Dear Mr. President,
You have a rare opportunity to have an impact that will be felt for generations to come. You have it within your control to do something that no President before you has been able to do. You can enact gun legislation that both protects the Second Amendment and eliminates weapons of mass destruction – otherwise known as semi-automatic weapons.
Let me start by saying that I am not anti-gun. I am for the Second Amendment. I believe that a person has the right to bear arms. I believe that a person has the right to protect themselves and their loved ones. I support the rights of hunters.
Let me also tell you that I choose not to have a gun in my home. I know that I personally do not have the emotional fortitude to handle a "gun-owner situation gone bad." I will take my chances trusting to the locks on my doors, my access to 911 and the bark (not bite) of my dog.
Last week I watched the coverage of the Florida School Shooting with a numb mind and an aching heart. I watched as families looked in vain for their loved ones. I listened as witnesses described the scene that unfolded before their eyes. I heard countless people say, “I didn’t think it could happen here.” After hearing that you were planning on meeting with families impacted I wondered “what if I had the chance to talk to you, what would I want to say?”
Weapons of Mass Destruction
I would say to you that 17 people died too soon. 17 extended families mourned and asked, "why me." 100’s of students survived and wondered "why was I spared." Countless teachers and administrators cursed themselves and wondered "what more could I have done." The first responders and hospital workers struggled to save lives and failed. Every person who has ever been involved in a mass shooting felt the triggers go off inside them – their psychic wounds fresh and raw.
I’m curious, how do you define a weapon of mass destruction? How many lives need to be impacted, shattered, damaged or lost before you designate something as a weapon of mass destruction? We found out during 911 that a plane flown into a building could be a weapon of mass destruction – is that the benchmark? Is it 10’s of people, 100’s of people or 1000’s of people affected before we categorize something as a weapon of mass destruction?
I would propose that by any definition you choose, an assault style weapon is a weapon of mass destruction. It’s only purpose in a legitimate combat situation is to disable a large number of the enemy as quickly as possible with limited damage to surrounding areas. In the civilian world it’s only purpose is to entertain. Yes, entertain. There is no purpose for defense of home and property (unless you’re expecting a hoard of zombies to come walking up the drive). There is no application for hunting. In the civilian world they are purchased to entertain. To go to shooting ranges and fire off a large number of rounds, make a lot of noise and get the adrenaline going. It’s not how I choose to spend my leisure hours but okay.
Time for a change
We can’t change the past. We can’t undo what has been done. We can’t bring back the lives lost too soon. But Mr. President you have the power to change the future. You can eliminate these weapons of mass destruction. You have a Republican Senate and House of Representatives. You have a conservative Supreme Court. No President has been in a better spot to make a change.
As a mother of a school age child and as a citizen of the United States, I ask you to please consider the following suggestions:
- Eliminate Sale of Semi-Automatic Weapons: The Second Amendment gives us the right to bear arms. However, we’ve already banned automatic weapons. Now I would like you to call for a ban on the sale or resale of all semi-automatic weapons. Current owners of semi-automatic weapons can look forward to passing their possessions down to family members as part of their estate. It may take a generation for all the weapons to be gone but it’s worth the wait.
- Limit Ammunition Sales: Limit the purchase of ammunition for these weapons to firing ranges and gun clubs – their members/patrons can buy what they need for use at the facility. They can go there, shoot to their hearts content, have fun with their friends and get their adrenaline going.
- Education and Licensing: Background checks aren’t enough. We don’t let people practice medicine or even drive a car unless they have demonstrated they fully comprehend the subject. If we make drivers demonstrate they can parallel park a car I think it’s reasonable to require gun owners to demonstrate the safe use of a weapon before they are given a license to purchase, own or operate one.
- Mental Health & Guns: When it comes to the brain things get complicated very fast. Using a gun when impaired by alcohol, drugs, medication, despair, grief, anger, or mental illness is a recipe for disaster. Mr. President, limiting the damage someone who is mentally impaired can inflict by removing the option of using a semi-automatic weapon from their hands is one small step you can take in positively impacting this issue.
You only have a couple of years to make an impact and create a legacy.
Choose to protect American’s.
Choose to protect our children.
Choose to make our schools and public venues safe.
Choose to be the President who made a difference.