I got permission to post this email exchange from a Republican constituent. They gave me permission to post their emails as long as I removed their name and any identifying details. I enjoy debating with constituents. I usually agree with constituents, but in this case we are miles apart.
Feb 21, 2013
As one of your constituents, fellow Eagle Mountain resident and as a worried mother I am writing you today. I am a member of both the national and Utah chapters of Moms Demand Action for gun sense in America (previously known as “One Million Moms for gun Control”). I am increasingly concerned for the message this States government is sending to the children that we will protect our guns before we protect, provide and educate them. As a new member of the State House of Representatives you have the opportunity to bring common sense solutions and problem solving to many issues.
The bill that was passed yesterday in the house (HB76), that allows gun owners to carry their weapons almost anywhere and at any time without a permit is irresponsible. It shows an air of disrespect for others safety. It says that the state approves of less responsibility, education and care for gun owners in the state. Please do not vote yes on this bill in the Senate. Why does the state allow people to tote weapons without permits, licenses, registrations, restrictions? Just this weekend in Lehi a “gentleman” was carrying a loaded gun and dropped it at Tepanyaki. It went off and shot a hole in the ceiling. What a lucky bounce that gun took that it did not injure or kill any of the nearly 100 people in that restaurant at that time. What a frightening reminder that when we allow anyone to carry whenever, wherever and however they want without training and education, tragic accidents are not far behind. The right of 100’s to life (and the ability to have a meal without fear or purposefully or accidently being shot) outweighs ones assumed right to carry any firearm, anyway he wants, anywhere he wants without a permit nor proper training. I am also discouraged that we don’t hear of these types on incidents reported in the media or to the authorities. We only learned about it because our good friend was there, witnessed it and took photos. How often do ‘near misses’ happen? We must enact and enforce laws in this state that require background checks and training classes in order to obtain a concealed weapons permit. These permits should expire timely and be renewed at least every 2-3 years.
Also, the purposed law HB268 that allows anyone to carry any weapon in public places without a possibility of being citied with disorderly conduct is disgusting. Many of these large, assault rifles and other weapons are brought into public and worn openly only for a reason: to intimidate, threaten and make a scene. If I was anywhere and saw someone who was not in uniform carrying a weapon like that I would high tail it out of there and call the police. We don’t know who that person is, what their intentions or capabilities are. My children should not feel threatened or scared to go to the store, the state house, school, dinner or the movies.
In the house meeting yesterday a representative of the NRA “demonstrated” that guns don’t intimidate nor threaten. I whole heartedly disagree. They do exactly that. If I see someone carrying a gun, I am not going to confront him if he is behaving inappropriately or illegally. I absolutely feel intimidated and threatened (not to mention helpless) by the mere presence of his weapon. I have to assume he has had proper training and a reason for carrying a deadly weapon on his hip, across his back, in his coat, over his shoulder on in his sock. With this law passed, I would start assuming exactly the opposite. I don’t want to take my children into public more and more around here for fear of vigilantism and accidental shootings if more and more people are packing heat without a permit.
I think HB 121 is a good idea. A common sense solution to a potential problem. This type of support and problem solving is more of what this country needs.
I agree with Rep. King who was quoted yesterday as saying “I’m concerned we’re moving too far in our state in the direction of unreasonable and unnecessary access to guns.” I fear that those of us in the state (and there are many) who want stricter, reasonable gun control measures are not being heard. We are being bullied and intimidated by gun enthusiasts who are irrationally afraid of their guns being taken away, by the federal government storming in and taking over. We don’t have an arsenal of deadly weapons to carry on our hips and on our backs to show that we are serious about this issue. We can only hope that logic and reason will be stronger than intimidation by those carrying their weapons for all to see.
Please consider all views and opinions during your debates and votes. Please be brave and vote for common sense measures to increase gun safety instead of irrational, unneeded and dangerous legislation doing the opposite.
Thank you for your time.
Feb 21, 2013
I appreciate your well thought out and logical presentation. I am concerned as well about gun violence. I would like to discuss this with you further, could I call you at a convenient time?
Just so you know, we live in an area that has broad gun rights support and I have at least a dozen constituents that have asked me to support HB76.
The next survey that I do on DavidLifferth.com will be about HB76. I hope that you would participate in that survey.
Rep. Dave Lifferth
Thank you for your quick response and willingness to hear different opinions. I am all too well aware of the “redness” of our state and especially our county and city. I often feel like I am going crazy when I try and talk politics logically and frankly with friends and neighbors.
I will happily speak with you over the phone. You can call me anytime today at [phone number removed]. I will also happily participate in any survey you conduct to gather information and opinions.
Thank you again for your time-
Subject: Re: safety and security for our children
4 minutes after I got your email, I got this email to from an opposing view point. I have removed the name for privacy sakes. This is typical of the emails that I get on a regular basis. I'm would like to hear your response to this email.
My name is [Name removed] and I live in [Another city in Utah in another House District] Utah. I appreaciate your representation in the Utah State House of Reps. I am writing to you because there are 2 bills that I am very passionate about and I hope to have your support in voting YES on both of these bills.
The Bills are HB 76 and HB 114
The former, HB 76, is a bill that supports a persons right to carry a weapon concealed without a permit. The federal constitution AND the Utah state constitution both clearly state that a person has a right to arms and I hope you support the right of the people of Utah to carry concealed without a permit. Also, I think it is important to note that Alaska, Arizona, Vermont and Wyoming allow residents to carry a concealed firearm without a permit. I hope you vote in favor of joining Utah to these states that currently allow for concealed carry without a permit.
The latter, HB 114, is an unbelievably important bill that needs passage by the state of Utah. The federal government is out of control and has been taken over by a few very powerful men who orchestrate their agenda through the Federal Reserve Bank. You may or may not believe that statement but it is true. In their agenda they want to disarm the American People. Again, that is a bold statement, but it is true. If you read the federal bills that they are trying to pass through (senator Feinsteins bill) it would ban approximately 80% of all guns in America. 80% is no small number. They want the american people reduced to ball and powder muskets that were available in 1776 when we revolted against England for tyrannical behavior against the American Colonies. This is their interpretation of the right to bear arms written in the late 18th century. Please stand up to the federal government and say that they can not come into Utah and dictate their agenda to the people here! Please make it a crime for federal enforcement of "gun control" in Utah. Vote yes on HB 114!
[Another Person with name removed]
Oh boy. I do not envy your position at all.
He asks that you vote yes on HB 76 but doesn’t offer any logical reason for doing so other than a handful of other states might be doing it. What are the pro’s to allowing anyone to carry a weapon without a permit? Without training? Without a background check? How does that better us as a nation? As a state? As a community? I cannot think of a pro that outweighs the cons. My safety and my children’s right to life supersedes anyone’s right to carry a firearm without a background check, without training, without being competent to understand what they are doing.
The constitution does clearly state that we all have the right to arms but nowhere in the constitution is it said that this right is not subject to any regulations and restrictions. We require people to register and license such things as their cars and their pets. If they are careless, negligent or endanger someone with such things, they get citations, jail time and or lose licenses and or animals get taken away. Why would we assume the same expectations and restrictions wouldn’t apply to gun ownership? Gun ownership is a right, but it is also a responsibility that needs to be taken seriously. We need gun laws that make sense.
As far as his argument for HB 114… can I say it is “crazy”? Oh… I just did. I can say that, but you can’t. J I will just point out that his “argument” for 114 is extreme. He is on the very Right fringe with his portrayal of federal government motives and the future of our nation. We need problem solving and lawmaking coming from middle ground and not the extremes. I have a hard time ‘reasoning’ with those who have such an extreme view that we will seriously have to take up arms against our own government (I feel when having a discussion on gun control with many in this state most “jump” to this extreme quickly without rationally discussing everything in-between). There are checks and balances in place in our government to ensure that will not happen. Do they not have faith in the rest of us in the country that we would not let that happen? The government is not perfect, but we cannot make villains (literal villains that we are willing to murder with our guns) of those who have opposing views from ours. There is also a LOT of grey area with gun and weaponry between “ball and powder muskets” and many different automatic assault weapons that are being discussed in the federal government currently. Also, saying that we as a state wouldn’t conform to nationwide background check regulation or ammunition restrictions is not the same as being disarmed by the federal government. I am sure that if the founding fathers saw the weapons we have today (and let our citizens buy, and stock up on without consistent regulations) they would be scared out of their minds. They could not fathom such weapons. The worst they knew were” ball and powder muskets”. I think we are getting in very dangerous territory when we as a State feel like we need to overpower the federal government, when we say we will not obey the law of the land, when we have lost complete faith in the system and then start to fight against it and reject it entirely. The system only works properly when we all participate. The federal government consists of representatives from each state, each state has a voice. The representatives from each branch of government were elected by the people to make decisions for everyone. I feel like a position today that the federal government (or any government) is evil and that we need to literally, physically protect ourselves from them before there is a threat is itself dangerous, premature and immature.
But the short answer in a response to him would need to include staying in the middle ground and not jumping to extreme conclusions about intent or possible future actions of the federal government. Also “responsible gun owners” shouldn’t have many problems conforming to common sense gun laws. Complete a background check, take classes to get licensed (permitted) every few years, maintain your weapon, only carry weapons in public that make sense … none of those standards, expectations or responsibilities equal getting your right to own a gun taken away.
I am glad that you got to see some of the emails that I get on a regular basis.
The 2nd Amendment to the Constitution states that the "Right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." Every additional restriction that you cite, I would classify as "infringement" on that constitutionally guaranteed right to keep and bear arms. The recent Supreme Court Case of District of Columbia vs. Heller stated that the 2nd Amendment right is an individual right and that every citizen has the right to defend themselves without government restricting that right.
No one else's rights should infringe on your right to your own Life, Liberty, and and Pursuit of Happiness.
As I am a co-sponsor of HB114, my opinion is that it and I am not crazy. As Supreme Court Justice Robert's said "States should behave like states" and defend their own rights. When President Obama makes extra-constitutional Executive Orders that are a violation of the constitution that he swore on a bible to uphold, who is the check on that abuse of power?
I don't necessarily fear my government, but as I and my family have been threatened before, I feel the need to defend myself and them using any legal means necessary. For that reason, I feel the need to have the same firepower that the bad guys have. Since the Obama administration allowed thousands of high power guns to fall into the hands of documented criminals, I stand by my logical need to have the same firepower that the gave to the bad guys.
I do have a concealed carry permit and I recognize the status that that license gives me which is superior to the proposed "constitutional carry" bill of HB76. However, if there is someone that feels threatened and the need to defend themselves I will honor their need to possess a gun for self defense. Women are probably the most threatened of all crime victims and I have regularly encouraged them to get a gun and get training so that they feel comfortable in defending themselves. I don't wan't to deprive them of the ability to defend themselves until they have a license or have a training course.
We must agree to disagree on this important issue. I will follow the survey results of my constitutes that overwhelmingly support HB114: http://davidlifferth.ning.com/profiles/blogs/results-of-constituent....
I will conduct the next survey on HB76 and make you aware of the results.
Rep. Dave Lifferth
Yes we must agree to disagree on this issue. In fact, we will agree to disagree on each of our amateur interpretations of the verbiage in the constitution and on most of the "facts" you mentioned as justification for your extreme ideology behind these proposed bills.
I do however feel that our country is settling for this type of attitude (you vs me) in governing instead of demanding compromise, and action from the middle ground. Coming up with solutions that include and benefit "the whole" of society is much more difficult work than bullying others into your/our/their way of thinking. Included in such behavior is passing laws that are very extreme to one side so the argument can be justified as "lawful" thus making it increasingly difficult for more moderate laws to be passed in the future.
As a registered republican I am increasingly disappointed and honestly disgusted with the turn our party has taken over the last 6-8 years or so. This idea that we have to draw a line in the sand and not waver or compromise or reason together on a position or issue is not going to move us in a direction that can last through future generations. It's tearing our politics, our country apart.
I do thank you for taking the time to respond to my emails and at least briefly discuss this issue with me personally. Every other government representative I have contacted so far has only responded with a mostly form letter, so I am thankful for your time, attention and correspondence.
Could I post your email on my web site either with or without your name? I would like to show the debate that I have with constituents and that we don't always agree?
Yes, you have my permission to post our email correspondence on your site as long as you ensure ALL personal information including both first and last names, email address and phone number is removed. Thank you again for your time.