Saturday, March 23, 2013

My Senator wrote me back about gun control legislation.

As many of you may remember on Wednesday I encouraged all of you to write to your Senators to urge them to push for a full vote on the assault weapons ban.

Following my own advice I did just that, and sent off e-mail messages to my two Senators Mark Begich and Lisa Murkowski.

Yesterday I received this response from Senator Murkowski:

Dear Jesse: 

Thank you for contacting me regarding recently proposed gun control measures. I appreciate hearing from you and having the opportunity to respond. 

Alaskans have mourned with all Americans at the tragic, senseless deaths in recent years and I believe we should examine ways to reduce violence by improving our mental health care system, keeping guns out of the hands of criminals, and enforcing existing laws. But we must continue to protect our Constitutional right to bear arms.

I am opposed to Senator Feinstein's bill that would prohibit the sale of many semi-automatic rifles and pistols to law abiding Americans and infringe on their Second Amendment rights. Now is not the time to demonize those who possess and use firearms lawfully. It is time to build a national consensus, with firearms owners, about how to prevent incidents like those we have recently seen. We must look at the issue from all perspectives, but demanding the vast majority of us who responsibly use firearms to give up our individual freedoms in the interest of community safety simply may not make our communities safer. 

If Congress considers legislation related to gun control, I will be sure to keep your thoughts in mind. Again, thank you for contacting me. 

 I am not precisely sure how restricting the sale of military style weapons to every Tom, Dick, and Dirty Harry that wants one is "demonizing" anybody, but from the gist of this letter I will assume that Lisa is not willing to break ranks with the GOP, nor risk angering her sometimes crazy constituents by taking this on. I don't think I ever expected that she would, though I did mention in the e-mail that she was in a "unique position" to take a leadership role on this.

However to be fair I wrote to BOTH of my Senators only minutes apart, and have only heard back from one thus far. I am really interested in what Mark is saying about this legislation since a lot of other Senators are looking at the blue dogs to give them inspiration to vote on this bill.

Once he responds, if he responds, I will let you all know what he says.


  1. Anonymous10:36 AM


    1. Anonymous6:41 PM

      I emailed my Senator and urged her to back DiFi's bill.
      Sadly there are just too many paid off by NRA and Big oil.
      I'm seeing a filibusterer proof vote for the KXL is YES! WTF?
      They are already building it and trampling over Native lands! It will NEVER ever make it out of Canada as First peoples there will have it tied up in courts for ever.
      Yet there they are.
      Citizens united really, really REALLY FUCKED up this country!
      ALEC, KOCH, NRA have bought off all the Senate and Congress.

  2. Anonymous10:39 AM

    So, basically, blah, blah, blah, same old same old. (but I'm sure she'll keep your thought in mind...hah!).

    You got a form letter, my friend, and a boring one at that.

  3. hedgewytch10:51 AM

    Blue Dog Dem is right. Begich voted along with Murksowksi FOR the Keystone Pipeline project. He voted FOR off shore oil drilling. Begich is starting to be just like the rest of the AK politicians, never met an extraction project he didn't like. Correct me if I'm wrong, but Begich also not come out against the Pebble Project either.

    He'll support the gun restrictions because it won't cost him anything not too. The AK gun nuts won't support him anyway. But he has a lot to loose from the independent voters who are pro-oil if he doesn't support those projects.

  4. Dan Heynen11:05 AM

    I also wrote to Lisa, and amazingly, my response was the same as yours - word for word! What are the odds? I penned a reply and told her she was spouting NRA BS, that the only real reason people want large capacity semi auto's is because they are fun to shoot, and after the next massacre, the blood would be on her hands.

  5. Anonymous11:15 AM

    Lisa Murkowski has never gotten my vote and I see absolutely zero reason to vote for her the next time!

    I thought Feinstein's Bill had to do with the big semi-automatic guns...the ones the military use - her wanting the gun lovers throughout America not to have access to them.

    Screw Lisa Murkowski - she doesn't even reflect the Bill that was introduced correctly. She seems to be downplaying the actual size of the guns in the Bill.

  6. Anonymous11:19 AM

    Hers looks like a form letter--I wouldn't be surprised if they have created a quick canned response based on what the subject of the email is.

    1. Anonymous6:42 PM

      My thoughts exactly.

  7. "military style" is a meaningless canard, since it's based on cosmetic features that contribute nothing to the lethality of the weapon. It's demonization precisely because of the rhetorical inventions used towards an inanimate object that some people think looks scary.

    Banning ALL semi-automatic firearms would at least be logically consistent with their true aims.

    1. Anonymous12:48 PM

      Sounds like a great idea.

    2. Anonymous12:55 PM


    3. Anonymous3:10 PM

      Pompous, heavy-handed purple prose. It makes people not want to read what you write.

    4. No worries here. I'd rather only those acquainted with proper English, read what I write anyway.

    5. Anonymous4:09 PM

      I'm a writer and a professor and I am very well-aquainted with proper English (for example, there should not be a comma after "English" in your latest comment). This is not a matter of proper English. This is a matter of, as I said, heavy-handed purple prose.

      I looked at your blog and I've read your comments here on IM. I'm giving you constructive criticism. Simplify your writing and more people will understand (and want to read) what you have to say.

    6. Thank you for the constructive criticism. I readily admit to misplaced punctuation, but it's not quite as easy to stray from the default and search for words that are just as descriptive.

  8. Anonymous11:26 AM

    Dear "Jesse?" Are you on a first name basis with this woman, or is she just incredibly rude?

  9. I used to write these letters for a living (a very-very meager living).

    The Senator I worked for represented a state much larger than Alaska (in population obvs) and we would get mail deliveries twice a day, roughly 2500-5000 pieces of mail each.

    We had a form letter for every issue stating the Senator's position and there was a flavor for if your letter was pro or anti The Senator's position.

    Every week a report was prepared detailing how many people wrote in about what issue and what their stance was, this was all the Senator saw of their mail with the exception of mail from personal friends, BIG donors, leaders of large groups, people who had a VERY interesting idea or people of national or international significance. I don't know if the report made any difference in the Senator's thinking or if any action was ever taken as a result of that report, but my gut says likely not.

    The Senator had a pretty solid base in our state which was solidly the Senator's color (red v blue) and was in no danger of being primaried or beaten, and sit in the seat to this day.

    While I hate to rain on the parade, your letter was answered by someone a year or two out of college who is making $25-30k a year, and is a pixel in a pie chart that the Senator will see at week's end and most likely disregard if they even read it.

    While I encourage you to write your Senator's and Representatives (the other side is, and we DO need to let them know that this or any issue has 2 sides), be mindful of the efficacy of doing so.

    In order to effect real change, become active with groups that advocate your view. We should also coordinate our donations and action to a single group, rather than a bunch of different groups. In order to take on an issue like gun control, we need to have a group as powerful as the NRA (or even half as powerful). I suggest the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, but am willing to do what I can for any group advocating controlling gun violence.

    1. Anonymous12:58 PM

      11:34 Thank you for your input and sharing your knowledge and experience to the rest of us.

  10. Anonymous11:59 AM

    Does it really matter what your Senator's opinion is ("I'm opposed to..") ?

    Aren't our Senators supposed to vote on behalf of their constituents?

    1. Anonymous6:46 PM

      "Aren't our Senators supposed to vote on behalf of their constituents? "
      YES! Really? When that did THAT disappear? We the people are now nothing b/c all that matters is who pays the most lobby money and we all know who that is, Koch, NRA, ALEC, etc.

  11. Anonymous12:06 PM

    Do not let the Kenyan Muslim Marxist tell you
    What kind of gun you can buy
    Or how many bullets you can load.

    Repeal Obamacare and Impeach him.

    1. Anonymous12:49 PM

      You're hilarious!

    2. I count 6 lies in your mindless-zombie comment, Anon @ 12:06 PM.

      Do you RWNJs EVER fact-check or research your forwarded viral e-mails?

      And if you have enough brains to do that, do you EVER check with a neutral party that isn't Daily Caller or, the most unreliable sources of information on the political internet?

    3. WakeUpAmerica5:21 PM

      You're a waste of skin and oxygen.

    4. Anonymous5:37 PM


      You conservatives seem to have no issue with imposing Sharia Law on the females of the USA so why you hatin' on Muslims so bad?

    5. Anonymous6:43 PM

      Do not feed the already obese troll.

  12. Anonymous12:40 PM

    demanding the vast majority of us who responsibly use firearms to give up our individual freedoms in the interest of community safety simply may not make our communities safer.

    Holy shit. Now we are being shamed for demonizing irresponsible gun owners the same way we are picking on the top 1% of the country. These poor, put upon folks that have a legislative body that ties up our economy and public safety in their name.

    I don't know about you, but just a few irresponsible gun owners are threat enough to warrant this 'demonizing.'

    Shame on Lisa Murkowski for this cop out.

    1. Anonymous3:58 PM

      The gun nuts of this country always blame the victim. In other countries (examples include Scotland and Australia), a massacre with automatic weapons leads to strict gun controls. And guess what? No more massacres with those kinds of weapons and life goes on for everyone. Here, if there is a massacre where automatic weapons are used, there's a run on the gun shops to buy more and NO meaningful legislation. Truly bizarre.

    2. Can you please name a massacre where an automatic firearm was used?

    3. Anonymous5:08 PM


      You should realize that the majority of Americans don't own firearms of any sort. We don't hunt, and we have security/alarm companies that are on call to protect our properties. There is simply, in my opinion, no reason to own a gun unless a person has to hunt for their food.

    4. A completely legitimate opinion. One not backed by either the Constitution, nor SCOTUS and lower rulings.......but one also not begrudged by gun owners. If you wish to rely on reactive personal protection......I respect your right to do so. I only ask for the same in return.

    5. Anonymous7:02 PM

      The only reason fully automatic firearms aren't used in mass shootings is because they are extremely hard to obtain.

      The North Hollywood bank robbers had fully automatic weapons (among others). Not a "mass shooting," but it could easily have devolved into one.

  13. Why do they (the gun supporters) all leap to the idea that any gun control laws will TAKE AWAY THEIR WEAPONS? Much as I would love to see that, I don't think any of the discussion has been about removing weapons. THEY are controlling the discussion in a dishonest way and getting away with it.

    1. As a civil libertarian who places the 2A on equal ground with the others, let me offer a sincere explanation from this side of the fence.

      By definition, many of the gun control proposals are doing exactly that, though many are indirect. The parameters of many bills include the inability to transfer firearms, even between family members [especially those on Feinstein's blacklist], and the distinct inability to purchase after they would be in effect. What worries lawful firearm owners is the fact that these bills are designed to ban current and future ownership of a class of weapons based on cosmetic features, and used in an overwhelming minority of gun related crimes.....while logic would dictate that if 'public safety' were the true goal, they would craft these bills against handguns.

      Since more than a few lawmakers pursuing gun control have admitted their overarching goal, we see this as merely an incremental approach to mitigating a Constitutional right, when the Amendment process is the proper course of action.

      What makes this sort of legislation unique, is that it strictly targets the law abiding; unlawful actions with firearms are already illegal and enforceable.

    2. Anonymous6:17 PM

      If you are a civil libertarian, I hope you are in favor of gay marriage, reproductive rights (including abortion), and the legalization of marijuana.

    3. Anonymous6:49 PM

      Constitutional Insurgent4:00 PM
      Stuff it!
      Go spew your bullshit to the Newtown parents grieving over their kids.

    4. @6:17 - 100% in favor of all three. Abortion is a bit dicy....but I lean fully towards settled law. I consider marriage equality of drug use to be natural rights.

  14. Anonymous12:42 PM

    Anon 12:06 p.m.

    You are on the wrong board. Go back to your Xenophobic-bigoted-racist-joe-six-pack bubble and toast exceptional 'Merican's that don't have to know anything but God and guns.

  15. Anonymous12:46 PM

    You will get the same mantra from Begich. I wrote and got the same bogus argument.

  16. Anonymous12:56 PM

    12:06 Fuck you!!! You are an idiot and don't know what the hell you are talking about - it's so obvious in your statement.

  17. Anonymous2:36 PM

    Same letter as mine, word for word. A little bit different than the one I got back from her 3 months ago, but the same pro gun stand. I wish these people would just bring themselves to care about those of us who want safety in public spaces.

  18. Anonymous3:54 PM

    Reminds me of the missive I received from our teabagger Congressman, Dr. Dan Benishek (R-MI), in which he stated that we don't need more gun laws we need "human dignity." Huh? There must be a letter-writing center for GOP members of Congress where these idiotic canned letters are dreamed up. I guess we just need more respect for the "human dignity" and less "demonizing" of those who own weapons that are meaningless in hunting and are designed purely to mow down people.

  19. Anonymous4:59 PM

    Mayor Bloomberg Plans $12 Million Ad Blitz on Gun Control

    Bloomberg’s TV Blitz on Guns Puts Swing Senators on the Spot

    The commercial is an unambiguous appeal to gun owners: a middle-aged hunter, rifle in hand, vows that he will fight to protect the Second Amendment. But in a sensible, father-of-the-house tone, he also urges voters to support comprehensive background checks, “so criminals and the dangerously mentally ill can’t buy guns.”

    The man behind the advertisement is not known for his kinship with the gun crowd: Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, the nation’s fiercest advocate of restrictions on firearms since the December rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

    Determined to persuade Congress to act in response to that shooting, Mr. Bloomberg on Monday will begin bankrolling a $12 million national advertising campaign that focuses on senators who he believes might be persuaded to support a pending package of federal regulations to curb gun violence. The ads, in a dozen states, will blanket those senators’ districts during an Easter Congressional recess that is to be followed by debate over the legislation.

    In a telling sign of how much the white-hot demands for gun control have been tempered by political reality, Mr. Bloomberg’s commercials make no mention of an assault weapons ban once sought by the White House and its allies, instead focusing on the more achievable goal of universal background checks.


  20. Anonymous5:09 PM

    Begich is a Blue Dog and Lisa is just a far right nutbag; I'd have just as soon voted for Joe Miller as vote for her.

    1. Then you my friend are an imbecile.

  21. WakeUpAmerica5:19 PM

    I think, if I were you, I would write back and send her some statistics about how many formerly "law-abiding" citizens turn and commit murder or assault with their semi-automatics. Also, I'm sure you can find some statistics for how many are not secured properly, and, therefore, stolen and used in a crime or used in an accidental shooting. Then I think I would point out that just because she lives in Alaska, she doesn't have to play stupid.

  22. The second senator will probably respond to you with the very same lame-ass letter. These people are shameless. They care not.


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