Yesterday I came across a letter from a supposed Idaho gun owner that really has me wondering. Is this some sort of Brady revenge for Mary McFate? Are they having people send out fake letters? Or is just some old guy with the early signs of Alzheimer’s?
July 8, 2009
The Honorable Patrick J. Leahy The honorable Jeff Sessions
Chairman Ranking Member
U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary
224 Dirksen Senate Office Building 152 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510 Washington, D.C. 20510
Dear Chairman Leahy and Ranking Member Sessions:
I am writing to express strong disagreement with the National Rifle Associations’ (NRA) views on Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s nomination to the Supreme Court of the United States. NRA concerns were sent to you in a letter from Executive Director Chris Cox dated July 7, 2009.
I am a veteran, a manufacturing firm executive and a gun owner. I own three pistols, two riles and a shotgun. I enjoy hunting, target shooting, and the feeling of safety that guns provide.
I have lost respect and trust in NRA to deal with gun matters in America and encourage you to ignore their advice about Judge Sotomayor’s confirmation.
NRA characterizes the firearms issue through the narrow toilet-paper tubes of fear that ‘liberals’ with an anti-gun agenda will take away our guns. The reality is that illegal and improper use, storage, or transfer of guns is a significant problem in America. I strongly support gun ownership but come down on the side of organizational and personal responsibility and competence with respect to guns. Guns are dangerous.
When I was a youth and through my 30s I was an NRA member, looked forward to my American Rifleman magazine, and counted on NRA to help keep ‘gun control’ a private, not government matter. NRA provided hunter and sportsman skills, safety, property rights, and firearm maintenance training for many years; however, NRA’s emphasis has become political, not around firearm competence and responsibility. When I was a Boy Scout assistant scoutmaster, NRA was not there for my sons and other boys in the troop so I was forced to arrange gun safety and skills training through off-duty police. Here in Idaho where I live there are no NRA basic firearm training programs even though this is a great outdoor sports state.
I have high respect for Judge Sotomayor. If I were able to question at her confirmation hearing, here are some I would like to ask:
- Do you believe that gun ownership in America carries responsibility by the owner to be competent in the storage, handling, maintenance, and use of the owned firearms?
- Do you think that the ‘well regulated militia’ language in the second amendment implies that private gun owners should be trained and certified perhaps as automobile drivers are tested for knowledge, skill, and abilities?
- Should gun ownership carry insurance requirements for liability and health damages caused by the gun owner?
Thank you for considering my views.
Laurence P. Gebhardt
1200 Aspen Drive
Pocatello, ID 83204
From reading what I can about this guy (samples are here [in the comments], here, here, here, and here) he has significant liberal tendencies. So this may just be an issue of supporting whatever the Democrats support. I assure you, what he says about the NRA and gun ownership does not represent any of the gun owners I know in Idaho. I know a fair number of gun owners that are unhappy with the NRA but what their problem with the NRA is that they feel the NRA should compromise less and take a stronger stand against unconstitutional and ineffective laws. Just the opposite of this guy. And he has basic facts wrong. Example:
He claims “the NRA’s emphasis has become political, not around firearm competence and responsibility”. I’m sure that comes as quite a surprise to:
The many thousands of NRA certified instructors
The thousands of people that shoot in NRA matches each year
The recipients of NRA range grants
Thousand and thousands of other people who have personally benefited from the many NRA programs
He claims “Here in Idaho where I live there are no NRA basic firearm training programs.” But probably 10% to 20% of the shooters I know in Idaho are NRA certified firearms instructors and regularly put on classes. It’s possible that isn’t true in Pocatello, but I have a tough time believing he even looked for someone that teaches NRA classes in Idaho.
He then goes on to suggest Judge Sotomayor should be asked questions that are totally inappropriate for a judge. They are appropriate for a legislator or someone in the executive branch, but a judge? And the content of the questions are of a type I would expect to be asked by some intern at the Brady Campaign.
This isn’t like any Idaho gun owner I know.