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Hochstatter's Bills

From: robert n lyman <rlyman@u.washington.edu>
Date: Wed, 16 Jan 2002 10:17:35 -0800 (PST)
To: kenney_ph@leg.wa.gov
Subject: Hochstatter's bills

Rep. Gutierrez-Kenney,

The Yakima Herald quoted you as saying that Rep. Hochstatter's effort to over turn the state's "Gun-free schools" law was "unconscionable". You call allowing "people to go to work with our children while carrying firearms" "ridiculous".

You claim that shootings involving student perpetrators show why it is imperative to keep all guns out of school.

As a 46th district voter, I am eager to understand the logic behind these comments. Could you please answer the following questions:

How does a shooting by a 14-year-old relate to the ability of teachers to carry guns? The student is not a teacher, and is too young to legally posses a gun or obtain a concealed carry permit. How would a teacher possessing a gun (assuming it was carried responsibly) promote student violence?

How do you intend to "keep all guns out of school" when the shootings in question demonstrate beyond any doubt that such a thing is impossible, or possible only with outrageously expensive and intrusive airport-type security?

Do you believe that mere possession of a gun turns an ordinary, responsible adult into a murderer? If so, how can you explain the 80 million gun owners in the US who are NOT murderers? How do you explain the more than 250,000 WA residents with concealed carry permits who are NOT murderers? Do you believe that a responsible adult who carries a gun off campus will suddenly become a murderer merely by stepping into a school zone? When you say "keep all guns out of school," do you include guns carried by police officers? If so, how should unarmed police respond to a school shooting or other crime on campus? If not, why not? After all, if a teacher with a post-graduate education and years of teaching experience is not to be trusted not to murder his or her students, why should a less-educated cop with no experience with children be trusted? Can you provide any evidence or even a single anecdote involving a properly-licensed adult carrying a concealed weapon legally who suddenly decided to kill children in school? Or is it the case that school shootings are cause by underage students and criminal adults who have no legal right to be armed anywhere?

Oregon schools are not "gun-free." Can you provide evidence that they are less safe than Washington schools? If so, are they less safe because legally armed teachers kill unruly students?

Rep. Gutierrez-Kenney, please do not respond with emotional pleading. That would be a waste of time for both of us. You are intelligent enough to see that my questions are rational and that a rational public policy must depend on the answers to them.

I will share a secret with you that only a handful of my closest friends know. I carry a gun almost every day for protection. I am careful to avoid places such as schools and post offices where doing so is illegal. I resent your implication that I am a violent criminal simply because I refuse to allow myself or my family to be victimized. I resent your claim that I am somehow unfit to work with children. It reminds me a great deal of the claim that homosexuals are unfit to be teachers, and offends me no less. Because we both know the answer to the above questions, and because we both know that they show your anti-gun-owner position to be without logic, I am forced to believe that you are prejudiced against innocent people who own guns, just as many conservatives harbor prejudice toward gays.

Perhaps Rep. Hochstatter has soured you on gun owners generally. This makes as much sense as judging all homosexuals by the intentionally outrageous conduct of a few drag queens. We are a diverse and many-faceted group, and we deserve better than to be treated as criminals.

I am disappointed in you.

Robert Lyman
607 NW 88th St
Seattle, WA 98117


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