the United States Army, we have them."
Retired Gen. Stanley McChrystal stated this recently:
”I spent a career carrying typically either a M16 and later, a M4 carbine,” McChrystal said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “And a M4 carbine fires a .223 caliber round, which is 5.56 millimeters, at about 3,000 feet per second. When it hits a human body, the effects are devastating. It’s designed to do that. That’s what our soldiers ought to carry.”
“I personally don’t think there’s any need for that kind of weaponry on the streets and particularly around the schools in America. I believe that we’ve got to take a serious look — I understand everybody’s desire to have whatever they want — we have to protect our children and our police and we have to protect our population. And I think we have to take a very mature look at that.”
We are not the safest nation on earth-in fact, we fall way below many countries
True “gun grabbers” are few; it is not even possible to “get all the guns.”  Reinstatement of the 1994 assault weapons ban, along with other bills to improve background checks and limit ammunition purchases and magazine sizes does not infringe on anyone’s 2nd Amendment rights.  The politician, the domestic violence victim, and the vocal private citizen each have a CONSTITUTIONAL right to LIFE, LIBERTY AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS.

As stated on the Independent Firearm Owners Association’s (IFOA) website (
The Second Amendment, regardless of the era – during the days of Madison and Jefferson or today – is about two words: “freedom” and “responsibility.” It never was about hunting or types of firearms.  In fact, it’s not really about firearms.
We CAN preserve the 2nd Amendment AND keep people safe, if we are smart, responsible, objective, and reasonable.  It is YOUR JOB to be smart, responsible, objective and reasonable.

Rev. Renee L. Ten Eyck

Here's part of Landgraf's response on Facebook. It appears that money has more value than lives:

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