Thursday, February 28, 2013

Letter to Senators Risch & Crapo of Idaho

If you live in another state, you might want to adapt this material for use on your U.S. Senators.

Dear Senator Crapo:

Once again, Democrats are intent on gun control, because the alternative is to look at the root cause of these random acts of mass murder: the deinstitutionalization of the mentally ill, starting in the 1960s and 1970s.

Senator Feinstein's assault weapons and high capacity magazine ban is doomed to failure, for the same reason that the 1994 federal ban failed: the banned weapons are functionally equivalent to many protected weapons, and the size of the magazine doesn't much matter when the killer is shooting at unarmed victims.  This bill is a waste of time.

The national background check requirement is not as obviously wrong, but it still suffers from a fundamental set of problems.  One is that many states (including Idaho) are not turning over involuntary mental health commitment records to the national background check system.  We have read that 14 states have filed less than five such records in the entire twenty years that the national background check system has existed.

Secondly, because many people with serious mental illness problems are never involuntarily committed, even if states were filing these records, the effect would be seriously compromised.  The core problem involves mentally ill people in need of treatment.

Thirdly, during Senate Judiciary Committee hearings yesterday, both a police chief and U.S. Attorney arguing for the national background check requirement admitted that they put NO effort into prosecuting people who lie on gun purchase applications.  Why should we expect any more effort to be made on private party transfers done without a background check?  What's the point of such a law?

If necessary for political purposes, allow the current background check system to be available to private parties.  We suspect that the vast majority of law-abiding citizens would be happy to take advantage of it -- and the ones who would not be willing to do so, are likely as not going to break the new law anyway -- and they won't be prosecuted.

Remember what the Brady Law and the 1994 federal assault weapons ban did for the Democrats: it caused them to lose control of both houses of Congress.  Republicans who vote for these measures can expect to be retiring next year.

Very Truly Yours,

Clayton & Rhonda Cramer

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