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A sample letter for your rep

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Jan 11, 2009
This is a letter I sent to my rep recently. It's not perfect, but I know a lot of people are not sure exactly what to say and how to say it clearly. If anyone is looking for some ideas, I offer this up as something to start with.

Dear Representative {so and so},

I am writing in opposition to the changes in Massachusetts firearm laws proposed recently under Governor Patrick’s “Act To Strengthen and Enhance Firearm Laws in the Commonwealth.” This proposed law is flawed on a number of levels.

1. It will not do anything to reduce crime.
2. It blames and punishes lawful gun owners for the acts of criminals.
3. It is patently unconstitutional and infringes the Second Amendment rights of citizens of the Commonwealth. It will not stand up to the scrutiny of the courts.
4. This law creates a potentially expensive liability for the state by violation of the Fourth Amendment (illegal seizure).

It is imperative to understand that any additional firearms laws passed will only affect law-abiding citizens of our Commonwealth. Massachusetts already has some of the most strict firearms laws in the United States. Nevertheless, criminals do not abide by these laws, and there is no reason to believe that expanding them will change this fact. Criminals do not care what the law says about what they may possess, where they may go, or what they may do. By virtue of the fact that they are criminals, they are prepared to ignore the law to get and do what they want. Criminals are not interested in laws restricting the size of the magazines or the types of firearms they may purchase. Criminals do not buy guns at a sporting goods store. They obtain their firearms illegally; by theft, or through illegal channels.

Laws only affect those who are interested in being and remaining law-abiding citizens. We know that criminals will not follow the law. What then do we hope to accomplish by expanding the restrictions against those who are already law abiding? Is it the intent of the new laws to somehow make legal firearm owners more law abiding? If so, one should be aware that legally licensed firearm owners are, statistically, more law abiding than the overall population. Surely it is unlikely that even an incremental gain would be achieved by the proposed laws. In fact, it is far more likely that expanding the laws will make felons out of hundreds of thousands of law-abiding citizens who take no action. This being the case, I submit that it does not make sense to enact laws that will punish the law abiding, yet will not deflect criminals from their established course.

The laws being proposed would not have changed what has happened in the recent past, and will not change what might happen in the future. One cannot legislate against insanity, and one cannot stop criminals from being criminals by passing more strident laws. Doing so only punishes the law abiding.

Furthermore, it is highly unlikely that many parts of this proposed law will stand the scrutiny of the courts as a violation of the Second Amendment rights of citizens of the Commonwealth. For example, by targeting magazines of greater than 7 round capacity, the law specifically renders illegal a whole class of firearms comprising about 95% of the pistols in common use for self-defense. As was ruled in District of Columbia vs. Heller (2008), firearms in “common use” are protected under the second amendment. The passage of this law will undoubtedly create years of lawsuits for the state of Massachusetts to fight before it will inevitably be ruled unconstitutional.

Consider also that this is not just an issue of gun rights. Many gun owners have collections worth thousands or tens of thousands of dollars. By unilaterally declaring them illegal, this law effectively confiscates these guns by removing their value. This is a violation of the illegal seizure clause in the Fourth Amendment. This law creates a financial hardship for your constituents. Is the state willing to compensate hundreds of thousands of gun owners for the value of millions of firearms? The lawsuits will start flying.

Let’s face it, this proposed legislation is nothing more than an obvious attempt to disarm legal gun owners for no good reason. It doesn’t cure crime, it infringes the rights of lawful gun owners, and it will cause legal problems for the state. It’s just a bad idea. I urge you, therefore, to vote against it.

Kind Regards,
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