Here is the body of a letter sent from a person who has been in law enforcement for all their lives, and has been an Assistant Special Agent in Charge for a state SBI. With all the "misinformation" and hysteria over gun control and the Sandy Hook incident (not to mention others including the Chinese incident several hours after Sandy Hook where a person injured 21 Chinese children with a knife - see NY Times link below). There are many opinions on the subject (but I would trust someone who has been there and done that), but this opinion I would respect over the speculative proposals and ill-informed proposals we have had publicized in the media, in Congress, and from the White House. While tragedies have happened over many centuries, the current proposals fall short of the "root cause" which is more a personal "moral and ethical" issue than a "method" issue. While general moral and ethical moors won't solve all the issues all the time, they have a tremendous effect on "whether you kill another person for their Nike tennis shoes" or not. Murder can happen via any mechanism if the person wishes to accomplish it. Today, many of those "restraints" have been demolished by special interest group’s intent on overthrowing anything with a vestige of "religious origin" or something similar in favor of, "I just want to decide what is right for me!" mentalities.
This is the "street" version:
By way of introduction my name is Marcellus "Mark" Buchanan. I am a recently retired Assistant Special Agent in Charge with the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation. I am currently volunteering as a Clay County Deputy Sheriff. I am 51 years old and have been a lifelong registered Democrat. I now reside in one of the more rural areas of western North Carolina. For most of my adult life, I have voted my conservative conscience and not by party lines. This is especially true with regard to our elections relating to federal office holders. This should in no way be interpreted that I would not readily vote for a middle of the road Democrat for federal office. Using an analogy, I simply feel we have to keep the country somewhere on the paved section of the road rather that in the conservative ditch to the right or in the liberal ditch to the left of the roadway! In describing for you my political affiliation and voting tendencies, I am simply trying to say that feel it important that I hold the line with regard to our socially responsible values and unencumbered constitutional rights. Over the past few years I have been increasingly concerned that our federal government is encouraging the erosion of the values of our society. I believe many elected officials of our federal government are now attempting to infringe on the millions of law-abiding citizens' Second Amendment Rights. I would specifically refer to those rights as they relate to the ownership of effective and relevant firearms by rural citizens for the purposes of self and family protection. I am not an avid hunter and do not pretend that the firearms I own are used for hunting purpose. I am not a legal scholar but I do not think the Second Amendment was passed in 1791 for any other purpose than that of self and family defense. During my North Carolina law enforcement career, of over 30 years, I have at some point worked in the majority of the state's counties. I would estimate that I have been a part of the investigative teams involving some 200 shooting incidents throughout my career. I can only recall 3 of these incidents that involved "assault rifles" that were used by criminals. Even though each of these "assault rifles" were capable of accepting high capacity magazines, none of these 3 shootings I worked involved the use of more than a few fired rounds of ammunition. These rifles were therefore utilized just as any common hunting rifle would have been used. After the New Town tragedy there was a flurry of quoted statistics relating to gun violence. I found it interesting that my law enforcement experiences coincided closely with many of the national averages. These specifically being that about 1.5% of all firearm shootings involved "assault rifles". What I have not heard during this very public debate was that the main characteristic of “assault rifles" and semiautomatic pistols, the capability of accepting a high capacity magazine, was rarely ever utilized during these shootings. My guess is this percentage of 1.5% would drop significantly if the full utilization of an “assault rifles” high capacity magazine capabilities were factored in.
Since the Columbine High School shooting I have attended multiple training sessions with regard to "rapid deployment" and "active shooter" responses. As a current Clay County Deputy, I am subject to be called to respond to any active shooter in the county. I would readily give my life as a responder if it would safeguard our beloved school children! As horrible and heartbreaking as these mass shootings with “assault rifles” are, however, they simply are not statistically significant when one considers all of the deaths by other weapons each year across our nation. They most certainly are not significant enough to disarm millions of law abiding rural citizens across our nations who depend on certain firearms for self and family protection. I strongly feel this whole gun control issue is more of a rural verses urban argument than it is a Republican verse Democrat debate. I hear Senators and Representatives from the urban areas of the country vehemently arguing that there is no reason why anyone would need more than 10 rounds of ammunition for self-defense. In their world, where the average response time by police to a call for help might only be 2-3 minutes, this might well be the case. For the vast majority of our country's lands, however, this could not be further from the truth. There are rather large counties out here in western North Carolina that might only have a single Deputy Sheriff on night patrol. It is quite possible that an urgent call for help in the middle of the night could result in a Deputy’s response time being 30-45 minutes. I'm sure ranchers in the southern rural portions of California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas think we have good law enforcement response times here in western North Carolina. I would suspect law enforcement response times in those boarder states could well exceed an hour if not more. For most of our country, geographically speaking, I would argue that it is entirely reasonable and appropriate for law-abiding citizens to be able protect themselves and family with firearms that are capable of extended controlled fire until law enforcement can arrive. One should also consider the very low “hit probability” with regard to shootings by even our trained law enforcement officers. Statistics vary wildly depending on departmental training, day or night encounters, distances that offenders were engaged, etc. It is probably fair to say average “hit probability” percentages for all shootings by trained law enforcement officers to be less than 30-35 %. With this in mind it should certainly be reasonable for that terrified young mother, who is defending herself and child from an intruder, to have a firearm capable of sustained fire that might well overcome the above described “hit probability” issue. You have noted by now that although I have used the term "assault rifle", I have concentrated primarily on firearms that are capable of accepting high capacity magazines. After watching several newscasts of politicians and some law enforcement department heads that support gun control, I am embarrassed on their behalf as to their lack of understanding of the nomenclature of firearms. Throughout my law enforcement career I have never worked a case nor do I know any other officer who has ever worked a case involving anyone who has been injured by most all of the of the components of what has been used to define an "assault rifle". To my knowledge no one has ever been killed or injured by a pistol grip, flash suppressor, collapsible stock or bayonet lug! I am always amazed at the many politicians and gun control advocates who point to photographs of terrible looking "assault rifles" and are forced to stumble and make up words in describing what makes an "assault rifle" so much more dangerous than the common hunting rifle. In conclusion, I am not a member of the NRA and do not agree with some of the hard and fast stances they are taking. I am seriously considering joining them, however, since they are the only real lobby that law-abiding citizens now have to protect what I perceive to be an attack on our Constitutional rights by urban legislators. I am adamantly opposed to any type of gun registration as well as any bans of pistols and rifles that are capable of holding a sufficient number of rounds for personal and family protection in the rural areas of our great country. I consider factory provided high capacity magazines to have legitimate uses by the millions of law-abiding citizens across our rural countryside. Have legitimate uses by the millions of law-abiding citizens across our rural countryside.