12 A Letter to Senator Diane Feinstein (D, California) Regarding S.A. 2910 (No guns for those on the No Fly List)
I am writing regarding SA 2910 "To increase public safety by permitting the Attorney General to deny the transfer of firearms or the issuance of firearms and explosives licenses to known or suspected dangerous terrorists."
I realize that many of your constituency are terribly afraid of gun violence and have been pressuring you for a long time to make them safer. However, SA 2910 is no better than an attempt to create a loophole that allows Federal powers to strip an individual's 2nd Amendment rights without due process of law by placing them on a completely unregulated "No Fly List" or "Terror Watch List."
In this country, we already have a list of people that are "not allowed" to purchase firearms: they're called felons. Since, in application, SA 2910 would allow the Attorney General to apply a restriction to individuals that is partially equivalent to a felony conviction, SA2910 necessarily cannot be constitutional unless an individual's being added to the Terror Watch List and/or No Fly List is a matter of due process in a public court of law, complete with the right to representation, a jury, appeals, and all those "inconvenient" rights which are part of the battery of checks and balances that help protect American freedom. We cannot nor will not abandon those protections or that freedom because we are scared of cowards armed with guns. In my opinion, gun control politics encourage these attacks. By identifying college campuses as "gun free zones", you paint a target on them. Any coward looking to hurt innocent people will automatically go to a place where there is a high chance that NO ONE IS ARMED, because cowards don't like it when you shoot back at them.
You swore an oath to protect and uphold the Constitution. I therefore do not understand why you authored a bill that would allow the Attorney General a loophole past our Constitutional protections. Further, you have chosen to use this legislation as a means of driving divisive politics, blaming Republicans and the NRA for their desire to protect that same Constitutional right that you seem to disregard. Making us out to be bad people, and telling your constituency that they should hate us, and blame us for past and future attacks. That's disgusting and wrong. You should behave responsibly in your Senate seat and avoid using divisive politics to further your political goals. There is too much hatred and mistrust in the world already, and to see such behavior from an older and wiser generation appalls me.
I ask that you not attempt to create legislation like this again unless it is in line with the United States Constitution. For all intents and purposes, the "No Fly List" is a document entirely outside the courts - anyone can be added to it for any reason, either real or invented. Thank God there is a Republican majority in Congress to stop you from succeeding with this plan, and that Senator Heitkamp also chose to do the right thing. It's frightening that she was the only democrat to do so. I realize you are under great pressure to "do something" but there are wiser ways to improve the safety of your constituency. Like it or not, armed people are harder for murderers to murder, and thus it is that they target people who can't fight back. They want free kills, and gun control politics gives them their free kills.
Senator, despite that a great many citizens feel differently, I at least am willing to give you the benefit of the doubt that you have no evil ulterior motive, and that you simply want to help do the right thing and protect American lives. But, frankly, you're scaring the hell out of us. Please understand that while you travel with a heavily-armed security detail, the rest of us rely on either the Police, or our own strength of arms, to defend us from any threat that may cross our paths--rapists, thieves, murderers, religious extremists, racial supremacists, or anyone else that might do harm to our person or property. Unfortunately, despite their best intentions, the Police simply can't arrive fast enough to protect a citizen from an imminent rape or murder. In many cases, the intended victim won't even be able to call for help, due to the often sudden nature of violent attacks. Since you've been in your Senate seat for a long time, this is a reality you may not have had to face for many years, as you are protected by several armed men and have possessed a concealed carry permit since 1995.
It is for this reason that when you mess with Americans' gun rights, when you even attempt to put the slightest scratch on the 2nd Amendment, you scare the living hell out of us. You're messing with rights which are not essential to YOUR safety, but ARE essential to OUR safety. How many women have been forced into a darkened area by an attacker with a knife and raped because they lacked the strength to protect themselves, and because the Police simply weren't there to help? Guns are an equalizer - they allow a 100 pound female a solid chance to prevail against a 250 pound attacker, which would otherwise be astronomically unlikely. Furthermore, a prevalence of concealed- and open-carried handguns which is well-known within a given community is a strong deterrent against any coward who might try to hurt another person. A college campus where an average of 1 in 10 individuals carries a concealed firearm has a very solid chance of repelling or slaying an armed attacker before he can harm anyone, and long, long before Police or SWAT can arrive to help. Meanwhile, on a disarmed college campus, when an attack begins, citizens become victims and can do nothing except run, or hide behind soft cover and weep and pray that the Police arrive in time.
Unfortunately, recently in San Bernardino, the Police arrived too late for 14 people, and slightly too late for 17 others. A single handgun in that building could have given them some chance to resist or even just buy themselves time! Employees could have wounded one or both attackers, even if they died in the process, and given the other citizens still alive in the building a better chance to survive. A single brave citizen, armed, and with just enough courage to face the attackers and protect his fellow citizens, could have made a real difference. Granted, matching a handgun against a semi-automatic rifle still leaves you with poor chances... But poor chances are better than being reduced to begging for your life and cowering in a corner and then getting shot to death anyway. Try to imagine what those poor people went though, Senator, and try to imagine how desperately they must have wished they had a weapon with which to defend themselves as they were dying one after another.
You lead them foolishly and irresponsibly - your politics are flawed. Please see reason. Please do not stand against Americans' right to defend themselves. Please do not sponsor any more legislation which would allow any state or federal body to circumvent the essential protections of the Constitution. You swore an oath. Thank you Senator and Happy Hanukkah.