Scott Tibbs

Gun control rhetoric: An open letter to President Biden

By Scott Tibbs, June 8, 2022

Note: I sent this to President Biden on May 27.

I was deeply disappointed in your speech following the horrifying massacre of school children in Uvalde, Texas by a truly evil man. You came into office after a deeply divisive four years and a former President who refused to discipline his mouth, promising to be a unifying figure. Sadly, your "unity" message is that we must all agree with you. Acting like a mirror image of Donald Trump has been your biggest failure as President.

Mr. President, you asked when we will stand up to the so-called "gun lobby." Do you know what the "gun lobby" actually is? The gun lobby is 70 million American citizens who own guns, some of whom voted for you two years ago. These are people who have never murdered anyone, but many of them have used their gun to save their lives or the lives of a loved one - sometimes without even firing a shot. They vote to protect their right to own weapons. This is not a shadowy cabal running things from smoke-filled rooms. These are average Americans.

Do you know why so-called "assault weapons" are popular? Because they are effective home-defense weapons. These are not "weapons of war," and you know it. They are not fully automatic machine guns. They are the same weapons people have used for home defense for generations. The Second Amendment was never about hunting. It was always about self-defense. Furthermore, the vast majority of gun crimes are committed with handguns, so your obsession with so-called "assault weapons" is a deliberate diversion.

Mr. President, the point of this letter to you is not gun control policy. The point is that people who disagree with you are people who believe your policies are not the best way to reduce gun violence. Nobody wants to see mass shootings, or gang violence, or suicides. (Suicides actually represent the majority of gun fatalities.) You could be a true leader and recognize that we all have the same goal, but that we have different policy solutions to reach that goal. You could make your case in a rational way for expanded gun control without demonizing those who disagree with your policies. You have failed to be that leader.

Mr. President, the rhetoric of your party is even worse. People who disagree with you about public policy have been accused of not caring when children die. If you want to be a unifying figure, you would say that these are not people who dismiss the murder of children, but are instead people who disagree with you about policy. You would say that disagreement over public policy is not evidence of bad motives or evil intent.

Do you remember when John McCain rebuked a Republican who called President Obama an "Arab," defending Obama's character? You should emulate McCain by rebuking the extreme and disgusting rhetoric of your party. You will not, because your entire campaign of returning to civility was a fraud from the very beginning. I invite you to prove me wrong, because I would love to be wrong. Mr. President, please live up to the defining theme of your 2020 campaign. It is not too late to be the unifying leader you promised to be.

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