Congratulations on your appointment to lead a presidential commission to end gun-related violence.
As a National Rifle Association board member, husband, father, grandfather, law enforcement officer and genuinely concerned American, I too want nothing more than to see evil, senseless massacres stopped. I concur with the president and caring people everywhere: It’s time to end these slaughters.
As you gather your team to study massacres and how to stop them, I offer to you my services and a lifetime of expertise on guns in all their implementations. While I strongly differ with President Obama on many issues, I agree with him that we must work with all we can possibly muster to end these tragedies.
As you begin to formulate your thoughts on how to proceed with your task, I hope your starting point is to provide the president with the facts regarding these slaughters and to offer him common-sense recommendations that are void of a political agenda and will actually make a meaningful difference. If the American people smell a political agenda here, that will only bog down our efforts.
In the spirit of goodwill and a deep desire to end gut-wrenching, incredibly sad and senseless rampages, I offer you the following recommendations:
I encourage you to persuade the president to lead this effort by providing a number of public service announcements. The announcements should include watching out for each other, encouraging parents to be more involved in their children’s lives regarding entertainment choices, and knowing various indicators we should watch for in people who are unstable.
Clearly, the focus on solving these mass murders must be on the mentally ill. In almost every instance of mass killing, there were ample red flags and warning alarms that either were avoided or were not acted upon by mental health professionals, family members, friends and acquaintances. While I deeply respect an individual’s privacy and civil liberties, the American people need basic awareness of what indicators to look for regarding potentially violent, psychotic people. Our collective safety begins with being collectively vigilant.
You will find in your assessment that all of the massacres have occurred in gun-free zones. What gun-free zones create is an environment where good people are unarmed and virtually defenseless against an unstable person intent on committing mass murder. Gun-free zones are modern killing fields. I implore you to recommend that Congress pass a law to ban gun-free zones immediately.
Just like your full-time, armed security detail, qualified citizens with authorized, legal concealed-carry permits should be able to carry weapons virtually everywhere to protect themselves, their loved ones and innocents.
I also implore you to strongly consider recommending that trained school officials have access to weapons to protect students. Just as airline pilots may have access to a weapon to prevent another Sept. 11 mass murder, school officials also should be trained to stop shooting sprees at our schools.
I don’t encourage you to recommend a ban on any weapon, magazine capacity or type of ammunition. That won’t accomplish anything other than prevent the 99.9 percent of responsible, law-abiding Americans from enjoying these modern weapons as we do now. We should never recommend or develop public policy that restricts the rights of the good guys based upon what evil people do or might do. If that were the case, alcohol still would be banned. As you may know, drunk drivers kill an estimated 12,000 Americans each year and hurt tens of thousands more.
I encourage you also to keep this misnamed “gun violence” in perspective. While all deaths are tragic, the vast majority of gun-related murders and violence are committed by gang members who do not use guns that look like — but do not perform like — military assault weapons. The majority of crimes that involve a firearm are committed with handguns. I concurred with you back in 2008 when you stated, “If [Mr. Obama] tries to fool with my Beretta, he’s got a problem.” I trust you still maintain those sentiments.
Again, I offer you my services and a lifetime of expertise. I look forward to hearing from you.