Again with my congressman


Last July I got the following in an e-newsletter from my Congressman:

[My congressman], a long-time gun owner and avid supporter of the 2nd Amendment, is once again fighting against increased regulations on gun owners.

Rep. [Blah] introduced an amendment to the FY2014 Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations Bill that would prohibit the use of any funds to require reporting of multiple rifle or shotgun sales to an individual. The amendment was passed by the full House Appropriations Committee and included in the Commerce, Justice and Science appropriations bill Wednesday morning, July 17, by a voice vote.

Chairman [Blah]’s amendment is in response to a program that was implemented two years ago by the Department of Justice that requires gun dealers in Texas, Arizona, California and New Mexico to report all sales of multiple rifles or shotguns to the same buyer to the federal government.

“The government has no business tracking the gun purchases of law-abiding citizens. American’s should not be placed on a watch list for simply exercising their constitutional rights,” said Chairman [Blah]. “President Obama should focus his attention on criminals rather than honest citizens exercising their rights.”

Well, okay, I don’t agree with that position, but it is kind of reasonable. I have to say that because it’s basically my argument against the NSA surveillance programs if you just substitute “gun purchases” with “internet usage” or “phone calls.”

So I wrote him a note, which I failed to save (dangit!) in which I pointed out that similarity. So here’s the response I got:

Thank you for contacting me with your concerns regarding NSA surveillance programs.  I appreciate hearing from you on this important issue.

The House recently defeated an amendment to restrict the NSA phone surveillance program during floor consideration of the FY14 Defense Appropriations bill.  I recognize that many are disappointed, this issue merits thoughtful and thorough consideration NOT simply fifteen minutes of debate on the House floor.  Dismantling one of our most critical counterterrorism tools in such a manner could have troubling national security consequences.
We must provide our intelligence community the capabilities necessary to defend America and its citizens while ensuring fourth amendment protections against unlawful search and seizure are secure.  I am pleased that House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers has pledged to add privacy protections on the program into the forthcoming intelligence authorization bill this fall.  You can be sure I will keep your strong views in mind as Congress crafts national security policy options in the months ahead.
Thank you for taking the time to contact me.  I appreciate the opportunity to represent you in the U.S. House of Representatives.  Please feel free to visit my website or contact me with any future concerns.

The man is wimping out. No sir, not on my watch. Maybe if I come at him from the tea-party side:

Dear sir,
In response to a previous letter, you said the following:
“We must provide our intelligence community the capabilities necessary to defend America and its citizens while ensuring fourth amendment protections against unlawful search and seizure are secure.”

I don’t know, balancing our God-given Constitutional rights against security needs sounds pretty moderate to me. As the Lt. Gov learned last time around (and to paraphrase Barry Goldwater) Moderation in the Republican Primary is no virtue. Even the Bible has guidance for you, Rev 3:16 “So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.” (King James Version).

I know you wouldn’t ever equivocate on the 2nd Amendment so what makes the 4th (and 5th and 3rd) of lesser importance than the 2nd that we can afford to compromise on them? Isn’t the entire Bill of Rights there specifically to protect us from an overreaching Federal Government? Or are you a part-time Patriot?

I should note that in the last round of statewide elections, “moderate” was the dirty name-calling name of choice. I suppose no one would buy calling these guys “liberal” since liberals are extinct hereabouts. Calling his patriotism into question was probably over the line, but he made me mad.

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