An open letter to my voters in the wake of the Parkland shooting,
Many of you have reached out with concerns regarding new regulations of firearms in the wake of recent tragic events. I feel the need to explain my own views on guns to adequately address the concerns brought forth on their regulation.
I did not grow up in a household with guns, and had not fired one until I was an adult. As a student at Georgia Tech, I was faced with suicides by my fellow students, an underfunded counseling center struggling to address mental health, and constant reports of armed robberies with a campus police department limited in its reach beyond school property that left me afraid to walk home at night. It left me torn on how to approach the issue of my own personal safety, and the safety and wellbeing of my community.
I remember watching the news at the Woodruff dining hall on campus when Newtown, CT shooting happened, and seeing the look of horror on the faces of my fellow students. I was confronted with the reality that something like this could happen to me, to my school, and there was little I could do to prevent it. While many policymakers tried to draw conclusions that involved limiting access to firearms, my own course of action was the decision to join the Georgia Tech Marksmanship Club and learn how to shoot, effectively taking accountability for my own safety.
I applied for my Georgia Weapons Carry License at 21, while still a student, and have kept it active since, carrying a gun nearly every day. Although I consider myself a pacifist and a strong adherent to the Non-Aggression Principle, I’m also a bisexual atheist, and do not intend to be the victim of a hate crime committed at the whim of a mob which would rather I not exist, as too frequently happens in this world. As we saw with Parkland, and as the Supreme Court decided in Castle Rock v. Gonzales, the police are not required to protect you, and often fail at serving and protecting.
As a student of history, I’ve seen countless examples of the needs of everyday citizens to be armed, especially in the face of political instability and violent extremism. Korean-Americans famously armed themselves and worked together to defend their community during the LA Riots in the 1990s. Today, LGBT+ Americans face constant threats by extremists that wish to do them harm; I’m a member of Pink Pistols, whose motto “Armed Gays Don’t Get Bashed,” I take very seriously.
It breaks my heart to see mass shootings occurring with seemingly increasing frequency, but it angers me further that our government has failed us on multiple occasions at enforcing existing gun laws that could have kept these events from occurring, yet demands passing more laws. The failure of the military to report the domestic violence charges for the Texas church shooting perpetrator, or the failure of the FBI and local sheriff at following up at reports of violence and threats from the Parkland shooting perpetrator are recent examples. Existing laws could’ve stopped these events if only our judicial system had the willpower to enforce them.
I cannot in good conscience advocate for the further disarmament of law abiding Americans, especially at the hands of a government that is openly hostile to many people I care about. I will not be supporting any form of assault weapons ban, such as the one that failed in the 1990s, nor will I support any expansions to the existing background check process until the agencies that enforce it are held accountable for their failures, both in allowing the armament of terrorists, and in false-flagging law abiding citizens, preventing then from exercising their rights without due process.
Libertarian Candidate for GA House District 52