A Letter to My Senator

From VA constituent Nicki Fellenzer

Dear Senator Warner,

It appears, from the form letter you had some flunky write to me, that you either did not read the last letter I sent you, or you did not comprehend it. Since you are an attorney by trade, I seriously doubt you misunderstood my objective. Ergo, I have to assume, that your constituents’ views mean about as little to you as the Constitution on which you have decided to spit.

Therefore, I find myself writing you a very public letter in reply to the note I received from your office a few days ago.

Your letter states:

"During the Senate’s consideration of S.1805, the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, I offered an amendment to the gun immunity bill based on legislation that Senator Feinstein and I introduced, S.2109 (the Assault Weapons Ban Reauthorization Act). This amendment would have extended the Assault Weapons Ban for another ten years, and it passed the Senate with bipartisan support by a vote of 52-47. However, the gun immunity bill, S.1805, failed in the Senate by a vote of 8 to 90. Our bill, S.2109, is still pending before the Senate."

Well, no kidding, Senator! We all know what happened in the Senate that day. You and your gun banner friends polluted a decent piece of legislation meant to protect lawful businesses from destructive lawsuits aimed at simply shutting them down and destroying the gun industry. Thanks to the very public outcry of gun owners all over the United States, your pathetic attempt to slide through the so-called “Assault” weapons ban extension on the back of a popular piece of legislation failed. And please don’t try and pass the nine traitors who, along with you, voted in favor of this unconstitutional ban as “bipartisan support.” I know better. Senators Chaffee, Collins, DeWine, Fitzgerald, Gregg, Lugar, Smith, Snowe and Voinovich can hardly be described as conservatives. None of the RINO Nine received above a “C-“ grade from Gun Owners of America. In fact, most of them merited the lowest ratings possible.

Your letter continues:

"Signed into law in 1994, the Assault Weapons Ban placed a 10 year prohibition on the domestic manufacture, transfer or possession of certain semi-automatic assault weapons. The ten year ban ends on September 13, 2004. Consequently, unless Congress and the President act prior to September 13, 2004, weapons like Uzis and AK-47s will once again be produced in America, and more and more often, these weapons will fall into the hands of criminals who lurk in our neighborhoods. …"

And here I thought vacuous scare tactics and emotionalist rhetoric were endemic to Democrats! Implying that there are criminals “lurking” around every corner just waiting to get their grimy little paws on “assault” weapons …

… trying to scare the public into buying your fascist agenda is despicable.

But it is even more despicable, because your claims are false. We all have access to the Bureau of Justice Statistics website, Senator. But for those who do not, their study entitled, “Guns Used in Crime,” illuminates a few important facts:

  • Although most crime is not committed with guns, most gun crime is committed with handguns.
  • Surveys of inmates show that they prefer concealable, large caliber guns.
  • The FBI's Supplemental Homicide Reports show that 57% of all murders in 1993 were committed with handguns, 3% with rifles, 5% with shotguns, and 5% with firearms where the type was unknown.
  • Research by Wright and Rossi in the 1980's found that most criminals prefer guns that are easily concealable, large caliber, and well made. Their studies also found that the handguns used by the felons interviewed were similar to the handguns available to the general public, except that the criminals preferred larger caliber guns.
  • A study by the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services reviewed the files of 600 firearm murders that occurred in 18 jurisdictions from 1989 to 1991. The study found that handguns were used in 72% of the murders (431 murders). Ten guns were identified as assault weapons, including five pistols, four rifles, and one shotgun.
  • In the 1991 BJS Survey of State Inmates, about 8% of the inmates reported that they had owned a military-type weapon, such as an Uzi, AK-47, AR-15, or M-16. Less than 1% said that they carried such a weapon when they committed the incident for which they were incarcerated. A Virginia inmate survey conducted between November 1992 and May 1993 found similar results: About 10% of the adult inmates reported that they had ever possessed an assault rifle, but none had carried it at the scene of a crime.

Therefore, Senator, your contention that somehow criminals are lurking in our neighborhoods just waiting to get their hands on an “assault” weapon, which they hardly used in the first place is disingenuous at best and an outright lie meant to scare us into supporting your political agenda at worst.

Your letter continues:

"Some in the Senate, including myself, opposed the ban a decade ago, believing it would do little to reduce crime, and fearing it could threaten the Constitutional rights of law-abiding gun-owners and hunters. However, a decade of experience has provided us with key facts, and, consequently, my opinions on the ban have evolved."

What facts are those, Senator Warner? What has the “assault” weapon ban done to reduce crime, when these weapons were hardly ever used in crime in the first place? Are you claiming now that the ban does not threaten the Constitutional rights of law-abiding gun owners? And if that’s the case, please point out the portion of the Second Amendment which allows you and your fellow fascists to make certain types of arms unavailable to the people, whose right to keep and bear arms the Bill of Rights defends. I’ll give you a clue, Senator Warner – there is NOTHING in the Bill of Rights that authorizes you to infringe upon my rights as a gun owner in such a manner. The Second Amendment clearly states that “…the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” The dictionary definition of “infringe” is: To break or disregard the terms of requirements of, as an oath or law; violate; To transgress or trespass on rights or privileges; encroach. So which part of “shall not be infringed” is unclear to you, Senator Warner?

Your letter states:

"The Assault Weapons Ban has made our communities safer, and has not infringed on the rights of law-abiding citizens. Recent Department of Justice records indicate that the use of banned weapons in crimes has declined measurably – by 65 percent in one analysis – since the measure took effect, and law enforcement officials from across Virginia, and indeed across the United States have supported an extension of the Assault Weapons ban because they know it makes America’s communities safer."

According to the National Institute of Justice, which conducted a study on the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban, the following is true:

  • The ban has failed to reduce the average number of victims per gun murder incident or multiple gunshot wound victims.
  • The public safety benefits of the 1994 ban have not yet been demonstrated.
  • The ban triggered speculative price increases and ramped-up production of the banned firearms.

And even IF the 65 percent analysis was true, may I remind you that the number of crimes in which these weapons were used is so miniscule, that even a tiny reduction would give you that 65 percent figure. In other words, Senator Warner, using percentages when your initial sample is inadequate is another gun banner manipulation technique, and you fell for it.

You also mention that law enforcement “officials” support the ban. Since when do the views of a relatively small number of bureaucrats matter more than the views of the people whom you are supposed to represent? Believe me, Senator, I respect our men and women in blue. However, considering that according to the National Association of Police Chiefs Survey, 92.7% of law enforcement officials believe that citizens should be able to purchase firearms for self-defense and sporting purposes, one has to wonder who these supporters of the ban are.

And yes, Senator Warner, these weapons ARE used for self defense purposes. Remember the Rodney King riots in Los Angeles in 1992? Remember those Korean shop owners sitting on their roofs with armed with the very same weapons you are so eager to ban? Would you and Senator Feinstein disarm those people and place them at the mercy of criminals?

Any normal citizen who encounters multiple attackers is better off with the very weapons you seek to deny them. A number of police departments are beginning to realize the usefulness of these types of weapons and are beginning to purchase them for their officers, claiming their officers’ safety as incentive. Are our lives worth any less than the officers in question, Senator Warner?

Apparently to you and your ilk they are.

Your letter continues:

"Please be assured that I understand your views on this legislation."

No, Senator, apparently you do not. If you did, you wouldn’t have some staffer spew Brady propaganda into my mailbox, while claiming to respect my Second Amendment rights.

"As a gun owner and hunter, and as a United States Senator privileged to represent the citizens of the Commonwealth of Virginia in the United States Senate, I am a strong supporter of the Second Amendment."

No, Senator Warner. You obviously have no clue what the Second Amendment means and what it seeks to preserve. You give lip service to freedom, while at the same time seeking to deprive Americans of their rights. You cite faulty statistics and perpetuate outright lies in order to violate the Constitution you swore to uphold. And you claim to represent me and Virginia’s gun owners in the United States Senate, while you specifically ignore the concerns I addressed in my letter and attempt to foist your hysterical rhetoric on me and my fellow gun owners in a vain effort to scare me into believing that you and your fellow gun banners know what is best for me.

I assure you, Senator Warner, that you do not.

I furthermore assure you that I will do everything in my power to see you defeated if you decide to seek reelection. I promise to encourage everyone I know to vote against you if you continue your attempts to violate my rights. As a matter of fact, Senator, I will make it my mission in life to ensure that you are sent home humiliated at the hands of your opponent. My rights are not yours to violate. And my rights are not yours to use to further your political agenda.

You did not take my letter seriously when I contacted you during the Senate debate on S.1805. I encourage you to take me seriously now. I assure you, the gun owners who read this letter will.

Nicki Fellenzer

Armed Females of America

Nicki is a US Army veteran, who spent nearly four years in Frankfurt, Germany on active duty at the American Forces Network. She is a former radio DJ and news anchor and a Featured Writer and Newslinks Director for Keepandbeararms.com. She is also a former contributing editor to the National Rifle Association's newest monthly magazine, Women's Outlook and writes occasionally for the Libertarian Party. She resides in Virginia with her family. We are also proud to have Nicki as regular contributor to Armed Females of America.

Copyright © 2004 by Armed Females of America. All rights reserved. Permission to redistribute this article for noncommercial purposes is hereby granted, provided that it is reproduced unedited, in its entirety and appropriate credit given.