I wonder how much consideration those comments get?
This is is what I sent for the Tidewater Libertarian Party
Re: Libertarian perspective on firearms law
From our founding documents we know that the primary purpose of government is to secure our rights. That, of course, includes the right to live with a reasonable expectation of safety, but that is not the only right to protect.
In the wake of recent mass shootings there have been a number of bills proposed that would curtail our liberties. It is the task of the commission to evaluate those measures as they relate to that duty to protect our rights.
The type of firearms we own, the capacity of their magazines and any accessories, such as suppressors, that are attached are simply choices made by a free citizens in a free country. We bear no burden to justifyour choices or prove any need.
If someone proposes to limit our choices, it is their burden to demonstrate that such limits are necessary for that reasonable expectation of safety, that the measures they propose will achieve that end, and that there are no alternative measures that will accomplish that end without curtailing my rights. None of the proposed measures meet any part of that burden.
As shocking as these random mass shootings are, they average fewer than 50 deaths per year, less that 1/100th of 1% of all homicides. Tragic as they are, they are not a significant cause of death. Remember that firearms are used defensively, mostly without firing a shot, thousands of times for every life lost in these shootings.
But, rare as they are, would the proposed measures prevent them? Nearly all of the shooters bought their firearms passing a background check, so subjecting private sales to NICS or VA State Police checks would not have changed anything. Most were carried out with ordinary handguns, and those using AR or AK type semi-automatic rifles could as easily have been carried out with handguns or, worse, shotguns. Keep in mind that repeating shotguns can be reloaded without removing a magazine. Studies by the Rand Corporation, the Institute for Justice and the FBI of past mass shootings have confirmed that magazine size makes little, if any, difference in the outcome. Suppressors have only been used in such shooting once, and experts assure us that they only make gunshots unrecognizable on TV. In short, none of the proposed measures would have accomplished their purpose.
There are measures in existing law that could help, without further curtailing rights.
The existing NICS database system was designed to keep new firearms out of the hands of criminals and the dangerously mentally ill. Unfortunately, much disqualifying information never reaches the database. While medical privacy laws prevent reporting by health care professionals, crimes committed by the mentally ill enjoy no such protection. However, school leniency programs and decisions by local prosecutors often result in crimes by the mentally ill not being prosecuted. Simply prosecuting these crimes, and then taking the mental illness into consideration at sentencing and in probation, would get these crimes into the database without violating patient privacy.
Remember that Seung Hui Cho had twice been charged with stalking but not prosecuted, instead being counseled by University staff. Had he been prosecuted, he would not have been able to legally buy his firearms and his family would have been aware of his deteriorating mental condition.
Further, while lies on the Federal Firearms purchase form, including straw purchases, are felonies, fewer than 1 in 1000 such violations are prosecuted. If EVERY violation were prosecuted, and EVERY case of stalking or other crimes against persons were prosecuted, the NICS database could be very effective without further curtailing anyone’s rights.
No new curtailments on our rights are justified while existing laws are not used as intended.
Thank you for considering these comments, and please do remember that protection of our rights is your first duty when making your determinations.
Wm. Donald Tabor Jr. DDS writing for the
Tidewater Libertarian Party