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Open Letter to John Kline: Work to Ban Assault Weapons; Make Us Safer

Letter writer: There is no good reason for a civilian to own a modified M-16 assault weapon.

Editor's note: The following is an open letter to Congressman John Kline, in response to an article Burnsville Patch ran on Dec. 19 titled: Rep. Kline Calls Newtown Tragedy 'Unthinkable;' Mum on Gun Laws.

To the editor, and Congressman Kline,

I am writing today out of deep concern for the safety of fellow citizens, as well as my family and children. I sincerely hope, in light of the recent , that you will seriously re-consider your stance on banning assault weapons. 

There is no hunting rifle that requires a magazine clip of 30 rounds. There is NO CIVILIAN who would ever need to carry that type of fire power. The hunting argument is completely absurd. I grew up in Northeastern Wisconsin. Most homes had cabinets full of guns, mine included. There were no M-16 style assault weapons needed for hunting deer.

The paranoid delusion that I will, at some point in the near future, need an automatic weapon to defend myself from my government, which NRA supporters have specifically stated in the past few days in regards to a Syrian-style civil war, is not even an argument—it’s madness. 

With all due respect, Congressman, if you follow this logic of Second Amendment supporters who are stockpiling automatic weapons in fear of “The Guvvermint” you are supporting homegrown terrorism. 

Please think carefully about your responsibility to help prevent another mass murder. This country has suffered through many multiple mass shootings in the past few decades and this must stop. These are senseless deaths and innocent lives are taken because of ... what?  Our Right to bear arms? Ask yourself in a quiet moment if you really believe that our forefathers meant for the Second Amendment to breed a culture of murder. Children are being slaughtered by the very guns the Second Amendment claims to bear witness to their protection. 

The Second Amendment was written in 1791. This is a vastly different world than 1791. The original Constitution thought that slavery was a good idea and women voting was a bad idea. It is time to re-think our allegiance to an Amendment that is outdated and destructive. The wording of the Second Amendment is being abused by special interest groups such as the NRA. 

Congressman Kline, I ask that you seriously consider a ban of assault weapons and high capacity magazines.  I am also asking that Congress look to repeal the 2005 Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms  Act. This law protects gun manufacturers from any wrong-doing in the event of an execution. 

Sandy Hook elementary was the 16th mass murder of innocents in the United States in 2012. Please do your part to make this country safer. 

Julia Krause-Michelsen, Dakota County

Mac Hall December 22, 2012 at 06:22 PM
Thank you for taking the time to write Chairman Kline with your thoughts. It should be noted that Chairman Kline is a four-time Republican winner at the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation’s shoot-out. Every year, members of Congress who attend the shoot-out spend an afternoon in a friendly competition shooting trap, skeet, and sporting clays. The event is sponsored by Remington, Winchester, Cabella's and many others. It would be interesting to know how many of the Congressional members used a semiautomatic assault Bushmaster assault rifle ? And how many own a Bushmaster. It should also be noted that Chairman Kline received the endorsement of the National Rifle Association Political Victory Fund (NRA-PVF). Part of the rationale was Kline vote for “The Sportsmen’s Heritage Act,” which would promote America’s hunting heritage and positively impact sportsmen throughout the country. Interestingly, legislation that would reduce the deficit by $5 million over the next decade, according to CBO, has been rejected by Senate Republicans over concerns of a $10 increase in the price of the federal duck stamp, which raise money to conserve wetlands habitat and are required to hunt migratory waterfowl. A wide variety of hunting groups support the increase IF Republicans in Congress will not support even a ten dollar increase, the likelihood of them supporting any regulations involving assault weapons or a bans on high-capacity magazines is doubtful.
Susan Moreau December 22, 2012 at 08:01 PM
It saddens me that our elected official choose to give more attention to those who are able to give large amounts for reelection (NRA) rather than those they are supposed to represent. It is time to stop the madness.... there is no need for assult weapons or clips with a high volume of bullets to be sold or owned in a civilized society... I would ask Mr Kline to help stop this maddness....
Oddbod December 22, 2012 at 10:59 PM
It should be noted by the author of the above piece that the 2nd Amendment has nothing whatsoever to do with hunting & everything to do with defense, be it personal, national or against tyranny.
Mac Hall December 23, 2012 at 05:36 AM
Hi Oddbod, Thanks for reading my comment. While the wording of the Second Amendment may be interpreted as you state, the Supreme Court has including hunting and self protection. In 2008, the U. S. Supreme Court, in District of Columbia vs. Heller, in a 5 to 4 majority, Justice Scalia found the right to bear arms to be an individual right consistent with the overriding purpose of the 2nd Amendment. Essentially, the Court concluded that the Second Amendment does establish an individual right to keep and bear arms for self-defense and hunting. At the same time, the Court recognized that the government can regulate gun rights. The Court said its decision should not be interpreted to question the right of government to: prohibit felons and the mentally ill from owning weapons, prohibit guns in schools or public buildings, ban certain categories of guns not commonly used for self-defense, and to establish certain other conditions on gun ownership. Thus the key point, there is an individual right to keep and bear arms for self-defense, but by saying that this right extends only to weapons in "common use" for such purposes .... thus, the question : does a semiautomatic Bushmaster assault rifle fit into the category of guns not commonly used for self-defense ? Where is the line ... any problem with rocket-propelled grenade launchers ? BTW, under the National Firearms Act, a RPG can be legally owned as a "Destructive Device". Mac Hall
White Feather December 24, 2012 at 01:50 AM
Sorry but the ruling of 5-4 was on the constitutionality of the Wshington D,C gun ban. One has to read all the summaries to udnerstand that all 9 justices agreed with the previous lower court ruling that it was and always has been an individual right separate of militia service. Then one must review MIller vs US 1939 where the two pronged test of acceptable firearms was used and agreed upon, and semi-auto weapons are indeed acceptable.
Rick Petrekovic December 24, 2012 at 02:10 AM
Millions of pistols, rifles, and shotguns in the hand of law abiding citizens are semi - automatic. i.e. they shoot each time you pull the trigger/one round at a time. What is the difference between an AR rifle and any other sporting rifle that is also semi - automatic? Absolutely no difference if the clips are limited to same number of rounds. Truley automatic weapons have illegal for a long time.Rick Petrekovic
White Feather December 24, 2012 at 01:02 PM
Shall we review how magazine capacity doesn’t affect didley, yeah, lets. It will be looked at as a time study, we who set manufacturing processes up do lots of these studies to accurately predict labor , material usages, predictions and savings. All victims at Sandyhook were shot between 3 to 11 times, avg. 7.5 x 26 dead = 194 shots fired Adam Lanza tried to open a locked door, couldn’t, so he shot the glass out to gain entry upon which time the principal and another person came from the office and confronted Lanza who then killed them both. Total elapsed time, approx 1 minute. Then Lanza walked down the hallway to the 1st kinder-garden classroom about 150 ft away, max time to do so, 25 seconds, where he killed most of the victims. Lanza then walked across the hall 25 ft away, max time 15 seconds. Whereupon he killed the remaining victims. Professional shooter can change a magazine in 1.4 seconds, someone familiar with the weapon, which Adam was, can do so in 3.0 seconds.
White Feather December 24, 2012 at 01:03 PM
Response times by the police range from 2 minutes at Aurora was due to them being lucky enough to be near, most times 10 to 12 minutes from first call. Since we know that he fired approx 194 rounds, using 30 round magazines, that is 6 magazine changes x 3.0 seconds = 18 seconds. Cyclic rate for the semi-auto rifle/pistol is 60 rounds per minute so 1 shot for every pull of the trigger per second = 194 seconds. Total times Office killing 1min=60secs Hallway walk to 1st room = 25 seconds Hallway walk to 2nd room = 15 seconds Shootings =194 seconds Reloads = 18 seconds 312 seconds total = 5.2 minutes Now if Lanza had been limited to 10 round magazines as antis claim would limit the ease of killing, at 3 seconds reloads, needs 20 magazines = 19 reloads x 3 seconds = 57 seconds. That is an additional 39 seconds to the total = 5.81 minutes total. Since the time from the first shooting to the time the police entered the building and approached the shooter was right at 12 minutes whereupon he shot himself, explain again how the 10 round magazines would have made a difference when there was 6.19 minutes of spare time for the shooter to screw up and take his time?
Jennifer December 24, 2012 at 03:27 PM
Absolutely agree with the author. We can continue to walk down the path of ignorance or down a path of enlightenment. We've chosen, as a country, to be willfully ignorant of reality and cling to a belief that the infinitesimal chance of needing to protect ourselves against our own government bears more weight in society than the actual REALITY that children are being killed in their schools. We can continue to let extreme Right views take us down this path where every person will feel the need to be armed even if they don't want to be, just to protect against the crazies or we can use some common sense and take our cues from countries which have a higher-standard for their citizens. There are countries with much stricter gun controls who have virtually no crimes using a weapon, better test scores in schools, happier citizens and better health. Or, we can continue to live in the past like John Wayne, killing each other and living in constant fear of people who are brandishing weapons, uninsured for mental health care and paranoid about government. Incidentally, the media plays a part in this. Fox News has everyone thinking that the world is going to end based on an election, that the government is out to get them and that we need to all be doomsday preppers hoarding gold. All other media, Fox included, is heralding people like the Newtown shooter as a celebrity. We need change on all fronts, and restricting weapons which are designed to murder en masse is a good start.

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