January 4, 2014 Leave a comment
Samuel Brisco (County Judge)
Ron Davis (Precinct 1)
Bruce Todd (Precinct 2)
Gerald Daugherty (Precinct 3)
Margaret Gomez (Precinct 4)
Dear Sirs & Madame -
My name is Thomas Cameron, and I am an Austin and Travis County native. I’ve been here all of my 44 years. My two daughters were born here, and my wife has lived here most of her adult life.
I am a senior professional with 20 years of experience in the software industry. I’m educated, I’m well read (I hope), and I try to carefully consider both sides when considering current issues.
We generally lean left. I’m pretty liberal. I’m a strong supporter of the ACLU as an important organization which protects the civil liberties our founding fathers recognized in the US Constitution and Bill of Rights.
I’m also a lifetime member of the National Rifle Association. Even though I don’t agree with all of the NRA’s propaganda, their fundamental message is sound: gun ownership is a right which has been upheld by the courts repeatedly, and that right must be protected.
As a responsible gun owner, I have been to numerous firearms safety and marksmanship classes. I have spent countless hours going over firearms safety with my wife and daughters. We spend a lot of time at the ranch shooting. It’s a very enjoyable sport in which my whole family participates.
I’m also a hunter. I’ve put hundreds of pounds of meat in my family’s freezers using various firearms. I work really, really hard to be an ethical hunter, following the law, making sure I’m licensed, and practising a LOT. I want to make sure that when I shoot an animal, that animal does not suffer.
I’m a tinkerer. I own a couple of sports cars, and I love modifying and working on them. I love adding after-market parts to customize them exactly the way I want to. I also enjoy building and modifying my computers, building them for exactly the tasks that I want them to perform. In that same vein, I enjoy tinkering on firearms. I love the fact that I can add build a custom rifle and then add after-market parts to build exactly the shooting platform that I want.
In short, I’m a pretty typical Texas firearm owner. I’m safe, ethical, and I spend a ton of money on my hobby. I am representative of every single gun owner I know, and I know scores of them. We’re smart, safe, ethical, and are *zero* risk to society. We also spend a lot of money on our hobbies.
The move by the anti-gun lobby to restrict my ability to enjoy my right to keep and bear arms by encumbering Saxet shows is wrong. The fact of the matter is that the VAST majority of gun show attendees are like me and my friends. We’re zero risk to society. In fact, a U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics survey of state prison inmates who had used or possessed firearms in the course of committing their crimes found that 79 percent acquired their firearms from “street/illegal sources” or “friends and family.” This includes theft of firearms, black market purchases of stolen firearms and straw purchases. Only 1.7 percent obtained a firearm at a gun show.
Additionally, it’s an ineffective crime control proposal. In April of 2013, PoliceOne (a very large, well respected law enforcement community) conducted a national survey of 15,000 active and retired law enforcement officers of all ranks and department sizes on the topics of gun and crime control. Nearly 80 percent said that a prohibition on private non-dealer transfers of firearms between individuals would not reduce violent crime.
It’s also bad business. I spend a LOT of money on my hobbies. Making it harder for me to get firearms and accessories will not stop me from doing so – it will only ensure that I spend my money outside of Travis County, depriving the county of tax revenues. I will order my gear over the Internet, or travel to nearby counties which respect my right to keep and bear arms, and spend my money there.
I understand the desire to curb gun crime. I share that desire. But curtailing Saxet or other gun shows is ineffectual. It infringes on law-abiding citizens rights and does almost nothing to curb gun crime.
Please do not give in to these anti-gun lobbyists. Doing so does not achieve our shared desire to curb gun violence, it curtails our Constitutionally guaranteed right to keep and bear arms, and it deprives my home county of much needed tax revenues.