December 15, 2016
Mark Kelly Americans for Responsible Solutions PO Box 15642 Washington, DC 20003
Dear Mark Kelly,
The greatest political danger is a government that does not understand what it means to be a government. The rule of law, the state's monopoly on violence and the state's internal sovereignty all mean the same thing. But, nothing ever changes. Now is the time for change. You have no other business until you get this right.
The courts have decided all they need to decide on matters of gun rights, gun ownership, and firearms policy. All that is left is political leadership, of which you can take much credit, there is very little.
Judge Silberman in Parker (released March, 2007) after many pages in which he disparaged the civic purpose of gun ownership and tried to invent a libertarian privacy right completely contradicted himself by arriving at the conclusion that we can have, "registration . . . for militia service if called up". That is the original civic purpose. Militia duty in the colonial period, the Constitution, the Federalist Papers, and opinions of the courts was and still is conscript duty. There are no libertarian privacy rights in a conscript military organization. And, registration is the only way guns can be effectively regulated.
There is nothing in subsequent Supreme Court rulings that overturns Judge Silberman's conclusion. The ultimate "just power" of any state is the "just power" of conscription when public necessity demands it. Conscription is always troublesome but the courts have left open the possibility. Federal judges are under oath of public office. The Constitution is still a frame of government or, at least, for now.
We are at a very critical and dangerous juncture in the life of the Republic. No one listens to me. I am just a letter writing crank with a website, but that does not change the gravity of the circumstance. It is not clear if members of congress ever see their mail. Their staffs pile it as pro-this/anti-that. The member of congress votes accordingly. The oath of office and a governing responsibility is of no consequence. Your business is to make the oath of office part of their consciousness. There is a great burden of historic responsibility on you.
It is very important that you use your influence to force the real question when Trump's nominees to the federal judiciary come before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Do you understand anything about constitutional checks and balances? There are certainly people on your mailing list who live in the states represented by members of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Make it your business to encourage them to exercise their influence. We cannot have judges on the federal judiciary who have not declared their commitment to constitutional government versus anarchy. Your battleground is constitutional doctrine. Constitutional doctrine will go to the Senate Judiciary Committee with the Trump nominees.
Otherwise, you enter into the battleground the gun lobby has chosen of a progun/antigun culture war. The terms of engagement are demagoguery. On those terms the gun lobby will always win and you will always lose. Your efforts will be a foolish waste of time. We cannot leave the most vital and fundamental issues of political life up to sound bite demagoguery and bumper sticker slogans.
Trump has already hedged on much of his campaign rhetoric. The president of the United States, like the members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, is under oath of public office to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic. That oath marks the difference between constitutional government and anarchy. Will the president of the United States support what the courts have decided or will he have a different agenda? Will the president of the United State support the Second Amendment with a litmus test that his nominees to the federal judiciary be committed to overturning Judge Silberman's conclusion? Or, will the nominees accept and support, along with Judge Silberman, the legitimacy of constitutional government? Or, will we evade the issue and have more of the same constitutional mess? Getting at fundamental issues starts with one simple question: Do you accept and support Judge Silberman's conclusion? The question is a particular version of the more general question, Do you accept and support the legitimacy of constitutional government? Everything else proceeds from there.
If this is too much for you and the Senate Judiciary Committee to handle, you and/or they can employ me to provide a script to interrogate Trump's nominees. There is much more to this subject than what you have previously received and what is presented here. We are at a very critical moment.
Meanwhile, no thoughtful person can support efforts that are counterproductive and no thoughtful person can take seriously living in a political culture and a political system that is this dysfunctional. If we have a future, history will judge severely.
Yours truly, Potowmack