I sent the following letter via the NRA's website to all of my representatives including President Obama and Vice President Biden on February 4. I have since received two replies that I have copied below.
I join you in mourning the victims of gun violence perpetrated by the mentally unstable and criminal elements of our society. That said, I write you today to urge you to think about the effects of restricting firearm ownership for law-abiding citizens across this great land and reach a conclusion that such restrictions are unfounded and ill advised.
The primary right of human existence is the right to life, liberty and property. Without these, human existence devolves into a form of dependency or servitude to those who would take our lives, our liberty or our property as they see fit through force. Firearms in the hands of a law-abiding and civilized people serve as a tool against those who would seek to dehumanize us.
The aggressors among us have already indicated a disdain for the law and for human life. If the law or its enforcement mechanisms cannot stop someone from harming me or my loved ones, it will fall to me to make the decision on how best to stop that harm. Understanding this reality, it is my duty to my family and community to be prepared to do so.
The criminal and mentally unstable will have access to the means of violence necessary to carry out their objectives as they will. If only criminals can access semiautomatic weapons, what other mechanism exists that would allow us to defend ourselves successfully?
From my perspective, the only answer to force is countervailing force.
And while aggressive force can be curtailed or suppressed from time-to-time, giving people a sense of calm and peace, history has shown that it is not the case over longer periods of time. Part of the legacy of this great nation is that we have the ability to live as free people, secure in our rights because we have the private means to enforce them.
As my representative in government, you have a duty to uphold the Constitution. A vote in favor of adding any restrictions to our already existing firearms laws for law-abiding, sane individuals would be a vote in favor of oppression and servitude of the weak to the more powerful and a vote against the literal meaning and historical intent of the Second Amendment.
Any reasonable attempt to reduce gun violence will require addressing the existing shortcomings in education, social assistance, and mental health systems. These are all areas of legislative power that can be changed immediately without directly attacking the natural and Constitutional right to self-defense. I trust that any legislation you endorse will fully examine these activities and their impact on gun violence prior to considering a new ban on semiautomatic weapons or high-capacity magazines.
Here's Debbie Stabenow's lame email form reply indicating that neither she nor her staff read my original letter:
Thank you for contacting me about the tragic and senseless violence in Newtown, Connecticut. I appreciate you sharing your thoughts and concerns with me.
If there is anything that deeply unites Americans across the country it is our love for our children and grandchildren and our desire to keep them safe. In the wake of the heartbreaking tragedy at Sandy Hook elementary, all of us must come together to determine what steps can be taken to protect our children. That means discussing how we can strengthen our gun laws to help stop attacks like this from happening again, while protecting responsible gun ownership and preserving our hunting heritage. It also means strengthening mental health services, and focusing on the broader culture of violence in the media and our society. These solutions may not be easy, but one thing should be clear – complacency and inaction until the next attack must not be an option.
Thank you again for contacting me. Please continue to keep me informed about issues of concern to you and your family.
United States Senator
U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow
The United States Senate • Washington, DC 20510
Here's a transcript of the hand-signed letter sent to me the same day I sent my letter, from Rep. Dave Camp.
Thank you for contacting me.
I appreciate knowing your concerns regarding gun control legislation. As you may know, in the wake of the Newtown, Connecticut tragedy, there has been a flurry of legislative proposals introduced in Congress relating to gun control. Additionally, this past December, President Obama established a task force directed with finding a comprehensive approach for preventing gun-related violence. Upon reviewing its recommendations, on January 16, President Obama issued 23 executive actions and recommended a series of legislative proposals for Congress to enact to address the issue of gun violence. Such proposals included placing limits on guns and ammunition, bolstering school security, and improving access to mental health services.
Like you, I believe the right to bear arms is a fundamental principle upon which this nation was founded and this right must be preserved for future generations. As a strong supporter of the Second Amendment, I have serious concerns with legislative efforts that seek to limit law-abiding Americans' right to purchase and own firearms. Please be assured I will keep you concerns in mind should any gun control legislation come before me for a vote in the House of Representatives.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.
Dave Camp, Member of Congress
Senator Carl Levin, and the President and Vice-President have yet to respond. I will update if I get anything from them. Again, it's on all of us to keep the pressure up. If you haven't written your representatives on these issues please do and do so regularly.