Below is the letter I am circulating to my Democratic Representatives. If you are a Democrat that believes that we should continue to shape policy on the best available facts, please feel free to copy it and send it to yours as well.
As your constituent and a loyal Democrat, I am writing in regards to Senator Feinsteins proposed "assault" weapons ban. I realize in the wake of recent events that there is an almost reflexive desire to act in the hopes of ending such senseless tragedies, which is why it is so important to make sure that our choices live up to President Obama's stated intentions of "meaningful action" to reduce gun violence. It is by this standard that I am compelled to oppose Senator Feinsteins legislation.
If we are to interpret the Presidents call for "meaningful action" to infer taking steps which would significantly reduce the occurance of gun violence in America, then I think we must first look at what the significant contributing factors to the problem are. By doing so, it is plain to see that a ban on "assault" rifles could only have the predictable outcome of impacting less than 1% of the gun violence which occurs in the United States.
Wikipedia's "Gun Violence in the United States" page indicates an average of 30,500 gun related deaths per year, of which in 2010, 358 (1%) were committed with rifles of any and all kinds. Whatever portion of the 358 were actually committed with the kind of rifle which is being targeted for a ban, it necessarily must be less than 358, thus less than 1%.
This fact begs the question...how would banning a weapon which represents the least amount of gun violence fulfill the stated goal of significantly reducing it? It occurs to me that a signficant reduction cannot be achieved by banning that which represents the absolute least of it.
As of yet, I have not heard any statements from my Democratic leadership which adequately explains how in light of these facts that I should be in favor of this legislation, as it comes nowhere close to President Obama's stated intention to take "meaningful action".
I have always been proud of the fact that the Democratic Party's attempts to legislate and shape policy have been based on available and observable facts, which is why I find it so disheartening and disappointing to see that when it comes to a piece of legislation which impacts the rights of so many, on such an important issue as the gaurantees contained within the Second Amendment, that the facts seem to no longer matter.
Plainly speaking, from my perspective, the proposed ban is not based on the observable facts, which makes the act of banning these rifles arbitrary, which necessarily makes it the kind of "infringment" that the Second Amendment gaurantees us freedom from.
Thank you for your public service, I only wish I was not forced into the uncomfortable position of having to so vocally oppose a Bill which this Party seems intent on thrusting into the forefront of its legislative agenda. My hope is that we as a Party can focus on that which will most substantially impact gun violence, so that I may once again support the Party that I believe has the ability to achieve such worthy goals.
-A Democrat in Exile,