Dear Mrs. Ginny Brown-Waite,
It has come to my attention that HR 1022 (an attempt to renew a stronger "assault weapon ban") has again surfaced and already two representatives from Florida have signed on (Rep Robert Wexler and Rep Debbie Wasserman Schultz).
I urge you, with all due respect, and more for having responded to a message I have sent in the recent past, NOT to sign on for this resolution and to fight it whenever possible.
The restrictions on true "assault" weapons (select-fire, full-automatic capable weapons) is already in place. The National Firearms Act (NFA) / Class III of 1934 makes it illegal to possess a weapon capable of full-automatic fire and requires for each such weapon a $200 tax stamp to be added per weapon, per owner. Most such automatic-capable firearms are already thousands of dollars (no exaggeration, either). Even common handguns and pistols our own police use are considered "assault weapons".
The targets of HR 1022 are semi-automatic weapons and look-a-likes of military weapons. I wish to provide two strong viewpoints on the dangers of this proposed resolution.
1) The previous assault-weapons ban did little to nothing to combat crime.
"We cannot clearly credit the ban with any of the nation's recent drop in gun violence." ("An Updated Assessment of the Federal Assault Weapons Ban: Impacts on Gun Markets and Gun Violence, 1994-2003", National Institute of Justice, June 2004).
"The ban has failed to reduce the average number of victims per gun murder incident or multiple gunshot wound victims." ("Impacts of the 1994 Assault Weapon Ban: 1994-96.", National Institute of Justice, March 1999)
"The public safety benefits of the 1994 ban have not yet been demonstrated." (also in "Impacts of the 1994 Assault Weapon Ban: 1994-96.", National Institute of Justice, March 1999)
"Assault weapons" are rarely used in crimes. (To pick on California for a moment) In LA, 1998, of 538 documented gun incidents, only one involved an "assault weapon" (.2%). In San Francisco, 1998, only 2.2% of confiscated weapons were "assault weapons". San Diego, 1988-1990, only .3% of confiscated weapons were "assault weapons" (All: S.C. Helsley, Assistant Director DOJ Investigation and Enforcement Branch, California October 31, 1988). Nationally, between 1980 and 1994 only 2% of confiscated guns were "assault weapons" (Gary Kleck, "Targeting Guns," 1997, compilation of 48 metropolitan police departments from 1980-1994). Just under 2% of criminals that commit violent crimes used "assault weapons" (Gary Kleck, "Targeting Guns," 1997, calculated from Bureau of Justice Statistics, assault weapon recovery rates). Only 8% of criminals used anything that is classified (even incorrectly) as an "assault weapon", though less than 1% claimed to use these weapons when committing crimes (Bureau of Justice Statistics, "Firearm Use by Offenders", November 2001).
CONCLUSION: "Assault weapons" are rarely used in crime, and the initial ban had virtually no impact on gun crime rates.
2) The purpose of the Second Amendment is not to protect the rights of hunting weapons, or of target or sporting weapons. It is to protect the people's rights to own and carry firearms for the security (safety) of their state. Strictly speaking, military-style weapons are exactly what is protected by the Second Amendment. However, since that is not followed to the letter, and military-style weapons are not distributed as easily as in, say, Switzerland (whose gun culture the Founders attempted to emulate), we as a country must make due with non-issued weapons of often less-than-equal ability.
For those who believe nobody "needs such a weapon", keep in mind the media footage during the Rodney King incident of Korean shop owners who sat atop their roofs during the riots using "assault weapons" to defend their businesses. These were the individuals who were not dragged into the streets and beaten, and did not have their shops burned down. According to Josh Sugarmann, executive director of the Violence Policy Center, Washington Post, 1993, "You can't get around the image of people shooting at people to protect their stores and it working. This is damaging to the [gun control] movement."
CONCLUSION: It is our RIGHT to own weapons of similar ability to the military, and it is our RIGHT to use them to defend ourselves, our families, our livelihoods, and the "security of a free State". This RIGHT is not one held only by gun owners, but by all American citizens.
I apologize for the extensive read, but I feel very strongly that such a house resolution would seriously infringe on gun-owning rights of Americans, as per the Bill of Rights, and would simultaneously do nothing to prevent or lower crime, as stated by studies of the first Assault Weapon Ban.
Thank you for your time, and I hope you do not make the same mistakes two other Florida Representatives did in wishing to limit the rights of Americans.