Skip to comments.AHSA LETTER TO ATTORNEY GENERAL HOLDER - THE ASSAULT WEAPONS BAN DOESN'T WORK
Posted on 03/02/2009 11:40:29 AM PST by colinrogero
I thought I would share with all of you the letter I sent to Attorney General Eric Holder on February 26th:
February 26, 2009
Mr. Eric Holder United States Attorney General U.S. Department of Justice 950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20530-0001
Dear Mr. Holder:
Congratulations on your appointment and confirmation as Attorney General of the United States. I am writing to address your recent comments about the renewal of the federal assault weapons, which I read in The Hill today. This raises grave concerns for me and other law-abiding gun owners. I strongly urge you to reconsider this effort.
For the past four years, I have served as President of the American Hunters and Shooters Association (AHSA). We are a gun rights organization with a commitment to protecting our environment, preserving open spaces and keeping our communities safe. Then-candidate Obama shared many of our views and we endorsed his candidacy last April. I was honored to serve as a surrogate for the campaign. Last fall, I spent a great deal of time talking to gun owners, many of whom were union members, on behalf of the Obama-Biden ticket through over 40 appearances in Ohio, Minnesota, Florida and Colorado. I also did a radio ad, which was broadcast nationally, and was featured in the campaign's direct mail. Barack Obama's election was critically important for the future of our nation and to the million of gun owners, like me, who voted for him.
That is the reason I want to address the Federal Assault Weapons Ban, which passed in 1994 in the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 and expired on September 13, 2004. It is my understanding that the Obama administration continues to state its intention to reinstate that ban. I would strongly encourage you to negate that effort. The assault weapons ban is an issue of great import to America's law-abiding hunters and shooters, who I represent through my role as President of AHSA. But, this issue shouldn't be based on politics, it's about policy.
Most importantly, as studies have shown, the law had no measurable effect on crime reduction and created an easily avoidable template for gun manufacturers to work around. Instead, the law demonized lawful gun owners and became a lightning rod for a decade long public debate over gun crime that merely served to divert time and resources from our already over-burdened law enforcement agencies. Frankly, it has been an unnecessary distraction. Gun owners support efforts to keep our communities safe. We just want those policies directed at the root cause of crime and violence and not just symbolism, which is how the Washington Post accurately described the ban back in 1994.
Since the Federal Assault Weapons Ban's enactment, the studies analyzing its effect showed there was no statistical significant evidence that it reduced gun crimes. In fact, two studies prepared for the United States government confirm that fact: The Department Of Justice-funded study issued in July of 2004 titled "Updated Assessment of the Federal Assault Weapons Ban: Impacts on Gun Markets and Gun Violence, 1994-2003" and the Center for Disease Control's Task Force on Community Preventive Services report "First Reports Evaluating the Effectiveness of Strategies for Preventing Violence: Firearms Laws" issued in October of 2003.
The Federal Assault Weapons Ban's major thrust, which was based on a political compromise between competing bills in the U.S. Senate, was to ban the manufacture and sale of certain gun models that had two or more of the following features, considered by most to be merely cosmetic: pistol grip, folding/collapsible stock, flash suppressor/muzzle brake, large-capacity detachable magazine, bayonet mounting point, and a grenade launcher mounting point. However, manufacturers just put these features on guns in variable combinations instead of using an "all-in-one" approach, meaning that post-ban guns sold were effectively duplicates of pre-ban guns with a mix and match of the isolated features. The new law became a "charade."
The Federal Assault Weapons Ban also prohibited the production of large capacity ammunition feeding devices (clips) that carried more than 10 rounds. However, large pre-ban clips were always available, albeit with a higher price point, from dealers, on the internet, at gun shows, or from international sources (especially from former Warsaw Pact countries that had large quantities of AK-47 magazines of various capacities that could fit a variety of both pre-ban and post-ban AK-47 variants). Again, the law was meaningless.
In addition, law abiding sport shooters, collectors, self-defense advocates and hunters who bought semi-automatic replicas of military ordinance felt they had become targets of over-reaching law enforcement agencies because of the demonization of their lawfully owned guns or what they thought was a lawful hobby. This caused a chilling of support for law enforcement by an untold number of citizens who would never imagine themselves as law-breakers, which is exactly the opposite response you would hope to get from legislation intended to fight crime.
Finally, since the ban was first enacted back in 1994, there has been a major development in the interpretation of the Second Amendment, which must also be considered. The decision in Heller v. District of Columbia established the principle that citizens have the right to keep and bear arms. The Supreme Court decision must guide your thinking as you proceed.
We share your commitment to reducing crime and gun violence. We believe, as law-abiding gun owners, the way to do that is not by banning guns, but by making sure that criminals, terrorists and people who can harm themselves and others do not get guns. Law-abiding gun-owners will overwhelmingly support your efforts along those lines. Again, I applaud your long-standing service to our country and defense of the Constitution. I do however ask you work to ensure that any law enforcement legislation the administration proposes aimed at reducing gun crime in our communities will actually lower gun crime. Policy considerations should dictate this decision.
Ray Schoenke, President American Hunters and Shooters Association
Fake gun rights group.
And yet, here he is.
No gun rights organization worth its weight in horse manure would have endorsed ANY 'Rat candidate for president.
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