My Son Joey

(Speech given by Second Amendment Sister, Arizona State Coordinator, Carma Lewis at the Washington Mall Washington, D.C. Mothers Day May 14, 2000)

My son JoeyI remember it vividly. On New Years Eve 1991, my precious 12-year-old son, Joey, perpetually loving, smiling Joey, the light of my life and an endless source of happiness, was murdered. Someone deliberately took away my son’s chance to even begin to experience life. Someone who had received society’s message that human life held little or no value in the eyes of the law.

Over the years, I have learned to mentally numb the incomprehensible pain of the loss with the sure and certain knowledge that one glorious day in heaven I will once again hold my beautiful son in my arms. But what is so hard to accept, in fact, what is impossible to understand, is the lack of remorse by his killer and the complete lack of action and compassion by the Criminal Justice System.

On that tragic New Years Eve, my 2 older sons had gone rabbit hunting and target shooting with several friends. This is a lawful and time-honored activity for boys in rural Utah. Not only had they been raised with a healthy respect for firearms, they had also successfully completed a hunter safety course which added to my confidence that they would be safe.

One of the boys who went along with my sons and their friends talked strangely and casually about how easy he thought it would be to kill someone and get away with it. Unfortunately, no one really believed that he meant anything by those weird, offhand remarks. But an hour later, after the group had returned safely home, my youngest son Joey, lay dead; murdered by a close range gunshot wound to his head.

Joey’s killer did not claim that it was an accident. He did not even try to claim that he didn’t know the gun was loaded. His act was purely premeditated and he admitted that he just wanted to know what it was like to kill someone. So what happened to that kid? He was released to the custody of his parents and later sentenced to undergo 6 weeks of counseling for “HIS” trauma, but not for his deadly actions. Officials didn’t even care enough to schedule a hearing until I threatened media exposure. My son was the victim of an evil heart and a demented mind; he is not a poster boy for “gun control”. Gun control advocates have successfully diverted the focus from the vicious perpetrator- to the gun. A killer took my son’s life, not a gun!

It is fitting that we bring our fight here to Washington, D.C., where our nation’s lawmakers debate and pass the laws that affect our everyday lives and security. However, the almost total ban on firearms here has created a lawless atmosphere that has made Washington, D.C. the most dangerous large city in the United States. This city is now a “government sanctioned killing zone.”

We all certainly sympathize with the casualties of the school shootings that have taken place in our country. Every child deserves to be safe in their school and their home. But what is the legacy of gun control in this country? Has it ever made us safer? The Clinton Administration has been the most anti-self defense, pro-gun ban administration in US history, yet there have been more school shooting rampages by students during Bill Clinton’s 7 year reign than the sum total that occurred in the previous 377 years of American history. If gun control worked, the results would have been the opposite.

I for one am sick and tired of the lies, emotional manipulations, and half-truths from gun control advocates. We want everyone to understand that firearm owners are on the same side as the Million Mom Marchers and that we are here because we too want our homes, our families, and our communities to be safe and protected. Firearm owners are not stubbornly insisting that their rights be preserved at the expense of others. Rather, we stubbornly stand for our right, as well as your right to defend ourselves against violent criminals.

I would like to ask each one of them why they support laws that empower the criminal and makes victims of our children. I would like to ask them why, if gun control works, do we have more crime today in big cities with tougher gun prohibitions? I would ask them, why did we have less crime 35 years ago, when there were practically no gun control laws in this country? I would ask them, why do they not place most of their emphasis on locking up the repeat violent offenders who continue to victimize us? I ask them now, why aren’t you addressing these real issues instead of telling us to give up our right to defend our loved ones and ourselves?

Time and time again history has proven that gun control increases violent crime by shifting the balance of power to favor violent criminals and leaving the law-abiding citizens as defenseless as “sitting ducks”. In this election year they will be attempting more restrictions and limitations on your Second Amendment rights. We must never lose sight of the ultimate goal of our opponents, which is TOTAL AND COMPLETE disarmament of all lawful gun owners. Even the recent cry to close the “gun show loophole” is just a calculated trick to prohibit all private sales of firearms without government registration. This election year is your “CALL TO ARMS”.

This is not just a gun control issue this is a fight to preserve the Second Amendment, or better yet, our civil rights. In the words of Benjamin Franklin: “If you are willing to give up freedom for security, you deserve neither.”