Dear Sen. Toomey,
I am writing in view of the attempt to restrict our self-defense rights that, as you know, is now being introduced in the Senate. In my opinion it is incapable of preventing mass murders, counterproductive for the public safety, and destructive of the long-standing right to self-defense that Pennsylvanians, and Americans in general, have held for centuries as recognized in the recent Supreme Court decisions on the matter.
The legislation to prohibit private sales of firearms without the involvement of ATF, so-called "universal background checks", would not have prevented any of the mass shootings that have recently shaken our nation. The man in Webster, NY who shot police officers obtained his gun from someone who knew he was a felon. The man in Newtown, CT who ruthlessly killed children and teachers alike used firearms stolen from his mother. The men responsible for the mass killings in Aurora, CO and Tucson, AZ had no criminal record or documented history of mental health problems. However, this legislation would give the executive branch the power to delay or even block all firearms sales, even those to law-abiding responsible citizens, and to compile a registry of firearm owners by failing to delete the NICS records as required by law. These are not conspiracy theories; these are strategies that many of the president's supporters and advisors have discussed openly. He, and his successors, must not be given that ability.
The legislation that would ban many common modern rifles is likewise flawed and futile. None of the "military style" features that are proposed to be banned increase the lethality or power of a firearm. Most of the features that would be banned are ergonomic features designed to make it easier for a soldier to endure hours or days of battle at a time, or for different people to use the same firearm. These features would make little difference in a single-shooter mass killing that typically lasts 10-20 minutes. They do, however, make a difference for a law-abiding citizen defending himself, herself, or a family from criminals while waiting for a police response that is often too little and too late for us ordinary citizens. Even our federal Department of Homeland Security agrees, having ordered as "personal defense weapons" thousands of fully-automatic firearms whose semi-automatic counterparts would be banned by the proposed legislation.
Finally, the proposal to limit magazine capacity is similarly misguided. A criminal or mass murderer can easily combine small capacity magazines together to produce a magazine with as large a capacity as he or she desires. Such evil persons also tend to prey on the weak and disarmed, so even if they must change magazines every 10 rounds, they have little resistance to fear. A law-abiding citizen, on the other hand, does not have the luxury of choosing who he or she must defend against. Ten rounds is far too small a capacity for dealing with multiple attackers who may be enhanced by drugs or bravado, and police response time is measured in tens of minutes in even the best circumstances. I say we allow responsible citizens to decide for themselves what an appropriate magazine capacity is.
I hope you will represent me, and my fellow responsible gun owners who are just as adamant that our right to self-defense be respected. If you do not represent us, we will have no choice but to find someone who will when you come up for election.