Dad responds to Congressman Rick Crawford.

The other day, my father got an email from Arkansas Congressman Rick Crawford that read…

“A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” – Second Amendment, The Constitution of United States

In the days and weeks following the horrific violence at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut politicians and activists groups have called for new gun laws and restrictions for gun owners. It is unfortunate that some would try to exploit this tragedy.

When I was sworn in to represent Arkansas’s First Congressional District in the House of Representatives, I took an oath to uphold the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens. The federal government should not compromise the ability of decent Americans to own a gun for protection or sport.

Since the founding of our country, “the right to keep and bear arms” has been a part of our nation’s fabric. Today, Second Amendment rights are most often associated with hunting and marksmanship. However, at the birth of our nation, the Second Amendment was added to the Constitution to ensure “a well-regulated Militia” could be formed to protect the “security of a free State.”

This week the Obama Administration has indicated their willingness to use executive privilege to tighten gun laws. Instead of seeking to limit Constitutional rights, I am pushing for a thoughtful conversation about the steps that can be taken to protect our children. We must look at ways to improve identification, diagnosis, and treatment for people living with serious mental illnesses. There must be a national dialogue about the amount of violence that our children see in movies and video games and on television and the internet. We need to talk to gun owners about the importance of storing their firearms in secure and safe locations.

As a father of two young children, school safety is a major concern for my family. In Northeast Arkansas we are all too aware of the reality of school shootings after the tragedy at Westside Elementary in Jonesboro in 1998. My thoughts and prayers continue to be with the families who lost their loved ones so close to the Christmas season. I hope you will join me in praying for the victims’ families so they might find peace after this shocking tragedy.

Father wrote him back.

The problem you seem to overlook in your last paragraph is that we not only need to protect children at schools, but also in malls, theaters, and other places where they are massacred.  Limiting access to weapons with large capacity magazines  would be a  part of a comprehensive approach.  I have read the likely proposals and they seem to be reasonable.  I’m sure if any of them are as unconstitutional as you seem to be trumpeting, the Supreme Court can do a much better job of determining that than you, Mr. Crawford. Instead of  your usual empty anti-Obama rhetoric and hollow bluster about protecting rights,  I would like to hear you address those proposals individually and point out exactly what the problem is with each.  For instance, requiring back ground checks on ALL gun sales….exactly how is that unconstitutional and taking someone’s “rights”?  The Courts have already ruled that firearms can be REGULATED.  I think you will find there are a lot of responsible gun owners like myself who want massacre deaths decreased and who are not willing to sacrifice innocent children on the altar of extremist NRA hysteria and paranoia which you are parroting.  You, Sir, are being part of the problem instead of part of the solution.  Stop being part of the problem.

John Eberhard

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • Makoto

    As always, spot on. Well regulated. Please, how hard is that to read, it comes pretty early in the 2nd.. I don’t want the gov’t to take everyone’s guns. I enjoy shooting, and have been researching a few new guns to get for myself. That’s totally separate from having some common sense regulations that can help prevent mass shootings like this in the future. I don’t need massive clips – why does anyone outside the military? Are they that bad of a shot?

  • ottod

    My grandfather used to say (about hunting), “If you didn’t hit it the first time, why on earth would you want to scare it even more by shooting a second time?” I’ve used the second (and very occasionally the third) on quail, and doves, but not often. When I used to shoot pistol, even the rapid fire portion was two five-round segments. Doesn’t seem to me as though ten-round clips would be a terrible limitation.

    • unbound

      Growing up in ND hunting all the time, the limitation (back in the day) was 3 rounds. We never had an issue getting our deer permits filled. And, just as your grandfather stated, if you didn’t get the animal in the first shot, it really isn’t likely that you are going to hit it after that since the animal will be hauling butt out of there. It really didn’t matter what type of game we were hunting…never needed more than a couple of rounds at a time. And when you are out hunting for a couple of days, is it really that hard to stop and put a few more bullets in every now and then?

      • Brad1990

        More importantly, if you don’t hit it and kill it cleanly on the first shot, do you really have any right to call yourself a hunter? I mean christ, no one’s perfect and you’re going to miss occasionally, but if it’s happening on a regular enough basis that you feel you need more than a single shot then you really shouldn’t be hunting.

  • Compuholic

    The proposal to at least put limits on magazin size and fully automatic weapons strikes me as a (sort of) reasonable compromise between the gun nuts in the U.S. and the interest of public safety. While I am not completely opposed to personal gun ownership I would go further and eliminate the right to carry guns in public.

    If you like to go shooting, fine. Pack your gun into a case in the trunk of your car and go to the shooting range. But there is no conceivable use to carry a gun in public. And the argument that it is necessary for self-defence is a load of BS. If you are really concerned about self-defence a can of pepperspray will do just as well.

    • Adam

      Not if your attacker has a gun and is out of range of that pepper spray. If you think making it illegal for people to carry guns in public will stop people from carrying guns in public, you’re as dumb as the NRA nuts who think we should all be able to own machine guns with armor piercing rounds.

      • Compuholic

        Right. So you “defend” yourself against people who are either:

        1. Too far away to have attacked you. In other words: You are the aggressor
        2. The attacker is already pointing a gun at you. In that case you are really thinking that reaching for a weapon in such a situation is a smart move.

        Well done…

        • Loqi

          You’re missing a very important point here. These are bad guys we are talking about, here. They can’t shoot straight. I mean, I haven’t been in any gunfights, but I see them all the time in movies. You have ample time to get out your gun, load it, call the police to let them know you’re about to massacre a squadron of bad guys, look at the camera and deliver a badass one-liner, and then shoot them all dead.

          • otrame

            Without reloading even once.


  • MC

    I just wish one of my several elected representatives would send me a note stating they are going to energetically pursue limiting government overreach on things like corporate welfare, unlawful searches, seizures, and detention, support of unjustified wars (including the one on drugs), etc.. Basically any one of the other items on the Bill of Rights. I will let you all know when that happens. I would advise you not to hold your collective breaths…

    • baal


  • eric

    Your father has a very reasonable position and I support all the regulations he does, but at the same time…I’m not sure any of those things would actually have changed events that much. Lanza’s mother had no record of mental illness and Adam literally brought more guns and ammunition to the school than he could physically carry – he had to leave some of it in the car. So whether each clip carried 10 or 30 rounds is trivial – he carried as much ammunition as he could. Sure, I guess you can argue that if he had to reload more, someone might have had an extra few seconds to escape/fight back. But that seems a very thin thread to hold on to here.
    If we’re going to get serious about this we need to limit access to total amount of amunition and firearms for sane, regular people. Not just try and keep mentally unstable people from purchasing, and not just worry about rate of fire or reload. I am not sure how to do that constitutonally, but IMO that’s really what needs to happen to reduce both gun accidents and gun crime.

    • Besomyka

      Sure, I guess you can argue that if he had to reload more, someone might have had an extra few seconds to escape/fight back. But that seems a very thin thread to hold on to here.

      Not really. The shooting in Arizona was stopped by intervening when the shooter paused to reload. It would have been the difference between getting 10 shots off at people and the 30 he actually did. There are situations in which it might not matter, but in most cases the pause in gun fire is the only chance you have to escape or subdue the gunman.

      As for my stance: guns don’t kill people, bullets do. Regulate bullets like we do cigarettes. Make each case, or even each round, get a tax stamp. Make the taxes extremely high for personal purchase (say $100 to $500 a round), with a tax exemption for ammunition purchased and used at a firing range, or used in the process of a licensed hunt (in which case, you get a tax deduction/refund). The ammunition should be attainable for self-defense, but valuable enough that people think twice about treating it’s use casually.

      • Steven Bey

        This is, IMO, the most sensible suggestion I’ve heard. Why aren’t more people saying this (or taking notice of those that do)?

    • Alex

      A lack of access to high-capacity clips might not have saved any of Adam Lanza’s victims, but it almost certainly would have saved some of the people Jared Loughner shot after Gabby Giffords — he was tackled while he was trying to reload. If he’d only had six or eight rounds in the clip, instead of thirty-three, he could not have injured and killed as many people as he did.

  • adam.b

    Honesty I surprised he didn’t Godwin it since that’s the bulk of what I’ve been hearing, you start to wonder if Hitler isn’t the answer to everything.

  • Corey Mondello

    i find most gun lovers to be repulsive, not only for their love of killing animals they dont need to kill to survive, but that they seem to also be conservative Christians, which include; hating gays, racist, biggotry, xenophobes, anti-woman, anti-any religion but Christian., etc….and so many more repulsive aspects of the lower class, white trash, FOX watching crack pots. Ill give them one thing, there is a second amendment answer to them.