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Strive Harder for Accuracy, Impartiality When Reporting on 2nd Amendment

Michael Schwartz: “I am baffled with your opinion of the racial makeup of the room and why that is important to you.”

To the editor:

I can’t thank you enough for covering my talk [Sacramento Gun-Control Efforts Are ‘as Bad as It Gets,’ NRA Activist Says] at the San Diego County Republican Party Central Committee!  San Diegans need to know the extremism being proposed in Sacramento that will have unreasonable consequences to current and future firearm ownership. 

I do have a number of concerns with your article. 

1. I do not represent the National Rifle Association.  I am a paying member and do a lot of volunteer work for the NRA, but I do not speak for any group or organization. 

2. I am baffled with your opinion of the racial makeup of the room and why that is important to you.  It certainly isn’t applicable to the story. This was especially concerning on a night when the San Diego County Republican Party endorsed three people’s campaign for public office: a woman of Laotian descent, a woman of Sikh descent and a man of Hispanic descent. 

When I asked you about this observation during our phone call, you said you wanted to “add some color” and “couldn’t imagine the middle-aged people in the room serving in a militia,” but would not address the part of your comment that pointed out their skin color. 

I don’t see skin tone as being relevant to the service of your country and take offense to such a dismissive, marginalizing statement regarding the fantastic people in attendance that night. 

The laws being proposed severely limiting all gun ownership in California do not affect one “color” of people but rather negatively affect all Californians equally.  We are all in this together.

3. The section where you went into detail regarding Sen. Marty Block and his proposed bill had nothing to do with my speech. I did not mention his bill at all.  In my speech, I did specifically list each regulation I was there to talk about:

Outlawing of hollow-point defensive ammunition, possession of more than 500 rounds of ammunition, all semiautomatic rifles with detachable magazines, guns with magazines that hold over six bullets, and bullet buttons.

As well as legally requiring the registration of all guns owned, background checks in order to buy any ammunition, a new tax on all ammunition sales, liability insurance purchased by all gun owners, and criminalizing storing a gun in your home without a trigger lock installed. 

All of the regulations I spoke to are far more severe and intrusive than the bill you chose to write about that Sen. Block has proposed. 

I cannot explain why you would pick a proposal I did not talk about to detail in your article rather than focus on the ones I did specifically list.  The proposals I spoke to which will fundamentally change gun ownership for every Californian.

4. The most concerning part of your writing is how you presented my point.  You misquoted me. 

I asked the audience to become a part of “THE well-regulated militia” by getting more education on the safe handling of firearms. 

Civilian Americans are by definition “the militia” and by becoming more educated they fulfill the “well-regulated” responsibility.  I did not call for them to become a part of “A militia” which changes the meaning completely. 

I said that the Second Amendment is a very “patriotic right.”  When it was written, part of the purpose was so the leadership at the federal and state level could call on civilians to defend from foreign invaders and if there is a need for civilians to defend their country, it doesn’t matter who is Democrat or Republican because we are all together Americans. 

I pointed out that the type of firearm used when called to serve in an organized militia today would be something similar to the type of rifles Sacramento leadership is trying to ban and if there is a debate regarding the need for such access to these arms, that there is a process for changing the Constitution that does not involve state legislatures gutting its meaning permanently.

Perhaps part of the problem is that you saw me as a professional NRA spokesperson rather than the concerned San Diego resident that I am.  Sometimes this allows a writer to more easily attack speakers. 

I thank you for taking my call this morning and offering me the opportunity to respond to your article. Thank you again for writing the story and exercising your First Amendment right, but would ask that in the future you strive harder for accuracy and impartiality when reporting on our Second Amendment right.

Michael A. Schwartz
Santee

Libi Uremovic February 14, 2013 at 11:05 PM
'... but I respectfully disagree with their level of confidence in the failure of these bills. I definitely disagree that these bills are fluff...' i agree...but if weapons owners don't step to the plate and cut off this rhetoric the dems will take advantage of the next massacre and push it through on state and federal level... automatic, semi, whatever...most people don't know anything about weapons and it's not going to matter to them what the laws says... a simple insurance requirement will end the problem without limiting weapons...most people are already covered with home/renters insurance so it wouldn't effect them......but an insurance requirement would prevent tragedies like colorado theater shooting .. ...and columbine....those kids were minors, but they paid someone to buy them weapons...that would be prevented if the purchaser had to show proof of insurance...
Michael A. Schwartz February 14, 2013 at 11:26 PM
I don't believe insurance would end many efforts to ban guns.
Libi Uremovic February 14, 2013 at 11:34 PM
it might not stop efforts to ban guns, but it would solve the problem of random massacres ...and that's what the anti-gunners are feeding off... stop the massacres and the weapons banning movement will lose momentum... mike - don't you and most of the people you know already have your weapons covered by insurance...?
Brian Hanifin February 15, 2013 at 03:49 AM
"The laws being proposed ... rather negatively affect all Californians equally. " Limiting gun ownership has zero negative effect on me. Although it might keep me safer from crazy gun wielding people that are unhappy with their life.
Michael A. Schwartz February 15, 2013 at 04:31 PM
Brian, the easier you lay down a right, the easier it is to take others away. Even if you choose to never buy a firearm, allowing government to take that choice away from safe, sane, trained, law-abiding people is a very negative affect on you. Without question. Also, your logic regarding keeping you safe from crazy people is flawed. With or without a gun, a crazy person unhappy with their life who is willing to wield a gun for unlawful purooses isn't dependent on the gun nor does the gun cause any of their "crazy". That person will do damage and cause hard with or without a gun. Unreasonable, restrictive gun laws only inhibit people from self-protection.

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