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My Two Cents on Gun Bans
Posted January 14, 2013

By David L. Johnson, President, ITG® Consultants, Inc.

Like many Americans, I watched the news regarding the tragic shootings and murders of innocent, defenseless school children and educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School with dismay, disgust and pain.  I also note that Vice President Biden is chairing an effort to find some solutions within the current administration.  Much talk about gun control is permeating the media and the national dialog at the moment.  I think this debate will eventually involve every elected representative at the national level soon if it hasn’t already.  I also think that every voter who is concerned about these issues should flood their elected representative’s offices with correspondence and phone calls about their stance on the issue.  Candidly, I will use my First Amendment Rights to make sure my Second Amendment Rights are not eroded.  Having written to my elected representatives, I would like to make the same contribution to the public dialog and hope the reader will bear with me and evaluate my commentary on its merits. 

I sincerely believe that this issue is much larger than a single solution can solve, and I would like to provide some input on these very important issues:  the increase in active shooter incidents and the gun control response.  I beg your patience as this will be a long letter and I hope that you will both read my contribution and take these suggestions under consideration as you choose your course of action and negotiate your path, during this most recent gun control debate.

To help you weigh the suggestions and comments I am about to share with you, I would like to tell you just a little bit about myself.  I am a retired soldier who was a member of the US Army’s Military Police Corps and later, the Criminal Investigations Command.  I provided law enforcement support to the US Army on a global basis and investigated many crimes during my career.  I also spent 14 years of that career assigned to organizations that provided personal security and protection to general officers and the most senior civilian and military leadership within the Departments of Defense and Army.  I retired at a fortunate time, for one in my profession, as it was shortly before President Clinton intervened in Haitian affairs and returned Haitian President Jean Bertrand Aristide to power, after he signed the Governor’s Island Accords.  The US State Department started offering contracts to provide civilian security personnel to provide personal protection to designated individuals during Operation Restore Democracy.  I had the honor to lead that protective operation, during that first ever contract of its kind.  I subsequently led a protective operation for a US Ambassador in Bosnia-Hercegovina after the Dayton Peace Accord was signed, under the second contract of its kind.  After 9-11, I managed security contracts in both Afghanistan and Iraq in support of our nation’s foreign policy.  In 2006, I established a small company here in Pennsylvania that provides such services to others and provides training for those who choose to ply this same profession.  In all, I have spent the better part of the last 33 years providing armed security to individuals the United States Government has directed my colleagues and I to protect, including the lives of foreign heads of state in a foreign country, at US taxpayer expense.

During this time, the US Government had provided me various revolvers, semi-automatic pistols, fully automatic M-16 and M-4 “assault weapons”, M-14 rifles with collapsible stocks, and submachine guns of Uzi, Heckler & Koch, Ingram manufacture.  Most often magazines for those shoulder fired weapons held 30 or more rounds of ammunition.  I was tasked with safeguarding the lives of others with those weapons, at taxpayer expense, both in and out of the military.  This is something our government frequently did to me and currently does with a host of others.  I provided such support in response to direct terrorist threats, political instability, areas of strife and conflict, ethnic cleansing and more.

I know Americans are concerned with Homeland Security issues; I am as well.  Given my background, training, education and love of country, I look for ways to contribute to the safety of our nation even though I am no longer an active duty soldier.  I am a volunteer who makes frequent, active contributions to an association dedicated to supporting homeland security issues, the American Board for Certification in Homeland Security.  I have watched the phenomenon of active shooter scenarios develop both in our country and within terrorist modus operandi with grave concern and completely agree with those who say “something must be done!”

I would take this opportunity to submit a couple of viewpoints for consideration:

  1. Not one person, whom I know in my profession, the Law Enforcement Community or our military services, would not have wanted to be at the front door of Sandy Hook Elementary on that terrible day.  None that I know would have shunned the potential to place themselves at risk of personal injury or worse to have had a chance to stop the deranged, mentally unstable young man who committed those atrocities that day.  Not one would have shrunk from using any of the weapons I mentioned above should that have proven necessary to safeguard the lives of those children and educators.  The problem here was that no one cut from that cloth was there when they were needed most.  Police simply cannot be everywhere and there is no predictive model to tell them where to be before they need to be there.  That there was a sign out front of that school declaring the area to be a gun free zone, mattered not to Adam Lanza. 
  2. Everything that Adam Lanza did that day related to this crime was already illegal.  In fact, everything that Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold (Columbine) did during their infamous activities was also illegal.  So were the acts that Seung-Hui Cho committed at Virginia Tech.  This list goes on and on.  My point is that laws prohibiting this kind of behavior are already on the books.  On each of these days, law-abiding citizens possessed all of the guns and magazines that are currently being spoken of and committed no crime.  Whether it is a person with a criminal mindset, a criminal pathology or a person with a post-incident diagnosis of mental instability of some kind, when conducting such acts they are committing crimes.  Committing a crime is a behavior issue and not the result or intent of inanimate objects.

These two viewpoints lead me to a couple of questions I hope are considered:

  1. The United States government provided me with the weapons, including those that were fully automatic, which I carried during my duties both in and out of military service.  The US government tasked me formally with the safeguarding of the lives of specific other individuals, including foreigners on foreign soil.  If this can be the case, then why should not I, or our fellow citizens, be able to use the semi-automatic versions of those weapons to safeguard our own lives, our homes or to simply use them for recreational purposes, including hunting?  And yes, the M-16 platform is being used in legitimate, legal hunting opportunities right here in Pennsylvania. 
  2. I know this argument may sound a bit thread bare, but I will go back to the fact that even the mentally unstable who have committed such crimes within our nation, have committed criminal acts when carrying out their desires.  Only law-abiding citizens abide by the laws.  Guns are not the only means with which people commit murder.  In the recent past, knives, hammers, cars and other items have been used as instruments of murder.  To support this allegation, consider looking at some incidents in China.  I’m thinking China doesn’t let its citizens possess guns yet murders of children at their schools occur too.  A check of Wikipedia  alleges that eight children were murdered by a deranged person with a knife in March 2010, 16 students and a teacher were wounded by a knife wielding assailant in April 2010, 20 children and staff members in August and the list goes on.  

By very definition, those who break the law, don’t abide by it.  Laws currently exist that prohibit the building of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) but the perpetrators of the Columbine incident did not let that stop them from building them and using them in their atrocity, did it?  It has even recently been alleged that natural gas was used in an arson attempt in Indianapolis that destroyed five homes and damaged dozens of others.  This incident reportedly killed five people.  We, as a nation, do not even discuss banning any of these other inanimate items and I submit that banning the items that are being considered now will only do one thing:  Further erode the freedoms and liberties our law-abiding citizens currently enjoy and merit.

In the spirit of disclosure, I am a member of the NRA and it is known that the NRA does contribute in tangible ways to the safety of our nation.  Its Law Enforcement Activities Division trains and certifies law enforcement firearms instructors, and it certified both a handgun and a high-risk environment weapons program that my company,  ITG® Consultants, Inc. (www.itg4.com) and I crafted when we launched those training programs.  ITG® frequently train law enforcement officers, members of our military and professional private sector security officers in the use of these weapons as they apply to our profession.  ITG® has a valid Federal Firearms License, a License to Sell Firearms in Pennsylvania and owns M-4 weapons systems that are utilized in our training programs.  

If these weapons are banned, then I would submit that in addition to eroding our fellow citizen’s rights, liberties and freedoms, this ban will also restrict valuable contributions to homeland security issues.  It will likely limit the private sector’s ability to contribute in a significant way to public safety and our homeland security.  I know that action would cause us to lose a critical part of our ability to contribute to these things as depending on how this “ban” would be crafted, those service offerings may cease to exist.  In fact, ITG® has supported our military by providing this kind of training to soldiers prior to their deployments to combat zones because they could not get that training from their own branch of service.  The bureaucracy prevented them from obtaining it; they did not have the correct military occupational specialty to attend the similar courses the Army provides.  

I would also point out, that instead of increasing the US military’s end strength as our nation combated multiple enemies of the last decade plus, our nation has relied more and more on private sector security solutions, going so far as to use this solution to guard and support our military forces on foreign soil in areas of conflict.  I know of what I speak; the first State Department Contract to provide personal protective services that I led was valued at a few million dollars.  That effort has evolved into the State Department’s Worldwide Personal Protective Services contract and that has been valued at billions of dollars since its inception.  So, our government not only recognizes the need for private sector security support it funds it in support of those it chooses to support.

I would also note that many of those who are exuberantly engaged in this debate on the side of banning all things personally offensive to them as they relate to guns or their accouterments benefit from having armed police officers or guards immediately available to them.  The very office building our legislators work at in Washington D.C. is guarded by an extremely professional law enforcement agency that utilizes both semi-automatic handguns and assault weapons during the performance of their duties: the Capitol Hill Police.  None of the schools that have been specifically targeted for the kind of atrocities we are concerned about here have benefited from such security.  People such as Mayor Bloomberg, a man of considerable personal resources, tout that guns should be banned, as armed law enforcement officers providing his personal protection at New York taxpayer expense flank him.  I have no doubt that his office and his home are guarded and strongly suspect that his security and the security of his family is augmented by private sector security guards, all of whom can come to his personal aid in seconds.  I, for one, tire of hearing those privileged with such protection telling the rest of the country that they know what is best for us and that guns need to be banned.  Hypocrisy is a term that comes to my mind when considering this.

Is it about to be true that the same government and administration that approved the Fast and Furious fiasco, purposely allowing the very weapons they now want to ban to individuals suspected of committing straw purchases for the Mexican Drug Trafficking Organizations (DTOs) and allowing them to walk away with them, now wants to ban them from law-abiding American citizens?  I cannot wrap my mind around how that thought process is justified.

Since the 2009 housing crisis, our nation’s communities have been in a funding crisis.  When homes are foreclosed on, taxpayers are laid off and home values decrease, there is a correlating decrease in a communities tax base.  Being a company that trains people in subjects relative to specific law enforcement operations, ITG®, as well as other private sector training companies were negatively impacted by that economic downturn as well.  Overnight it seems, every law enforcement agency that we know lost discretionary travel and training budgets.  Almost every law enforcement agency in our country was faced with budget constraints and directives from their local governing body to reduce costs.  It is known and understood, the largest part of any of their budgets is personnel costs and those constraints led directly to lay-offs and force reductions.  Is there any law enforcement agency within the US today that has an end-strength equal to or greater than they had pre-economic downturn?  I think not.

What does that have to do with this debate?  I submit that it is very relevant as the response times to criminal incidents has grown longer and less frequent.  Is the public aware that there are law enforcement agencies in our land that must now triage their 911 calls to decide which of the citizen complaints they will respond too?  Some response to this reduction in manpower has resulted into not sending a police officer to respond to a crime scenes that were traditionally immediate response calls.  Some of these departments don’t respond to things like burglary of a home unless the criminal is still within the house or immediate environment.  Our citizens are now sometimes told to go to the police station and fill out a report so they can satisfy their insurance requirements.  But what happens at the crime scene?  Nothing.  No evidence is collected, no crime scene processing is conducted and evidence of these crimes is destroyed as the homeowner cleans up in the aftermath.  If the overworked, understaffed investigation section of the department can investigate, the only thing left to them at this point is to interview witnesses.  Read: the crime goes unsolved and the criminal remains at large to continue the efforts.  Also read: when seconds count, a citizen’s help is farther away than it used to be and it will take longer to get there.  

I live in a very rural area.  The Pennsylvania State Police provide the response capability in our township.  Our township does not have a budget sufficient to provide even one law enforcement officer.  In rural Pennsylvania, the number of state police officers available to patrol a huge area is miniscule and they must also provide service and support to the interstate system.  The response time to my home is likely measured in fractions of hours or hours and not minutes.  At the very time our local governments curtail their ability to provide for the public safety and common welfare, the answer cannot truly be:  I know, let’s inhibit our citizen’s abilities, curtail their rights and freedoms and ban inanimate objects!     

I truly believe that any such ban of inanimate items cannot be anything other than a feel good, ineffective knee jerk reaction.  The criminals and the deranged will not be deterred and only the liberties and freedoms of the law-abiding will be curtailed.

As one who has little respect for those who only complain and offer no solutions to things they complain about, I will adhere to my own values and offer some perspective and recommendations on alternative solutions to this critical issue:

What needs to change in regards to this threat against our nation’s most precious resource, our children, is our ability to recognize the root causes of this issue and to positively influence the actors.  Reduce the motivating factors, intervene and treat.

I see a correlation between this issue and another major issue our nation has been facing for a much longer time: the war on drugs.  Allow me to elaborate and illustrate just a little.

Before Congress urged the Department of Defense to get more involved in what they then termed “The War on Drugs” as a CID Special Agent, I was assigned to the Atlantic side of the Panama Canal.  It was an office that was supposed to be staffed with three Special Agents but generally only had two or one.  Not large enough for a dedicated drug suppression team, all of our investigators conducted narcotics investigations on a part time basis.  During my three-year assignment, I was given multiple decorations and kudos for my efforts.  Just my cases alone, not including the ones I assisted others with, were recognized at taking over $3.5 million worth of cocaine off the streets.  

Now, this may sound like a lot to some, but I can assure you that the Medellin or Cali cartels didn’t even know I, my partners or my office even existed.  It was a drop in their financial bucket.  By the way, because I was a military investigator, I was limited to only those narcotics crimes that I could show a military connection.  Selling cocaine to soldiers was generally that connection.  

That was in the mid-1980s.  Since that time, our nation’s efforts to combat illegal narcotics trade have expended literally hundreds of billions of dollars of our nation’s treasure in this war on drugs and tens of thousands of lives have been lost in the international community.  How’s that effort going?  Seems to me that the Columbian cartels have been replaced by the Mexican DTOs on this world stage and that their acts of violence, many that bring their own fellow citizens to a violent demise, make the violence of the Columbian cartels pale in comparison.  Why have we not been successful in this war on drugs?

Because we only focus on enforcement and we write laws that criminals do not obey.  We have not yet, as a nation, focused on the root cause:  the demand for the product.  The motivations of the criminal DTOs are based in economic rewards.  That they have a callous disregard for human life as they pursue their economic rewards matters not to them.  We, as a nation, have no meaningful way to reduce the demand in our country and we do not contribute a fraction of the economic resources we spend on enforcement to demand reduction efforts.  Giving free needles to addicts may assist, and I mean may, with the fight against aids or other communicable diseases but it does naught to motivate the addict to fight the addiction.  In fact, I think an argument could be made that it serves to enable the addict to continue the addiction.

During that time frame, I often used the tactic of “buy-walk” in my investigations.  This tactic is one where you buy from a dealer and do not immediately cause them to be brought before the criminal justice system.  The intent is one that allows the investigative effort to follow the distribution chain and hopefully find the larger volume traffickers so that they too can be taken off the street.  Never once did I, any of my partners or my Chain-of-Command consider a sell-walk as was used in that Fast and Furious effort.  Can you imagine any narcotics investigator taking cocaine out of the evidence room, selling that to others and letting them go in hopes they could find more users?  Absurd, isn’t it?

To me, banning high capacity magazines and specific weapons will have the same effect on this critical issue as writing more narcotics laws or drafting legislation that does not target demand and dependency.  Those laws will be useless in fighting this problem.  Please do not misunderstand me, I firmly believe that there is a role for enforcement in the War on Drugs that should not be infringed but if we as a nation want to reduce the violence and crime associated with this issue we must look at the other side of this particular coin.

So what might work and actually contribute to finding a solution?  Here are some suggestions for consideration:

1. Fire up the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) and task them with conducting a fully funded study that blends the efforts of a couple of previous studies that have proven quite valid and useful.  

a. The NIJ produced a report on a study that was extremely useful for those in my profession called Protective Intelligence & Threat Assessment Investigations: A Guide for State and Local Law Enforcement Officials  in July 1998.  This report extrapolated, evaluated and reported the results of the 1992 partnership with the US Secret Service and support from the Federal Bureau of Prisons for a program called the Exceptional Case Study Project.  This study examined the thinking and behavior of individuals who have attacked or approached to attack prominent public officials or figures in the United States since 1949.  I believe a similar study in regards to these active shooter incidents would be informative and provide useful, actionable, recommendations.  I would also note that the current debate, though some focus on Sandy Hook Elementary has been made, should actually be expanded as the issue is broader and has included places of worship, shopping malls, movie theaters and such.

One of the things that this research found was that among the motivations for committing acts of assassination was one that seems to me to apply to the current wave of active shooter scenarios and atrocities at our schools.  They found that a desire to achieve notoriety or fame was included in the possible motivations of these individuals.  I think there is an aspect of these school shootings that must be motivated by the same issue.  I fear that our society, culture and technological advances exacerbate this problem.  I fear that because of the widespread media coverage and exposure to such crimes on what seems to be a more frequent basis makes each new actor aspire to exceed the deeds of their predecessors.  This may be why these crimes seem to be growing worse with each occurrence. 

b. Promulgate, use and update the 2002 US Secret Service report called The Final Report and Findings of the Safe School Initiative: Implications for the Prevention of School Attacks in the United States .  Broaden this mandate to include all of these similar attacks.  Recognize that the perpetrators of the Columbine atrocity used a very similar modus operandi as those terrorists who conducted the Mumbai India attack.  Schools are obviously different venues than shopping malls but I believe much could be learned and applied if the scope is broadened.  The report could focus on each type of venue and be really useful to a broader spectrum of our society.

c. These results should be used not ignored.  Our nation has expended much revenue on all kinds of studies and reports only to disregard much of their findings.  The 9/11 commission  and the Bowles-Simpson  reports come to mind in this regard.

2. Endeavor to change the culture of violence.  Enhance the concept of individual responsibility.

a. Our culture is evolving.  When I was a kid we played cowboy and Indian and ran around our neighbor’s yards pretending to shoot each other.  We fell over, played dead and laughed about it.  We held no ethnic bias against Native Americans, didn’t even know what discrimination was but I suspect we were basing our playtime activities on the television shows we were watching.  John Wayne was cool and the sound of a trumpet sounding charge was exciting!  Hollywood has changed as well, violence is more graphic, criminals are sometimes portrayed as heroes, and reality television shows sometimes shock the conscious.  Electronics have metamorphosed into hand held games that our children lock onto.  Games of war, games racking up points by carjacking, shooting of people, bombing buildings and other acts of violence abound and permeate the youngest sector of our society’s world.

This is  not an argument to ban such games or to regulate Hollywood.  Censorship would be as offensive and repulsive to me as the limiting of other liberties and freedoms.  What I am espousing here is something else is wrong and it relates to behavior.  Millions of kids watch those same shows and play those same games and do not go to school the next day and murder their classmates.  

Service members go to war.  They use the fully automatic versions of these assault weapons and actually bring about death and destruction when engaged in combat.  The overwhelming majority of those veterans do not come back home and murder their fellow citizens.  

What is different between those who can do all of these things and lead law-abiding lives and contribute to society and those who do these things and go off a deep end?  Perhaps the aforementioned study can bring illumination and recommendations to this issue.    

b. For years now, as a nation, we have facilitated the erosion of the concept of personal responsibility. You ran your business into the ground but you’re too big to fail.  Instead of going through bankruptcy like every other American would have to do in your circumstance, let’s take the American taxpayer dollars and bail you out.  Heck, I remember having to drive Chrysler K-cars as an MP trying to catch speeders during the first US Government bail out of that company.  Those K-cars and their slant 6 engine didn’t catch many speeders, I can tell you!  That we can bail out corporations but leave cities and communities to file bankruptcy is crazy.  Where is the balance in that?  Is it cities don’t contribute as much to political action campaigns?  Should not both be governed by the same standard?

You bought more house than you could afford?  Those money grubbing bankers sold you a bill of goods huh?  Shame on them!  Wall Street is the root of all evil!  Want to have sex without fearing you might become pregnant?  No problem, let’s have the tax payer fund your contraception or mandate that insurance companies provide it.  It’s your right!  Not your problem you got pregnant out of wedlock and if your boyfriend doesn’t do the right thing in supporting his child we have entitlement programs that will!

You committed a crime and we will sentence you to a couple of years in jail.  Oh, you only committed that crime because you have low self-esteem?  Let’s get the taxpayers to provide you with a fully stocked gymnasium.  Let’s make sure you know it is cruel and unusual punishment to make you grow your own food or to take care of livestock that is used to feed you.  Let’s provide for your medical care and get your teeth fixed, your face remodeled or even fund your sex change so your self-esteem will rise.  Oh, by the way, the prison is too crowded so we’ll let you go early.  Need to make room for the next in line, you know!  

Want to make a change in this regard?  

Lobby for Sherriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Arizona to become Attorney General, God Bless him. If that doesn’t work then draft legislation and support laws that make it mandatory for prisons to do things that make them as self-supporting as they can be, hold inmates for the entirety of their sentence and hold people accountable for their actions!  

When criminals commit crimes against persons, should they not pay restitution to their victims to the maximum extent possible?  Should the victim really have to go through the civil court system, the time, effort and expense to file a civil law suit to get any kind of restitution from the criminal?  Should not the criminal provide restitution to the law enforcement agency that had to deal with them?  

How about obtaining restitution from them for the care, feeding and housing of them while they were incarcerated?  Would those things enhance the deterrence effect of the penalties adjudged by our criminal justice system?  Enhance victim rights whenever possible.  Criminals have more than enough rights now.

Seriously, the government goes too far in some of these things and needs to reign itself in.  People make decisions.  Sometimes they are bad ones.  There should be consequences and the concept of personal responsibility must come back.

3. Stop the war on religion and facilitate enhancing the key messages.

a. We have a tax code of over 4 million words.  I cannot even imagine how many words or laws flood our nation’s governance now.  Whether one believes in God or not, He reportedly delivered the first set of laws to humanity in ten simple well-crafted sentences.  He is likely an English major.  “Thou shall not kill.”  Kinda sums it up, huh?  That message, along with that whole golden rule thing of “treat others like you would want to be treated” seems to be dissipating from our national persona.  However, those two rules should be all humanity needs to know that it isn’t acceptable to kill other human beings.  

b. Atheists and their lawsuits have repeatedly used the concept of separation of church and state as the basis for their attacks on religious items being displayed on government grounds, affixed to government owned buildings, being spoken of in school.  When the 113th Congress session was sworn in, I watched with gratitude that they did something that can no longer be done in schools.  They prayed.  They asked for divine guidance and I sure hope they get some.  The concept of separation of church and state was meant to keep the church out of the business of running the government.  It was not meant to have the government, or its laws, banish the church from the face of this earth.  Candidly, if this whole concept ever gets to the point where they want to remove Crosses, Stars of David or other religious symbols from the tombstones at Arlington National Cemetery, I will dig my old uniform out of mothballs and go guard them.  Real personal like.  

I seriously doubt anyone of an avowed atheist stance wants our children hurt any more than either you or I, but this minority has influenced the degradation of our society way more than it should have.  

All people of all peaceful religions should be able to celebrate their faith when and how they choose and communities should not be banned from displaying items that have religious connotations simply because they do.  In fact, it might be a good idea if they had to display them all and remind the public that there are joyful reasons to celebrate and some morals and ethics that should be celebrated along with the gift giving… 

In our nation today, we have court cases that prohibits school children and others from demonstrating their faith through prayer at school.  As I write this missive, I’m astounded by an incredible dichotomy relating to this issue.  A US District court just ruled that barring terrorist John Walker Lindh, who not only fought against the US with the Taliban but had a direct role in the murder of CIA operator Michael Spann, had his religious rights violated because he wasn’t allowed to pray daily in a group with other Muslims!  Seriously?  We mandate that such activity is illegal in schools but assert that it is a right in a prison?  Where is the balance in that?

c. Tolerance is perhaps the best word in the English language.  When I was a boy attending junior high school my community mandated that we attend a course called Black American History.  The Civil Rights era brought this educational initiative about and though it was not a popular course in our community, it was where I was first exposed to the concept that we should be tolerant of each other regardless of race, religion, etc.  This concept needs to be emulated and expanded upon.  If this word and concept was used and understood by those engaged in the wars of the former Yugoslavian territory, we would not have had to stand at the edge of mass graves caused by ethnic cleansing at Srebrenica.  This concept may contribute to reducing the incidence of bullying within our schools as well.  The American people need to spread this word and concept around as widely as possible.

4. Demand that the laws we currently have on the books get enforced!

a. As a young Military Policeman, I was taught that I had to enforce all laws and that we did not possess the discretion necessary to determine which laws I wanted to enforce and which ones I could choose not to enforce.  Sounds like a simple concept but our nation is swamped by laws that the executive branch of our government and various state and local governments have chosen not to enforce!  I am not talking about a resource constraint driven prioritizing here, I am talking about a conscious choice not to enforce certain laws.  Sometimes because they are unpopular, sometimes because they do not meet the agenda of the politicians and appointees concerned but always this condition degrades the concept of rule of law.  During his December 23, 2012 “Meet the Press” interview of NRA’s Executive Vice President and CEO Wayne LaPierre, NBC’s David Gregory picked up a 30 round M-16 style magazine and brandished it about while espousing that banning this inanimate item would make things better in future active shooter scenarios because the perpetrator would have to reload more often.  Though that particular inanimate item hurt no one during that session, the mere fact that he possessed it was illegal in the District of Columbia.  It was ALREADY illegal for him to possess it where he was standing.  That law didn’t deter him from possessing it, did it?  With all of the legal staff and investigative reporting available to NBC?  I’m amazed.

While appearing to inquire about the validity of the concept of banning that type of magazine, he seemed to me to be supporting that agenda as I didn’t see much of a fair and balanced approach to this Meet the Press segment.  Mr. Gregory committed an illegal act within the District.  Rudimentary research indicates that possessing a magazine capable of holding more than 10 rounds, even if it is empty, is a misdemeanor that can carry a sentence of up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine in that jurisdiction.  As of January 10, 2013 the D.C. Attorney General hasn’t yet made up his mind on whether or not he will pursue charges against Mr. Gregory. Seriously?  I have no doubt that were I caught with one of those things there, I would not benefit from such reasoned deliberation.

For the record: I don’t believe Mr. Gregory or any law-abiding citizen should be faced with a sentence of up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine simply for possessing a couple pieces of sheet metal and a spring when he did not use it to hurt anyone. 

The laws that exist are enough.  I repeat myself, there is a law against everything that all of these perpetrators did and many of them have, on the books at least, enhanced consequences because a gun was used in the crime.

5. Fix the mental health system in our nation and make it more responsive and available.

a. I’m not talking Obama care here.  I am speaking to the need to provide solutions to families that are dealing with issues such as Adam Lanza’s mother was dealing with.  We provide care and feeding to our criminals yet we have apparently decided that it is improper to care for, and feed, our mentally ill and unstable and that institutionalizing those who would benefit from it is somehow wrong?  I submit this issue needs to be looked at and for sure will require stringent controls and judicial oversight so that such a system is not abused, but we should be able to get in front of some of these issues and perhaps interdict a few terrible incidents before they can manifest themselves.

I get doctor / patient confidentiality; I really do and believe it is an important part of treatment but if a doctor learns that their patient has the desire or strong potential to harm the public or themselves, should they not have a duty to report that in all cases.  Same thing for clergy.  Does the responsibility to care for public safety outweigh the need for confidentiality?  Cannot a methodology be crafted that protects the person who reports this information and maintains the relationship?  I think we are smart enough to be able to do that.  Though I alone am not qualified to answer this question, perhaps the studies that I mentioned previously could examine this issue with qualified experts in those fields.  I recommend that they would fully evaluate the James Holmes incident of the movie opening atrocity in Aurora, Colorado with special attention to detail as this would be an excellent case study in this regard.  The interactions between him, his therapist and the law enforcement community should be fully evaluated to learn why this particular incident was not stopped before it occurred.    

If we can make an effective mental health system available to our citizens, we might also better care for some of those that currently live on our streets, sleep under highway overpasses, on top of steam vents and in cardboard boxes attempting to eke out a living out of scrounging or begging as well.

I have taken up enough of your time at this point.  I respectfully ask that you exercise your First Amendment Rights to safeguard your other rights.  Please urge your elected representatives to never vote to limit our law-abiding citizens’ rights and liberties and urge them to resist rushing to the call to ban inanimate objects.  Challenge Congress and our President to safeguard all elements of our constitution and to work together to find effective solutions to our nation’s woes that do not further erode our rights and liberties.  And please do it soon!

Tags: gun ban, gun laws



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