Dear Rep. Sam Farr (D-CA)

I realize you have voted for all previous so-called 'assault weapons' bans, so I am probably wasting my time in writing this, but as a believer in conducting reasoned discourse with those who disagree with me I will continue.

HR 6257 is a reiteration of the useless 1994 Assault Weapons Ban. Unlike statements from other legislators and from the media, this ban along with the present proposed one targets mostly semiautomatic rifles, along with certain cosmetic features that have little, if anything, to do with the performance of the firearm. The phrase "military-style" is used frequently in the description of "assault weapons", which is merely a cosmetic feature again.

FBI and DoJ statistics place none of the weapons mentioned in the bill in their top 10 guns used in crimes, or top 10 guns stolen or traced.

The fact of the matter is that there is no clear definition of "assault weapon". A 1991 Bureau of Justice Statistics survey of convicted felons found that less than 1% of those felons even carried an "assault weapon" during the commission of a crime.

AK-74s and WASR-10s and AR180s cannot be stuffed into the waistband of a street thug who is going to make a drug deal. Every other rifle on that list is not even remotely favored by criminals. Even if they were, do you think criminals would pay attention to HR 6257, which is just another law - similar to the laws against robbery, rape, murder, and drug possession that they already ignore? The same FBI information from the 1991 survey found that 80% of felons who used a firearm to commit a crime gained it through illegal means to begin with.

HR 6257 is just another piece of messy, redundant, and poorly-defined legislation. Stealing a firearm is a felony, along with possession by a felon. We do not need more legislation trying to define what is already defined. What is needed is enforcement against REAL criminals.

Let us use California as an example. Our state along with some of our cities have very tight firearms regulations, yet we experience a higher-than-average violent crime rate. Places like Washington, D.C. and Chicago with high crime rates also have stringent restrictions on firearms. This is what happens when law-abiding citizens are disarmed, leaving at the mercy of the police, or God forbid, the criminal.

Why are we criminalizing firearms on the basis of how they look? The Second Amendment doesn't specifically enumerate that US citizens are allowed to keep and bear "military-style rifles" as arms, but this analogy would be akin to stating that the First Amendment only protects written speech if a quill pen or printing press was used.

"Arms" are "arms", and the right of the people to keep and bear them shall not be infringed. Without them, the body politic of the US is effectively toothless and unable to defend itself against oligarchy, tyranny, and against each other.

I know many ordinary people with families, good jobs, and a clean criminal record who own these types of firearms.

Are you willing to be complicit in turning these people into quasi-criminals in the eyes of their government? With your high rating in Civil Liberties proudly displayed on your website, it frankly surprises me to see your distaste towards the ability and option for normal Americans like myself to be armed in order to protect ourselves and our loved ones against a tyrannical government and a common burglar alike.

I ask you to make the proper decision regarding HR 6257 - the Bill of Rights is one thing, but the ability for ordinary people to defend those rights is what is at stake. Take a REAL stand for liberty, instead of taking a step towards erasing the ability for self-defense and the last recourse of the people against an invader, whether foreign or domestic.

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