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omgwtfbbq
08-08-2012, 2:43 PM
Hey folks. I have been working on a letter I want to send to a couple local news publications in regards to SB249. I was hoping I could run it past my fellow calgunners and see if/what I can improve on. It's my first letter to an editor so I'm not 100% on the procedure or length. I'm more used to writing college term papers, so I imagine its going to be far too long, haha. Thanks in advance for the advice.


Dear Editor:

This letter is in regards to the recent efforts by California State Senator Leland Yee and others to institute a ban on semi automatic firearms in California which utilize "Bullet Button" or "maglock" style devices. Under current law a vast array of firearms have been outlawed based on technical and aesthetic features, in conjunction with the use of detachable magazines. The suggestion by Yee and his supporters is that the gun industry has exploited the currently law's reliance on the "detachable magazine" as the point of legality by manufacturing and marketing products like the Bullet Button which fix the magazine in place, thereby making the firearm legal to own in CA In addition, Yee and others claim these products to be a danger to public safety given recent events. This Law is called SB 249 (Yee) and is currently in committee consideration in the State Assembly. In the following I wish to address the concerns of Senator Yee and those who support him with pragmatism, not rhetoric or conjecture.


Firstly, the is no industry loophole. The maglock/Bullet Button exception is effectively written into the original CA Assault Weapons ban. It has nothing to do with the "big bad" gun industry trying to flood the streets with assault weapons. We law abiding citizens came up with the demand for such products and the market responded.

The fundamental flaw of SB 249 and others like it is a lack of pragmatism especially when it comes to Yee and his supporters fear of Bullet Buttoned weapons as a threat to public safety. We Californians have lived under the nation's most stringent gun legislation for decades and yet we have seen no relationship as far as a reduction in gun crime. This is of course, because there is no definitive relationship between the intensity of gun control legislation and the rates of gun crime when compared to other states. Tightening gun restrictions is not a magic bullet, no pun intended. The issue is far more complex than that.

In the end those who would be most greatly affected by SB 249 are those who might someday have to defend their or their loved one's lives and who will find themselves grossly outgunned. It's illogical to assume that because lawmakers outlaw certain types of guns or features thereof that all the gang members, drug dealers, and murders in California would notice. SB 249 will not decrease crime, in fact, it will increase it. If it passes thousands of law abiding gun owners will be made criminals overnight.

One of the most important moments in our nation's history is Lincoln's famous Emancipation Proclamation given during the Civil War. The Proclamation is generally well known, however a passage granting slaves the key civil right to self defense has largely gone unrecognized. It may seem unfair to some to compare slavery to the issue of gun rights. However, I believe that in fact this aspect of the Proclamation is even more valuable to the debate of gun rights. The issue of gun rights is not limited to race nor even creed, gender or sexual orientation. We are all being stripped of our right to self defense, a human civil right, and if unopposed eventually we will be stripped of our humanity.

With the previous statement in mind, I close this letter by posing the question: If we are not allowed to protect our lives, how are ever to value it or appreciate its beauty, and more over how can we ever value or appreciate the lives of others?

Sincerely,

omgwtfbbq

(I will include my real name but for the purpose of posting it here I do not feel the need for recognition)

nidhogg24
08-08-2012, 2:54 PM
I believe you have a well written letter with just a few grammatical errors.

Dr Rockso
08-08-2012, 3:15 PM
First I wish to state that there is absolutely no evidence suggesting that legally possessed or purchased firearms equipped with Bullet Button or Maglock type devices have ever been used in a malicious violent crime in the state of CA.
Without getting into details, that's probably not true. It is certainly rare for rifles of any type to be used in crimes, however.

We the people of CA have lived under the nation's more stringent gun legislation for decades and yet our state still boasts one of the highest levels of gun crime in the nation.
The most recent UCR data I've found puts CA in about the ~30% percentile of firearms homicide rate, which to me puts CA more toward the middle of the pack then amongst the highest. There are a number of pro-gun states with higher rates than CA, and a lot with lower rates. There's also the obvious chicken-and-egg problem where some areas had high gun crime rates, adopted strict gun control, and yet their crime rates remained high. Their gun crime rates didn't become high because of gun control, but it also didn't do anything to alleviate the problem.

strongpoint
08-08-2012, 3:21 PM
a local news publication (i assume you mean a newspaper) is unlikely to run something that long as a letter. you'll have better luck cutting it down into a series of separate 100-150 word chunks that concisely address individual points you'd like to make.

mt4design
08-08-2012, 3:24 PM
I like it, but I do not like this line,

"I am not a partisan individual,"

Do not waffle. You've taken a stand and though the "pill is difficult to swallow" there are too many good men and women who died to protect and defend our rights.

Why should any of us feel we are better than them and unwilling to do the same?

If you are for the U.S. Constitution you are a partisan and you should feel damn proud of that.

omgwtfbbq
08-08-2012, 3:24 PM
Without getting into details, that's probably not true. It is certainly rare for rifles of any type to be used in crimes, however.


The most recent UCR data I've found puts CA in about the ~30% percentile of firearms homicide rate, which to me puts CA more toward the middle of the pack then amongst the highest. There are a number of pro-gun states with higher rates than CA, and a lot with lower rates. There's also the obvious chicken-and-egg problem where some areas had high gun crime rates, adopted strict gun control, and yet their crime rates remained high. Their gun crime rates didn't become high because of gun control, but it also didn't do anything to alleviate the problem.

This is good stuff. I really appreciate the information. Edit incoming.

Librarian
08-08-2012, 3:31 PM
a local news publication (i assume you mean a newspaper) is unlikely to run something that long as a letter. you'll have better luck cutting it down into a series of separate 100-150 word chunks that concisely address individual points you'd like to make.

True; Contra Costa Times for example, uses 200 as the max.

Even the OpEds are limited to about 450.

Pick one point. Make accurate assertions but do not bother to document them - that won't survive into the printed version. Something like 'The FBI's annual Uniform Crime Reports for 2011 tells us xxx, yyy, zzz' usually covers the ground.

Bruceisontarget
08-08-2012, 3:40 PM
Most liberal papers in California won't publish it... unless you blame Bush or Republicans in some way.

Mulamu
08-08-2012, 3:44 PM
Very good. A few suggestions: 1) get is below 500 words to increase chance of publication 2) make no more than 3 points 3) take out the history part. Here are a few tweaks:

Dear Editor:

California State Senator Leland Yee and others are attempting turn tens of thousands of law-abiding Californians into criminals by banning semi-automatic firearms that use a tool to remove the magazine. California, which already has the nation's most stringent gun law, allows Californians to possess military-type rifles like the AR-15 or AK-47 if the magazine can be removed with a tool. Tens of thousands of law-abiding gun owners possess these weapons. Yee's bill would ban these weapons, turning thousands of law-abiding Californians into criminals and not making the state any safer.

Statements such as “California must ban assault weapons” show a need for more education about the function of commonly-used firearms in California. There are an estimated 400,000 of these firearms in California, yet there is not a single reported incident of anyone in California ever committing a violent crime using a weapon with the features banned by this legislation. Instead, for over a decade Californians have been using these weapons in compliance with the Assault Weapons ban. This law will punish those Californians who follow the law and do nothing to increase the penalty on criminals who use guns in violent crime.

California has lived under the nation's most stringent gun legislation for decades and yet our state still suffers one of the highest levels of violent crime in the nation. That is because laws like this only hurt law abiding gun-owners and do nothing to stop criminals. In the end, this law hurts those who may have to defend themselves or their loved ones from armed criminals who will always disobey the law.

If these legislators really feel "there ought to be a law," they should consider increasing the penalty on those who commit violent crimes using these weapons. It is the illegal use of firearms, and not ownership, which should be the subject of legislative control. This gun ban is not the answer.

Sincerely,

omgwtfbbq
08-08-2012, 3:47 PM
I like it, but I do not like this line,

"I am not a partisan individual,"

Do not waffle. You've taken a stand and though the "pill is difficult to swallow" there are too many good men and women who died to protect and defend our rights.

Why should any of us feel we are better than them and unwilling to do the same?

If you are for the U.S. Constitution you are a partisan and you should feel damn proud of that.

I put that sentence in because I was trying to sort of assuage the public concern about "right-wing wackos" since in reality the gun owning community spans pretty much all political affiliations even though the majority of us are conservative (not myself)

I ended up deleting that portion anyway. In the end it really doesn't matter who I am. This is an issue for everyone to be concerned about, regardless of external factors like political affiliation etc etc.

omgwtfbbq
08-08-2012, 4:02 PM
True; Contra Costa Times for example, uses 200 as the max.

Even the OpEds are limited to about 450.

Pick one point. Make accurate assertions but do not bother to document them - that won't survive into the printed version. Something like 'The FBI's annual Uniform Crime Reports for 2011 tells us xxx, yyy, zzz' usually covers the ground.

The local paper I have in mind has published whole page OpEds and letters to the editor before. There's not exactly a lot going on in the Yuba-Sutter area so space really isn't at a premium but I am definitely doing what I can to trim the fat.

mt4design
08-08-2012, 4:38 PM
I put that sentence in because I was trying to sort of assuage the public concern about "right-wing wackos" since in reality the gun owning community spans pretty much all political affiliations even though the majority of us are conservative (not myself)

I ended up deleting that portion anyway. In the end it really doesn't matter who I am. This is an issue for everyone to be concerned about, regardless of external factors like political affiliation etc etc.

I get it completely.

I suppose I am sensitive to this because I believe standing up for the Constitution should be a no brainer.

It isn't a left/right issue, it is standing up for that which made this nation a beacon of hope for the entire world.

It is a shame that the Constitution is now under fire because the ultra left finds it an inconvenience to advancing their agenda.

I really like the shortened version.

It's clear, concise and coherent and I applaud you for taking the stand and putting your self out there!