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ABC News' 20/20 program, April 10, 2009, "If I only had a Gun" addresses some important issues. Will ABC News carry the program to the next step in public enlightenment?
http://abcnews.go.com/Video/playerIndex?id=7312540

enclosures available upon request

April 13, 2009

Re: If I only had a gun, April 10

Diane Sawyer
David Muir
20/20, ABC News
7 West 66th Street
New York, NY 10023

Dear Sir/Madam:

Your program makes very clear that there is very little value to gun ownership for self-defense especially in a mass shooting situation. The only security is to have laws that apply against the lawless and others who have no business being privately armed. It is simply a matter of public safety. The only reason we cannot have laws that apply against the lawless is that the gun lobby, led by the NRA, works very hard and very successfully to defeat any laws that would restrict and set standards for gun ownership because the same laws would apply against the NRA's "armed citizen guerrillas" and others with insurrectionist fantasies.
http://www.potowmack.org/emerappd.html#ak47
http://www.potowmack.org/parkappe.pdf, p. A40
Some people have a very difficult time accommodating to a governing authority. See enclosures.

There is a much larger political context which you can find briefly outlined in my letter to The Nation magazine published in their online page where no one will see it, http://www.thenation.com/bletters/20090323/ehrenreich_fletcher
http://www.thenation.com/doc/20090323/ehrenreich_fletcher?rel=hp_currently

It is not necessary to get into the larger political dimensions of what is at stake. The discussion starts with something very simple. What James Madison was really describing in Federalist Paper No. 46 was not a civil right of private individuals, http://www.potowmack.org/emerappi.html. The historical record speaks for itself. See enclosures.

It ends with something equally simple. The Parker/Heller cases were a devastating defeat for the gun rights ideologies. See enclosures. The Federal Government needs to be concerned with only one objective in national policy: to shut down the illegal traffic in guns between and among state and local jurisdictions. That is empowerment policy for local jurisdictions. That can only be accomplished by registration of ownership and reporting of private sales. The state of Montana is pursuing a states rights challenge to federal regulations, http://www.missoulian.com/articles/2009/02/22/bnews/br52.txt. Hey, there is the idea. During the Civil War there was a national conscription law, but because the draft was so unpopular it was never vigorously enforced. It was used as a threat against the states: You deliver your quota of soldiers for the Union Army or the Feds will invade your space and take them. The states did not want the Federal Government in their space so they delivered the soldiers. Following from the Militia Act of 1792, ...potowmack.org/emerappc.html, .../milret.html, there is nothing unconstitutional about the Congress declaring privately owned weapons to be a public resource subject to call up for public duty. Call it the Homeland Security Militia Reserve Act. The Congress can make maintaining the militia reserve the business of the states. There would be another result. Taking its cue from Montana and Civil War recruitment, the policy would operate as a threat to the states: You register your guns and keep them within your boundaries or the federal government will do it for you.

The gun rights crowd will proclaim, Gun laws do not work. Criminals do not obey laws. That is why they are criminals. Many of the same crowd demand strict laws and law enforcement against illegal immigrants. No one says, Illegal immigrants do not obey laws. That is why they are illegal. As with all laws, effectiveness is based on powers of enforcement. The solution is laws that make sense, enjoy broad public support, are enforceable and are enforced.

You might provoke the House and Senate judiciary and foreign relations committees to hold full blown hearing on what is at stake and correct their past pandering to gun lobby demagoguery, pseudoscholarship and propaganda. I can't get their attention. You give it a try. The crisis is no longer domestic. It is now international.

ABC News has its own record of dereliction and failed consciousness to atone for and correct. George F. Will has a PhD in political science (Princeton, 1968). His is an appalling record on fundamental concepts. See enclosures. With Michel McQueen (now Martin) the dereliction proceeds from the ignorant to the downright silly, http://www.potowmack.org/parkappc.pdf, p. A36-A38. I know Yungi de Nies, your White House correspondent. I have supplied her with relevant documents. She is supposed to have relayed them to the appropriate parties. Nothing ever changes.

The present crisis is as much a product of failed intellectual and political leadership as anything else. See enclosures. Your business is public enlightenment. Your program was only a start. It is about time you got serious and proceed to the next stage. If this is more than you can handle, you might call me in as a consultant.

Yours truly,
The Potowmack Institute


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