This is a collection of letters-to-the-editor (in reverse chronological order). As it happens, most of them concern gun control, but a few other topics are covered. Originally this was a collection of letters written by me and directed to the Gainesville Sun. Those written by others appear here because the authors asked me to add them to my collection. No, I don't necessarily agree with everything they say.
Feel free to use these as ideas for the basis of your own letters, but please don't just make copies of these letters and send them as your own. Keep in mind that these are copyrighted works and remain the property of the individual authors. If you wish to reprint a letter, whether on a web page, in print, or otherwise, please contact the original author.
I'm always amazed by the chutzpah of the gun haters. It seems that
they will say almost anything to promote their cause, to get the public
on their side.
They've claimed that the Supreme Court has "on more than forty occasions"
ruled that the Second Amendment is not about an individual right.
The truth is that it has never done so, and in fact, it has plainly
stated that the Second Amendment does refer to an individual right
(see for example, U.S. v Verdugo-Urquidez, 1990). Legislators who listen
to the Supreme Court are accused of being "unreasonable".
The gun haters are now telling us that the gun industry "largely got
around the federal [assault weapons] ban by changing the names and model
numbers of forbidden weapons." This is, as usual, the opposite of
the truth. The Federal law bans over two hundred guns by
describing forbidden features, such as bayonet lugs, pistol grips,
high capacity magazines, and so forth. Manufacturers can't get around
the Federal ban by simply changing names or model numbers.
Indeed, manufacturers complied with Federal law and removed the
forbidden features from their guns. Were they praised for complying
with the law? No, the gun haters have accused them of exploiting a
"loophole" in the law. This is like claiming that people who avoid
tickets by driving below the speed limit in Waldo are exploiting a
loophole in the law.
Examples of this sort of outrageous claim appear on an almost daily
basis. The most important question is why reporters are so eager to
publish the disinformation spread by the gun haters. Are the reporters
consciously supporting the lies, or are they simply too lazy to look
for the truth?
Anti-gun fanatics have a history of making claims that are, shall we
"interesting", but Charles Schneider's claim (published June 13) that the
U.S. Supreme Court "has on more than 40 occasions ruled that the
Second Amendment does not apply to individuals" is a real whopper.
I suspect that Mr. Schneider is the unfortunate victim of some else's
but in any case, the statement is just plain false. He should have said that
on more than forty occasions, the Court has refused to rule on the
meaning of the Second Amendment.
The Supreme Court has a tradition of refusing to hear controversial
before it has given Congress ample opportunity to find a compromise
solution to the problem. If history is any guide, the Court believes "ample
opportunity" means "at least fifty years".
By taking the position that the Supreme Court's failure to address the
question of the Second Amendment constitutes an endorsement of
current law, anti-gun zealots are placing themselves in the position of the
segregationists of the 1950s who similarly claimed that the Court's silence
on the subject constituted approval. When the Court finally decided to
hear an important segregation case (Brown v Board of Education), it
overturned existing segregation laws throughout the country, finally
starting the process of correcting more than sixty years of bad laws
upheld by bad lower court rulings.
Mr. Schneider might be surprised to learn that in a few recent cases
were otherwise unrelated to the Second Amendment, Supreme Court
opinions have referred to it as an example of an individual right protected
by the Constitution (U.S. v Verdugo-Urquidez, for example). These
cases, and other evidence, have led observers to believe that the Court
will soon agree to hear a Second Amendment case.
The Supreme Court has, in fact, only once ruled on the meaning of "the
right to keep and bear arms", when it held that it applies to military
weapons (United States v Miller, 1939). For fifty years, Congress abided
by this decision and did not attempt to outlaw private ownership of military
weapons. Recent changes in Federal law have resulted in several cases
that are filtering through the court system, and may yet lead to new rulings
by the Supreme Court.
June 13, 1999
The United States is the greatest nation in the world. We are unique
because of our Constitution. We, the people, like it that way.
Our Founding Fathers were incredibly intelligent. They wrote a document
that has lasted for several centuries. The Constitution and the original
Amendments were written to last far into the future. Mr. Robert Primack,
in his Letter to the Editor, printed June 1, 1999, says: "Incidentally, our
Founding Fathers could hardly have predicted the invention of modern arms."
Apparently, our Founding Fathers suddenly got stupid when they penned
the Second Amendment. Fortunately, they regained their intelligence as
they continued with their task.
It seems that there are many people (Americans?) Who would like to see
the Second Amendment abolished or rewritten. If they were successful,
I wonder what will then happen to the First Amendment? If the U.S.
Constitution were to be rewritten would we, the people, gain more
freedoms or loose our freedoms? Would we still have freedom of speech
or freedom of religion?
Published June 3, 1999
Are you frustrated by the amount of violence in our schools and society
in general? Are you frustrated that the NRA refuses to support "reasonable"
gun control measures?
If you really want to have a sense of frustration, try being a gun owner
NRA member right now. We are frustrated because legislation is being passed,
freedom being lost, strictly on emotion without regard to facts.
We can prove that the Second Amendment is an individual right, but we
get the information out to the public because of a biased media.
We can prove that more guns does NOT equal more crime. If fact, it has
shown that those areas of the country with non-intrusive gun laws have a lower
crime rate than those areas with strict gun control.
We can prove that guns save lives, that guns are used four to five times
often to stop crime than used in a criminal action.
We are frustrated because this information has been available for years,
Americans have not heard about Dr. John Lott's study on concealed carry laws
or Dr. Gary Kleck's study on defensive gun use or the dozens of other research
projects that prove guns are not the problem.
And we are really frustrated when people accuse gun owners and the NRA
wanting to arm criminals. The NRA has been at the forefront in challenging the
Government and the Clinton Administration to enforce the gun laws we already
have. For example, while President Clinton was claiming the the Brady Law's
waiting period stopped 250,000 felons from getting firearms at gun shops, he
fails to mention that there were only seven (yes, only SEVEN) people ever
convicted under the Brady Law. 250,000 vs. 7? What is wrong with this picture.
The NRA also helped start and fund "Project Exile" in Virginia, the
program the President is now using as a model for the rest of the country.
This program actively prosecutes gun violators in Federal Courts. And yes,
we are frustrated again because Clinton never mentioned that the NRA was
one of the moving forces behind getting it implemented and contributed its
own money to help fund it in Virginia.
And the ultimate frustration? Being blamed for events like the shooting
Littleton, Colorado. Gun owners are as outraged and angry as any other
Americans, perhaps even more so since firearms were used. But none of
the laws we have passed, none of the laws that Clinton is asking for now,
and none of the even more restrictive gun laws being pushed by the anti-gun
lobby would have prevented that event, because it is not about guns. Guns are
only a symptom of a much deeper problem.
Gun owners and the NRA are being reasonable when we demand that legislation
punish the criminals, not the law abiding. We are being reasonable when we ask
that the laws we have already passed are enforced. Why won't Handgun Control
Inc. be reasonable and help us stop crime rather than try to pass more ineffectual laws?
Another school shooting, another anguished cry for more gun control.
The claim is that kids now have easier access to guns than in the past.
Kids have always had access to firearms and in the past guns were
carried more openly by kids than now. I have a friend who use to take
his rifle to school, on the bus, and then go hunting on the way home.
Never even raised an eyebrow. Internet stories by other adults said
they use to carry their shotguns and rifles on their bicycles and the police
would only stop to remind them they couldn't shoot in city limits, then
they were on their way.
Back in high school (1966) I took two high powered rifles and three
pistols to school as part of my American History class. We were
studying WW2 and the guns I bought in were types that
had been used in the war. I took them to the office, checked them out
to take to class, walking through the halls without causing a scare and
then returned them to the office after my talk.
We even had a display case with a Russian machine gun and other
firearms from the Korean conflict set up for several months. Try that
in today's schools and see what happens.
Kids have always had easy access to guns in the home, but in the past
knew they would be in REAL trouble if they ever touched their parent's gun.
Personal responsibility!?!? What a concept!
The problem is not the guns, never has been, but they are easy targets
during tragedies like Littleton, Colorado. Access to firearms has not
changed over time (if anything it is MORE difficult than in the past due
to all the gun control laws we have already passed). The problem is we
are producing more violent kids than ever before and they turns to guns
to express that violence. Given that we constantly use violence as
entertainment, is there any wonder...should we really be surprised?
Once again we have a shooting tragedy at one of our Nation's schools.
As a gun owner and shooter, I'm appalled at the behavior of the two
students who killed or wounded 13 innocent people. I in no way support
their behavior or use of firearms.
But because of their actions, there will be a new call for stronger
control. My question is, "Why?"
What gun control law would have stopped them from committing this
odious deed? It was against the law for them to have guns and bombs at
school, illegal for them to possess guns at all and against the law for them
to take another's life. So, what other law would you like for them to break
before you will be convinced that laws don't stop terrorism, for that is
exactly what they are -- Urban Terrorist.
We talk about banning guns or restricting access, but these are
exactly the kind of people least effected. There were very smart
students and getting a gun would never be a problem for them.
Guns are very simple tools and are easily smuggled with other
contraband, like drugs (the students were reported to be drug users).
Banning didn't work with prohibition and it won't work with guns either.
Besides, research has shown, unequivocally, guns save more lives than
they take by a 4 to 1 ratio.
So, what is the solution? Allow trained teachers and administrators
to carry concealed firearms in school. I know it sounds counter
intuitive, but we have already seen it work at a school where a
student started shooting other students and an administrator,
retrieving a pistol from his car, kept the shooter at bay until police
arrived. The student said that if he had not been stopped,
there were other people on his list he wanted to kill.
Until we stop looking at gun control as a solution to these problems
and concentrate on what is causing some kids to behave this way,
we will be destined to repeat these tragedies over and over again,
and that is something we all can agree must stop.
17 May 1999
The drumbeat begins. After the Littleton tragedy, The Sun (and
few liberal politicians) predictably chant the gun-control mantra.
Over 20,000 gun laws already on the books; more will only render
helpless a greater portion of our population.
"Victim disarmament," some call it. The latest proposals
simply increase violence by primarily affecting only honest people.
Certainly none would have deterred the violence in Colorado.
Terrorist acts make us all struggle for answers, but we must not delude
ourselves; new laws will not help our morally bankrupt society reduce
violence in any way. How foolish and arrogant to believe governmental
regulations can fix the evil permeating our Godless nation.
Additional laws might be well meaning, but will be ineffective in
preventing future tragedies because they target symptoms and not root
causes of violence. No law will prevent anyone from obtaining
black-market weapons. No restrictions or even police guards can stop
anyone from secretly making crude bombs and surreptitiously placing
It is said that guns are more accessible these days. What nonsense!
Prior to 1968 anyone (even teenagers) could mail-order firearms
anonymously. Even so, using them for acts of violence in schools was
virtually unheard of.
So what's happening here? Our nation reaps a harvest of spiritual
depravity, and spiritual problems are not solved by passing laws.
A common thread in school shootings of recent years is the
perpetrators adherence to satanic cultism; extolling death, violence
and mayhem as a means of expression. Instances abound of student
sanctions prohibiting wearing t-shirts that say "Jesus loves you..."
but there were no sanctions for the Littleton students who wore
t-shirts proclaiming "God is dead," or "Ban Religion!" Has anybody
noticed the irony in this? I am reminded of the old saying:
"...what goes around, comes around..."
We should instill in our children that life has great value.
We should teach that life is one of the most precious things we have
(here on earth at least) and that how we live our lives and treat
others is one of the most important yardsticks to measure our own value.
Michael P. Baker
The North Port writer who jeers "compassionate conservatism" as a
wickedly funny oxymoron surely has it right. Learning compassion
from a politician is like learning public health from a pimp.
Politicians with "compassion" constantly in their mouths have led
our nation into its present state of glory:
1. We are at war, and we have the tax rates to prove it.
2. We are compassionately allied with former Nazis (Croats,
Bosnians and Albanians) against the most successful anti-Nazi
partisans in Europe ("to Balkanize" is to break up into small,
vicious bands and fight to the death. How smart can it be to
3. A compassionate federal bureaucrat's finger is in every
pie to assure that each entitlement and prohibition is followed to
the letter, or Washington will withhold its largess.
4. Compassionate victimhood has doubled our population.
Census will statistically sample the members of all the victim
categories, and discover that the population is really 450 million,
plus a few thousand oppressors who shouldn't count anyway.
5. Compassion in the courts tells us of poor misunderstood boys
led astray by subtly persuasive firearms.
6. Our compassionate national psyche forbids the mention of moral
standards (or their bases in Judeo-Christian religion or Eurocentric
culture) as politically incorrect.
7. Compassionate politicians are the best friends and defenders
the entertainment industry that drowns our youth in a mighty rolling
river of sewage and together they have...
8. Brought us the most compassionate national leadership that
Yes, goodness, the next time I hear a politician peddling "compassion,"
I will spit him out as I would a contagion, a carcinogen, or a bad oyster.
25 April 1999
Published 14 May 1999, with numerous edits, e.g., they deleted the part about the NRA supporting instant background checks.
There's been another tragic school shooting, and once again the gun
haters are taking advantage of misfortune to promote their political
agenda. Once again, they prey upon the emotions of the nation while
they trample on the truth. Never mind that it isn't true, they tell
you that this is the worst massacre to ever happen in an American school.
They tell you that the NRA promotes violence. They tell you that owning
a gun makes you want to commit crime. They tell you that outlawing guns
will reduce crime.
To the gun haters, the truth is an inconvenience which they choose to
ignore. They choose to ignore the fact that the NRA teaches more gun
safety courses than any other organization in the world, including the
U.S. military. And the fact that the NRA advocates increased penalties
for those who commit crimes with guns. And the fact that the NRA wrote
and supported the current Brady law, requiring instant criminal background
checks for gun sales throughout the country. And the fact that in the
short time since England outlawed all handguns, their crime rate has
skyrocketed to the point that for the first time ever, you are more
likely to be a victim of a violent crime in England than in the United
States, and that since Australia outlawed almost all guns a year ago,
their crime rate has begun a similar alarming increase.
The gun haters ignore the fact that in the 1950s and into the '60s,
was routine for rural high school students to take guns to school so
they could hunt for squirrels on their way home. In many large cities,
it was normal for students to get on the city bus and take their guns
to school because they were on the school rifle team and needed to
practice. Students certainly had more access to guns then than they
do now, yet the gun haters tell you that the opposite is true!
Don't let the gun haters fool you. They care more about their
of guns than about reducing crime. They are people who believe guns
are evil, and it has become their religion. They are people who believe
that owning guns makes you commit crimes. They are people who have
been taught that it's OK to lie if it promotes a cause they believe in.
Fortunately, as long as some of us care about the truth, there will
hope. Hope that our society will openly admit that guns don't cause
crime any more now than they did in the '50s. That our society will
admit we are dealing with the consequences of three decades of teaching
children that if they do something wrong, it's society's fault and not
theirs --leading them to believe that if something isn't right, society
must be punished.
We can still hope that our society will admit that we once again need
to start teaching children that "looking out for number one" is not
the most important thing in life, and that courtesy and consideration
toward others play an essential role in society. I hold on to that hope,
because I know that if it doesn't happen, our society will continue its
slide into anarchy, guns or no guns.
25 April 1999
The drumbeat begins. After the Littleton tragedy, The Sun and
few liberal politicians predictably chant the gun control mantra.
More draconian gun laws only render helpless a greater portion of
our population-- "victim disarmament," if you will. The nation already
has over 22,000 gun laws on the books. The proposed laws will only
increase violence by primarily effecting only honest people.
Acts of demented student terrorists make us struggle for answers, but
we must not delude ourselves; new laws will not help our morally
bankrupt society reduce violence in any way. How pitiably foolish and
arrogant to believe governmental regulations can fix the evil permeating
our Godless world.
The proposed new laws are well-meaning, but ineffective in preventing
future tragedies because they target symptoms and not root causes of
violence. None would prevent deranged young terrorists obtaining
black-market weapons. No kind of law or police guards can stop anyone
from secretly making crude bombs and surreptitiously placing them anywhere.
The old saying: "guns don't kill people, people do" is a cliché, but
still the truth. Years ago, guns were far more accessible to teenagers;
prior to 1968 anyone could mail-order firearms. Even so, using them to
commit acts of violence in schools was virtually unheard of.
So what's happening here? Our nation reaps the harvest of spiritual
depravity, and spiritual problems are not solved by passing laws. It's
"proper" these days to deny the spiritual reality of evil, but that
doesn't make it not so. A common thread in school shootings of recent
years is a professed adherence to satanic cultism, extolling death,
violence and mayhem as a means of expression.
Each of us should instill in our children that life has great value.
We should teach at every step that life is the most precious thing we
have (here on earth at least) and that the way we live our lives and
treat others is one of the most important yardsticks to measure our
Michael P. Baker
Since the shooting at Columbine HS in Littleton, CO many people have
placing some of the blame on the NRA.
I have always told people that as a member, "I'm the NRA", and
I want to
tell you right now... me and the NRA are NOT to blame one bit. I refuse
to allow the actions of Urban Terrorists to be placed on my shoulders.
I have to ask people, who condemn the NRA, just exactly how is this
NRA's fault? Because it opposes stronger gun control? Well, just what
additional gun control measure would have stopped these Urban
There are laws against kids having any guns, much less sawed off
shotguns, making bombs, carrying guns concealed without a permit and
most obviously, it is against the law to murder your fellow students.
So what restrictions would make a difference? Ban handguns?
students used much more deadly rifles, shotguns and bombs (some strong
enough to have blown up part of the school if it had gone off) along
with a handgun . No, banning handguns would not have helped
Register all guns? The FBI was able to traced the guns and found
were purchased legally from a local dealer. Aside from the fact
registration is is probably unconstitutional, how does registration
help? It doesn't
Require training before you can own a gun? These terrorists obviously
didn't need any training to inflict deadly harm and injury on others.
So, if you required training, maybe you would have taught them to do a
better job? Is that what you really want?
Trigger locks? These were smart, innovative kids. A trigger lock
a locked case would only slow them down a little or cause them to find
another source (black market). Even though the FBI trace showed the gun
to have been sold legally, we don't know at this time if they had been
stolen and sold to the teenagers or if the stole them from home. In any
event, these students would have defeated any "smart gun" or locking
device available. Remember, this attack appears to have been planned
The thing we have to remember is that guns are tools, neither good or
bad. Should we also hold the manufacturers of the hacksaw and drill
responsible for the bombs that were made or the nail manufacturer
responsible for the wounds caused by the flying nails contained in those
bombs? Should we ban trench coats because they make people turn evil?
Of course not. Neither can we hold the NRA or the gun manufacturers
responsible for the actions of estranged, disenfranchised terrorists.
The longer we concentrate on the symptoms of violence (illegal gun use)
the longer it will take us to make progress against violence.
As a gun owner and NRA member I'm outraged, saddened, shocked frustrated
and angry by the actions of the two gun wielding terrorists. In this
regard, I am no different than any other American. Simply because these
terrorist used firearms, and I happen to be a gun owner, does not make
me, or the NRA, guilty by association.
Those who compare the current situation in Kosovo with Vietnam are
right on the money. According to recent AP wire stories, military
commanders are already complaining that Bill Clinton is placing the
same restrictions on them that were placed on the military during the
Viet Nam war. The result of prohibiting the military from using the
tactics necessary to win the war will be, as it was then, a war that cannot
Ground troops? Anyone who believes Bill Clinton when he says that
won't use ground troops must be willing to believe anything. The most
fundamental of all the lessons of Viet Nam was that bombing alone
cannot win a war. When the shooting stops, the winner is the side that
has troops on the ground, and no matter how heavily we bomb them, the
Yugoslav army will control the ground just as Iraqi troops did in Kuwait,
looting and vandalizing the country throughout the bombing until our
ground troops finally chased them out. The most intense bombing in
history didn't keep supplies from moving down the Ho Chi Min trail, and
it won't keep Serbians from killing Albanians.
NATO already has several thousand ground troops (including over
4,000 Americans) waiting on the Yugoslavian border. Clinton has
already said that "peacekeeping" troops may have to be sent in after the
air campaign. What will happen after the "peacekeepers" move in?
There won't be any Albanians left to "protect", but as we saw in Bosnia,
the difference between a soldier and a peacekeeper is that a soldier is
allowed to shoot back...
In his book written during the 1996 election campaign, Clinton
commented that he wished he could be President during something like
World War II so that he would have a real foreign policy challenge.
Neglecting the fact that WW II was not much of a foreign policy
challenge, but was instead a tremendous military challenge, he may
soon get what he wants. Isn't this beginning to look like a war waged
solely to satisfy Clinton's need to prove his manhood? When will we
draw the line and tell this jerk to get lost?
June, 1998 (Apparently published in the Sun: although I never saw it, others did)
Recent letters and columns in the Sun have highlighted the anti-gun
repeated use of deception and falsehoods to promote their cause. Perhaps the
most flagrant of these was Bernard Feder's column of June 6th. Let's take a look
at the deceptions he trotted out, and compare them to reality:
Deception: We never hear of killings with weapons other than guns.
Truth: That doesn't mean they don't happen. We don't hear about
the press seems to think non-gun deaths aren't newsworthy. For example,
"semiautomatic assault weapons" so demonized by the anti-gun zealots are (and
always have been) used in far fewer killings than are knives, or even bare hands
Deception: Gun control works, and if it doesn't work, the reason is
that guns are
brought in from neighboring areas with lax gun laws.
Truth: Mr. Feder's explanation is that areas like Washington D.C. and
City are "surrounded by areas from which guns are easily brought in." If that were
the reason for their high homicide rates, the "surrounding areas" would have an
even higher homicide rates. Instead, it's the areas with the strictest gun control
that consistently have the highest homicide rates.
Deception: Japan has had no recent child gun-related deaths.
Truth: Japan has a violent crime rate among youth that is higher than
the U.S., and
a student murder rate higher than the U.S. They use knives. Like other anti-gun
zealots, Mr. Feder seems to think that murders don't count if they aren't
committed with guns.
Deception: The U.S. has a higher gun homicide rate than "any civilized
earth, except Northern Ireland".
Truth: There are "civilized places" that have overall homicide
rates as high as, or
higher than, the U.S., but they manage to do it with fewer guns. Mr. Feder's own
example of Northern Ireland is a country in which private ownership of guns is
completely forbidden, yet it has a higher gun homicide rate than the U.S. Clearly,
banning guns doesn't do much to stop homicide if the population is inclined to
Deception: The reason that gun homicide rates in Switzerland are low
Swiss military reserve members face severe punishment if the seal on their
ammunition box is broken when they report for duty, and are required to attend
regular shooting practice.
Truth: The reason for this rule is to ensure the Swiss soldiers will
if they need it. They can buy additional ammunition for recreational shooting
either at private stores, or at reduced prices at government subsidized ranges. If
you fall back on Mr. Feder's other assertion, you must conclude that we should
require every high school student to attend regular shooting practice.
Deception: The Supreme Court ruled that the only purpose of the Second
Amendment is to assure the effectiveness of state militias.
Truth: This claim relies on you to misunderstand the word "militia".
A "militia" is
not a group of armed men. A "Militia" is a group of people who are eligible to be
called to military service (or other public service). The Constitution of Florida,
for example, defines the militia as "all able-bodied inhabitants of the state who are
or have declared their intention to become citizens of the United States." The
case Feder refers to, by the way, was United States v Miller (1938).
Deception: No federal court has ever struck down a gun control law of
as a violation of the 2nd Amendment.
Truth: The Miller case mentioned above reached the Supreme Court after
Federal District Court declared the National Firearms Act of 1934 unconstitutional,
so clearly at least one court has done so. Other than that case, there have
been few opportunities for federal courts to consider the Second Amendment,
because until recently, Congress never passed outright bans on guns (Miller's
crime was failing to pay a tax).
It's time to stop listening to the anti-gun zealots and their deceptions.
case of a 15-year-old girl beaten and hanged by her classmates clearly shows that
children don't need guns to kill each other. We all know that back when teenagers
could legally buy guns (by mail, if they wished) we didn't have a problem with
mass murder in our schools. We all know that owning a gun doesn't automatically
turn you into a homicidal maniac any more than owning a car makes you run over
bicyclists who annoy you. And it's time we finally admit that we need to start
dealing with the true causes of violence in our society instead of wasting our time
arguing about guns.
Apologize for slavery? The U.S. government went to war for over
years to end it. The U.S. government sent over three hundred thousand
of its young, white soldiers (and one president) to their deaths to end it.
Isn't asking the federal government to apologize for slavery sort of like asking
the federal government to apologize for the attack on Pearl Harbor?