Columbine survivor Evan Todd released an open letter to President Barack Obama on Wednesday in which he offers a point-by-point analysis of proposed firearms control initiatives, dismissing them as ineffective and dangerous to Americans’ rights.
He recently outlined why he fervently disagrees with the gun control policies that have been proposed in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. TheBlaze interviewed Todd earlier this week and subsequently detailed how his experience being shot back in 1999 has shaped his views on the issue.
The letter, which speaks directly to the president, covers a number of key facets in the gun control debate. On universal background checks, Todd expresses his fears that “universal registration can easily be used for universal confiscation.” Additionally, he says his belief that assault weapons bans are ineffective and argues that the first law did little to stop violence when it was in effect from 1994 until 2004; he cites Columbine as a prime example.
“It was during this time that I personally witnessed two fellow students murder twelve of my classmates and one teacher,” he writes. “The assault weapons ban did not deter these two murderers, nor did the other thirty-something laws that they broke.”
Of particular note in the letter is the survivor’s insistence that Obama’s proposed regulations impede the rights of Americans and endanger them by capping magazine sizes and restricting the types of guns that are available to law-abiding citizens.
“Why would you prefer criminals to have the ability to out-gun law-abiding citizens?,” he asks the president in the text. “Whose side are you on?”
Read Todd’s open letter to Obama, below.
As a student who was shot and wounded during the Columbine massacre, I have a few thoughts on the current gun debate. In regards to your gun control initiatives:
Universal Background Checks
First, a universal background check will have many devastating effects. It will arguably have the opposite impact of what you propose. If adopted, criminals will know that they can not pass a background check legally, so they will resort to other avenues. With the conditions being set by this initiative, it will create a large black market for weapons and will support more criminal activity and funnel additional money into the hands of thugs, criminals, and people who will do harm to American citizens.
Second, universal background checks will create a huge bureaucracy that will cost an enormous amount of tax payers dollars and will straddle us with more debt. We cannot afford it now, let alone create another function of government that will have a huge monthly bill attached to it.
Third, is a universal background check system possible without universal gun registration? If so, please define it for us. Universal registration can easily be used for universal confiscation. I am not at all implying that you, sir, would try such a measure, but we do need to think about our actions through the lens of time.
It is not impossible to think that a tyrant, to the likes of Mao, Castro, Che, Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini, and others, could possibly rise to power in America. It could be five, ten, twenty, or one hundred years from now — but future generations have the natural right to protect themselves from tyrannical government just as much as we currently do. It is safe to assume that this liberty that our forefathers secured has been a thorn in the side of would-be tyrants ever since the Second Amendment was adopted.
Ban on Military-Style Assault Weapons
The evidence is very clear pertaining to the inadequacies of the assault weapons ban. It had little to no effect when it was in place from 1994 until 2004. It was during this time that I personally witnessed two fellow students murder twelve of my classmates and one teacher. The assault weapons ban did not deter these two murderers, nor did the other thirty-something laws that they broke.
Gun ownership is at an all time high. And although tragedies like Columbine and Newtown are exploited by ideologues and special-interest lobbying groups, crime is at an all time low. The people have spoken. Gun store shelves have been emptied. Gun shows are breaking attendance records. Gun manufacturers are sold out and back ordered. Shortages on ammo and firearms are countrywide. The American people have spoken and are telling you that our Second Amendment shall not be infringed.
10-Round Limit for Magazines
Virginia Tech was the site of the deadliest school shooting in U.S. history. Seung-Hui Cho used two of the smallest caliber hand guns manufactured and a handful of ten round magazines. There are no substantial facts that prove that limited magazines would make any difference at all.
Second, this is just another law that endangers law-abiding citizens. I’ve heard you ask, “why does someone need 30 bullets to kill a deer?”
Let me ask you this: Why would you prefer criminals to have the ability to out-gun law-abiding citizens? Under this policy, criminals will still have their 30-round magazines, but the average American will not. Whose side are you on?
Lastly, when did they government get into the business of regulating “needs?” This is yet another example of government overreaching and straying from its intended purpose.
Selling to Criminals
Mr. President, these are your words: “And finally, Congress needs to help, rather than hinder, law enforcement as it does its job. We should get tougher on people who buy guns with the express purpose of turning around and selling them to criminals. And we should severely punish anybody who helps them do this.”
Why don’t we start with Eric Holder and thoroughly investigate the Fast and Furious program?
Furthermore, the vast majority of these mass murderers bought their weapons legally and jumped through all the hoops — because they were determined to murder. Adding more hoops and red tape will not stop these types of people. It doesn’t now — so what makes you think it will in the future? Criminals who cannot buy guns legally just resort to the black market.
Criminals and murderers will always find a way.
Mr. President, in theory, your initiatives and proposals sound warm and fuzzy — but in reality they are far from what we need. Your initiatives seem to punish law-abiding American citizens and enable the murderers, thugs, and other lowlifes who wish to do harm to others.
Let me be clear: These ideas are the worst possible initiatives if you seriously care about saving lives and also upholding your oath of office. There is no dictate, law, or regulation that will stop bad things from happening — and you know that. Yet you continue to push the rhetoric. Why?
You said, “If we can save just one person it is worth it.” Well here are a few ideas that will save more that one individual:
First, forget all of your current initiatives and 23 purposed executive orders. They will do nothing more than impede law-abiding citizens and breach the intent of the Constitution. Each initiative steals freedom, grants more power to an already-overreaching government, and empowers and enables criminals to run amok.
Second, press Congress to repeal the “Gun Free Zone Act.” Don’t allow America’s teachers and students to be endangered one-day more. These parents and teachers have the natural right to defend themselves and not be looked at as criminals. There is no reason teachers must disarm themselves to perform their jobs. There is also no reason a parent or volunteer should be disarmed when they cross the school line.
This is your chance to correct history and restore liberty. This simple act of restoring freedom will deter would-be murderers and for those who try, they will be met with resistance.
Mr. President, do the right thing, restore freedom, and save lives. Show the American people that you stand with them and not with thugs and criminals.
Severely Concerned Citizen, Evan M. Todd