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.”