I mailed this off to Vice President Biden today and will also be sending a version to newspapers.
December 21, 2012
Dear Mr. Vice President
Today, we heard from the NRA’s leadership and by extension its supporters that more guns are the answer to the tragedy of too many guns. We heard that the only way to remain safe anywhere is to be armed everywhere. This is utter nonsense and should be immediately shouted down as the nihilistic garbage it is. This hideous and morally bankrupt philosophy can have no place in the discussion. There are 305 million Americans who do not belong to the NRA. It’s time to listen to us.
I am calling on you and President Obama to take a forceful and principled stand against this wrong-headed and ultimately destructive call to more arms.
I urge the President to immediately make his campaign fund raising apparatus and email database available to antigun groups like the Brady Campaign to jumpstart the fundraising and awareness necessary to counter these ideologues of death and destruction.
I urge you to work with Mayor Bloomberg to mobilize like-minded politicians who are unafraid to stand up to the NRA and it’s fellow travelers by cultivating, supporting, and campaigning for anti-gun candidates in every Congressional district represented by a member who opposes or votes against substantive gun control legislation. These candidates should be in position to run in the next general election.
I demand you press for legislation that closes the gun show loophole completely, once and for all.
I demand that ammunition designed to inflict massive tissue damage or pierce armor be completely banned except for the military and police.
I demand that the sale and possession of all ammunition be regulated at least as stringently as Sudafed and other drugs, including strict monthly and annual purchase limits. Individuals found in possession of more than their allotment should be fined and jailed just like drug dealers.
I demand you lead a call to ban and confiscate any weapon capable of holding more than 6 rounds of ammunition, being reloaded by a pre-loaded ammunition clip or otherwise capable of firing more than 6 rounds without pause for manually reloading each bullet or shell. Hunters and sportsmen can still own rifles and shotguns that meet these criteria. Handguns that hold 6 or fewer bullets would also be permissible.
I have read the Constitution and nowhere do I find the words ‘stand your ground’, a complete perversion of the ‘duty to retreat’ common-law principle understood at the time the Constitution was ratified, or the concept of ‘concealed carry’. We must repeal laws that allow these dangerous and unnecessary practices.
The toothless and pointless assault weapons ban of 1994 should be thrown out as a model and replaced by a real ban on assault weapons. There is no need for a catalogue of exceptions or 20-page definition of “assault weapon”. If it isn’t suitable for hunting (i.e., single action rifles and shotguns) or does not meet a minimal standard for self-defense purposes (small caliber manually loaded hand guns or pistols), then it should be banned and removed from circulation. There must be no ‘grandfathering’ the possession of these weapons.
I urge you to direct the Justice Department to prepare a brief detailing how gun manufacturers might be subjected to the same legal approach used against tobacco companies. If we can sue GM and Ford for cars with exploding gas tanks, ban lawn darts, and restrict over-the-counter medication deemed to have potential criminal uses (e.g., Sudafed), surely weapons designed for no other purpose than mass killing can be sued out of existence as well.
I urge you not to be diverted or bogged down by the efforts to enlarge the scope of problem to the point it becomes intractable and unsolvable:
- A lack of religion in schools is not the problem.
- A lack of men in schools is not the problem.
- Mental illness is not the problem.
- Video games are not the problem.
- Quentin Tarantino is not the problem.
- More guns are not the answer.
The unfettered and ineffectively regulated access to guns is the problem, plain and simple.
While I support a complete repeal of the 2nd Amendment as anachronistic and completely unnecessary given the existence of the United States Military, I am not so unrealistic as to believe that is likely. I do believe that the examples of Australia and especially the UK following the 1996 Dunblaine massacre offer instructive examples of what is possible – not politically expedient – but possible when dealing with changing a society’s view of guns. Israel, Canada, Switzerland, and Sweden also provide excellent examples of viable gun control regimes. Any of these are infinitely preferable to the mayhem and carnage we tolerate as the price of our freedom. I for one feel less free every time Wayne Lapierre opens his mouth. The right of some to possess guns should never supersede the right of children to safely attend kindergarten without an armed guard at the door.
These 20 children and 6 courageous adults of Newtown must not be allowed to die in vain. Their legacy must be that they were the last to be ignored in this endlessly escalating cycle of violence and death. They must be our guide in every decision from here on. This time, we are looking to you and the president for true leadership in defeating the politics of the past. You must lead a true transformation of our politics and our culture so that eventually we can all feel safe in our homes and public venues without resorting to arming every citizen. The continued appeasement of the small minority of gun-crazed lunatics who will accept no restrictions on their precious weapons must end, and it must end now.
I stand ready to assist you in any way I can.
Michael P. Marino