An open letter to Sen. Susan Collins



To the Editor:

This is an open letter to Sen. Susan Collins.

There are five firearms related issues I am asking you to address immediately. I know of what I speak, having been a gun owner and hunter for many years.

The heinous Orlando slaughter of 49 innocent people, the wounding of 53 others on June 12 at the Pulse Nightclub and the equally heinous slaughter of 20 innocent little children and six educators at the Sandy Hook School in Newtown, Conn. on Dec. 14, 2012, should be more than enough to make all U.S. senators get off their duffs. Senators should shed their fear of the NRA and act with the dignity and courage expected of men and women fortunate enough to occupy the esteemed offices we voters elected you to serve us in.

If these holocausts were not enough, how about the 355 mass shootings that occurred last year? How about the fact that over 32,000 Americans died from gun shots last year? Over 73,000 Americans are wounded by guns each and every year. If terrorists were killing and wounding that many people annually, martial law would have been declared by now. Enough is enough!

What does the U.S. Congress do? A few moments of silence and then business as usual.

Recently, you, Sen. Collins, have made an attempt to move beyond the usual meaningless, shameful behavior of virtually all your Republican colleagues. I applaud you for that and encourage you to do more.

Please authorize the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Agency to computerize all gun sales data. Currently, ATF agents must access old paper records in outdated, cluttered files to research information on a gun used in a crime. Handicapping ATF is an embarrassing bow to the NRA. It is a national disgrace. You can lead a movement to change this.

Appoint a full-time director of ATF. This is another stupid, disgraceful capitulation to the NRA.

Authorize the NIH and the CDC to conduct research on gun violence and provide the necessary funding. The NRA lobbied Congress to ban this research in 1996. This was shortsighted and stupid, and it shows the world that America prides itself on being ignorant about life and death issues.

Sen. Collins, you can show Maine and the nation that you are a senator conducting herself with dignity, intelligence and a desire to protect the rights of all Americans not to be cut down by a violent person using a dangerous weapon.

The right to live a full life should not be overshadowed by the specious argument that individuals on the terrorist watch list must not have their Second Amendment rights violated.

Submit legislation to reintroduce the assault weapons ban that George W. Bush allowed to expire in 2004. No hunter would ever, ever go into the woods for game armed with an assault weapon. These weapons capable of holding 19-100 rounds are designed for one purpose only: killing human beings. Police departments and our military are the only entities that should be using assault weapons.

These issues are of major concern to me and many of my friends and associates of all political stripes. You are well aware that 90 percent of all American voters support many of the points I’ve raised.

We expect to see some action on your part to put these issues before the Senate.

It is common knowledge that 53 senators have received $31 million dollars in NRA support. It is disgusting and shameful, and it creates the image that the NRA has many compliant senators and representatives who dance to their tune for the dollars.

Stand up and be counted. You will get far more support than the NRA can ever offer you publicly or behind the scenes, by doing what is right and just. Supporting the five items I have presented will help honor the memories of those killed recently in Orlando and all those innocent children and educators at the Sandy Hook Elementary School.

This has become a single issue race for me and many others.

 

Frank Zito

Southwest Harbor

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