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February 26, 2004

And, we hear from the Junior Senator from New York on items of interest to gun owners nationwide.

February 25, 2004

Canaseraga, New York 14822


Thank you for your letter and for sharing your thoughts about guns control. New York has a long and proud tradition in which hunters and sportsman have used guns responsibly; protecting the Constitution and the Second Amendment is vital to that tradition. I also believe, however, that we must do all we can to ensure that guns are kept safely away from children and out of the hands of criminals and terrorists. That is why I support strengthening laws concerning gun shows, and believe we need to give law enforcement agencies the resources they need to enforce existing gun laws in order to apprehend and prosecute violent criminals.

Hmmm. In writing, the Second Amendment is important. As long as we limit you to weapons available when the amendment was written. After all, wasn't that the intent of the Founders? Nice to know she's interested in enforcing the law. Some question of that back in the day. Of course, would that include the provisions of the Patriot Act, as well?

Closing the gun show loophole would help prevent criminals having easy access to guns without the background checks that are required of gun purchasers at regular licensed dealers. It would also help protect our children and families from the crimes that result when criminals acquire firearms from gun shows in many states that do not require this common sense safety measure. Although New York State requires background checks on gun buyers at all shows, New Yorkers are still at risk from guns trafficked from other states with more lenient laws. Because state borders do not stop criminals, a loophole anywhere is a loophole in New York - and everywhere else in our nation.

Aside from the dig at Federalism, the Funny Thing here is - not really true. The gun show 'loophole' has been in effect since the '84 change in the law - and, (especially after controlling for the gang wars in the late 80's) the gun violence trend has been down, not up. At least according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, at any rate.

firearmnonfatalno.gif firearmnonfatalrt.gif percentfirearm.gif

So, not only are the absolute numbers dropping - given the 10 million or so increase in population over the period - the rate is dropping as well. So, lets expend more effort on a meaningless gesture that makes us feel good, regardless of whether or not it works. Almost a perfect definition of the modern liberal, vice, say, Hubert Humphrey, Scoop Jackson, or Harry S. Truman.

I also support making permanent the ban on semiautomatic assault weapons, which is set to expire on September 13, 2004. Such weapons are not needed for legitimate hunting and gaming purposes and instead can cause great harm to New York.

From the 1999 Justice Department report on the effectiveness of the ban: "Given the limited use of the banned guns and magazines in gun crimes, even the maximum theoretically achievable preventive effect of the ban on outcomes such as the gun murder rate is almost certainly too small to detect statistically..." Hat tip to Say Uncle and AWBANSunset.

Lastly, I wanted to give you my position on the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act. Proponents of this legislation claim that it will prevent frivolous lawsuits and protect firearms manufacturers, dealers, and distributors from being held responsible for the actions of criminals. A close examination of the bill, however, reveals that it would deprive gun violence victims of their legal rights by terminating pending and prospective civil cases involving a wide range of industry misconduct. The bill would rewrite well-accepted principles of liability law, which generally hold that persons and companies may be liable for the foreseeable consequences of their wrongful acts. It would give the gun industry legal protections no other industry enjoys. For these reasons, I oppose this legislation.

I don't have the energy to respond to this. Others no doubt will take care of it.

Again, thank you for sharing your views about gun control. As the legislative agenda of Congress proceeds, please continue to let me know how you feel about this and other issues important to New York and our nation. For regular updates on this and the many issues being debated before the United States Senate, I encourage you to visit my website at

Sincerely yours,
Hillary Rodham Clinton

It would almost be worth it to move to New York, just to vote against you. But I'll leave that up to New Yorkers.

John | Permalink | Comments (3) | Gun Rights
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