An Open Letter to the United States Senate
Dear Honorable Ladies and Gentlemen:
It recently came to my attention that one of your colleagues, Michigan Sen. Carl Levin, has chosen to attack firearms owners using remarks I wrote in mid-February as his launch pad. As you probably know, Sen. Levin has been making anti-gun speeches every week for the past eight years because of a promise he made to the Economic Club of Detroit in May 1999.
Mr. Levin has an agenda, and he should have spoken to me before using my name in one of his speeches, especially since his remarks were entered into the Congressional Record. I would like my remarks here entered into the Congressional Record as well.
Sen. Levin is only one of 16 members of the Senate to vote against the Vitter Amendment to the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act. This amendment prohibits the confiscation of a privately-owned firearm during an emergency or major disaster when possession of that gun is not prohibited under state or federal law.
Eighty-four senators voted for that amendment, inspired by the egregious confiscation of firearms from the citizens of New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina in the summer of 2005. Those seizures, you will recall, led the Second Amendment Foundation and National Rifle Association to join in a landmark civil rights lawsuit in federal court that brought the confiscations to an abrupt end.
The taking of private property without warrant or probable cause - even firearms - was considered an outrage by millions of American citizens, and yet Sen. Levin joined 15 of his colleagues in voting against this measure. It is no small wonder that Sen. Levin gets an "F" rating from gun rights organizations. He would have American citizens disarmed and left defenseless at a time when they need their firearms the most, when social order collapses into anarchy and protecting one's self and one's family is not simply a right and responsibility, it becomes a necessity.
That in mind, Sen. Levin must know that almost immediately after I wrote those remarks, I recanted and apologized to the millions of Americans who lawfully and responsibly own, compete with and hunt with semi-automatic rifles. I took a "crash course" on these firearms and visited with my good friend Ted Nugent on his ranch in Texas, where I personally shot an AR-15 and educated myself with these firearms.
Some of us learn from our mistakes, others keep making them. Legislation to which Sen. Levin alluded, HR 1022, would renew the ban on so-called "assault weapons," and dangerously expand it to encompass far more perfectly legal firearms. For the Congress of the United States to even consider such legislation is an affront to every law-abiding firearms owner in this country.
This legislation that Sen. Levin appears to endorse is written so broadly as outlaw not only firearms, but accessories, including a folding stock for a Ruger rifle. As I understand the language of this bill, it could ultimately take away my timeworn and cherished hunting rifles and shotguns - firearms I hope to one day pass on to my grandchildren - as well as millions of identical and similar firearms owned by other American citizens.
It is clear to me that the supporters of this legislation don't want to stop criminals. They want to invent new ones out of people like me, and many of you, and your constituents, friends, neighbors and members of your families. They will do anything they can, go to any extremes they believe necessary, to make it impossible for more and more American citizens to legally own any firearm.
In his final paragraph, Senator Levin misrepresents what I said. I never spoke in favor of a general assault weapons ban. Again, I immediately apologized for my blog statement that was exclusively directed toward hunting and not gun ownership.
I will not allow my name to be associated with this kind of attack on the Second Amendment rights of my fellow citizens.
A few weeks ago, in a letter to Alan Gottlieb, chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, I promised to educate my fellow hunters about this insidious legislation "even if I have to visit every hunting camp and climb into every duck blind and deer stand in this country to get it done."
I will amend that to add that I will bring my effort to Capitol Hill if necessary, even if I have to knock on every door and camp in every office of the United States Senate. In promoting this ban, the Hon. Carl Levin does not speak for me, or anybody I know.