Petitioning the Mississippi State Legislature for Sensible Gun Safety

Petitioning the Mississippi State Legislature for Sensible Gun Safety

Yesterday evening I drafted a petition calling for Mississippi’s elected state officials to stand up for very basic legal measures that could and should be taken to move towards more responsible gun ownership and use in American society. I wrote this after pondering, for a couple of weeks, the insanity of our Governor Phil Bryant’s response to Mr. Obama’s quite modest executive proposals for new legislation. Minutes after Obama revealed his twenty-three point plan, Bryant and House Speaker Philip Gunn issued a predictable but nonetheless insane statement, vowing to do what they can to “block”  any new federal legislation on “gun control” that might pass. Importantly, they also rallied the troops in support of the State’s defensive posture, calling on the MS State Legislature to do the same. A couple of weeks after that “Big Government” freak-out, the MS House of Representatives did indeed pass two new bills relating to gun control — but, again predictably, more laws in this respect are “okay”, because these laws actually help weaken public transparency and accountability with respect to personal firearms.

While I have little hopes of this petition having any substantial legislative effect, I still thought it worthwhile to see what sort of traction might be gained in terms of starting to build local support for putting pressure on our representatives to think and speak more seriously about the role of guns in our culture. As of now, I am only posting this petition online and disseminating it through various social media outlets, in the hopes of generating an initial buzz through a kind of family-and-friends word-of-mouth forum, but I have vowed to ramp up my efforts at “taking it public” through more traditional media and news outlets if there seems to be enough support.

The following is the message I sent to my Facebook network, asking their support, and here I address it to whomever else might come across it on this site. While my target audience is Mississippi residents, and my “goals” for next-level action are based only on MS signees, please read and consider even if you’re not a MS resident, and feel free to sign and pass it along for others to see.

Dear friends and fellow Mississippians,

In light of recent remarks by Gov. Bryant, who, in mid-January, urged the MS State Legislature to use its powers to “deem illegal” and block any new gun safety measures proposed by the federal government, and in light of recent Bills passed by the State Legislature which further weaken the regulatory capacity of the state with respect to public transparency and accountability about personal firearms, I have written a short petition calling for our elected state officials to change direction and take a stand for common sense measures designed to promote gun safety and responsibility.

The language and intent of this petition is general, and, I believe, should find widespread support from thoughtful Mississippians of any and all political stripes. Please consider the words and spirit of this message carefully, and, if you find yourself of one mind with my concern to send a clear message to our state leaders about sober concern for our children, our streets and our homes, please sign this online petition and pass it on to fellow Mississippians for their consideration. While I have not “restricted” potential signees to Mississippi residents, this petition is first and foremost for state residents to send a message to our leaders. With that in mind, if we can reach 100 Mississippian signees by March 7th, 2013, I will attempt to take this petition further to local news agencies and other public outlets, with the hopes of gaining wider support. If we reach that stage and do gain support wider than our personal networks of friends and family, I pledge to do what little I can to make sure this petition is delivered to the named state officials, and to see to it that they respond.

Again, this message is meant to unite us on a path toward better, more serious and less polarized dialogue about basic matters of common freedom, security and hope, not to be divisive. Please feel free to be in touch with me about any questions, comments, concerns or suggestions you might have.”

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2 thoughts on “Petitioning the Mississippi State Legislature for Sensible Gun Safety

  1. your petition if offensive. I applaud Gov. Bryant’s reaction to Obama’s federal gun laws. If you limit law obiding citizens’ firearms then you have to do the same with criminals who mean to do harm with firearms. If you can’t do so then you leave families with no responsible means to protect themselves. If criminals know that people will be less protected then they will feel more inclined to commit criminal acts. If they know that they may meet with someone who could thwart they’re attempts then they will be more cautious. Obama is taking step after step to strip American citizens of our freedoms. You say it’s in our best interest to limit guns to best protect our children, but how long does is the average response for police? Would you rather be able to protect you own family or wait for someone to do it for you, hoping they make it in time? If firearms serve no reasonable protection, then why is the secret service, the ones resposible for protecting your president, armed? If the president is allowed to be protected by way of firearms then shouldn’t we be? I am very happy to be living in a state with representatives who aren’t scared to stand up to Obama. If you’re ashamed of them, then maybe you should move to a state with strict gun laws so that you can feel safer and sleep better at night knowing that criminals are more prepared than you are. Thank you.

  2. Hi Nev, thanks for your comment.

    I am all for limiting criminals’ firearms, as well — but obviously, since “criminals” are defined as people who break the law, limiting “their” access to and use of firearms requires other methods besides more law. I am all for those other methods, too. I would think that would require, in part, pressuring politicians to crackdown on illegal, private and unaccountable firearm sales — in other words, a push towards greater transparency about where the guns filling our cities are coming from and going. I would also think limiting criminal “use” of guns would have something to do with addressing the social sources of crime, such as poverty (poverty of opportunity, poverty of education, poverty of resources), which nurtures despair, hopelessness, and the escapism of hard-drug use. What methods do you recommend for limiting criminals’ firearms?

    I totally disagree, however, with your argument that we shouldn’t limit law-abiding citizens’ access to firearms just because there is no quick, easy, clear path forward with regard to limiting criminals’ weaponry (even though, again, I’m all for that). The evidence actually supports the notion that having guns in a family home is more likely to kill an innocent person accidentally than to be used successfully against an intruder, but even leaving the evidence aside — my petition is not calling for a ban on “weapons” or even “guns” in general, for protection or otherwise. We don’t need semi-automatics against burglars. If you think we do, where do you draw the line? Should we each be allowed to own uzis and rockets, because criminals and armies might have access to them?

    The usefulness of a law is not invalidated by the fact that people do or might break it. If criminal activity were an argument against gun control, then by that logic we should also get rid of speed limits, stop signs, red lights — all preventative legal measures which exist in order to *curb* the dangers and disastrous consequences associated with certain freedoms (in this case, the freedom to legally operate a car).

    You are drawing conclusions about my petition that are not implied in my petition, and you are conflating the issue of personal self-defense with the freedom to own whatever form of weaponry we so desire or would make us feel safe. My petition, on the other hand, is simply calling for a sensible, legal limitation of the “freedoms” associated with gun ownership and use in general — just like a speed limit, which says “no one truly needs to drive 100 mph, and in fact it’s quite dangerous”, a ban on assault weapons and measures like universal background checks would say to the public — “no useful purpose, but a hell of a lot of danger, can come from making it easy to own and use high-capacity assault weapons.”

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