An Open Letter to Senator Lewis

Virginians, for a long time I doubted the inflammatory rhetoric surrounding House Bill 961 was warranted. I run in circles with gun-nuts and love them dearly as friends, but prudently doubt much of what they report regarding gun control efforts taking place in our legislature. But having heard objections from numerous sources over this controversial bill, I decided to put my experience interpreting government documents into practice and read it myself.

I’ve never contacted my state senator in my life, but am posting below an email sent yesterday to Senator Lewis (no answer at either office and both voicemails were full). Does this mean I’m starting to get old, the fact I am writing my representative? Maybe. But I suggest you contact your senator as well because though this bill did not gather sufficient support in 2020, it will soon be reconsidered in 2021.

Though there are many reasons why HB 961 is a bad idea, the bottom line is that it is blatantly unconstitutional. Period. End of story. I am posting my note here in the hopes it brings light to this bad-idea-bill…and in the sober understanding an email sent to a representative’s general address has zero chance of being read.


“Senator Lewis,

Thank you for your time, service, and commitment to Virginia. Like yourself, I am also a native and resident of the ESVA. I recently read House Bill 961 to determine whether the controversy over it was warranted. Upon careful consideration, I am urging you to vote AGAINST HB 961. Reasonable controls on weapons are warranted and have repeatedly been upheld, and even though small pieces of this bill may be considered reasonable, as a whole it is entirely unconstitutional. 

This bill retreads old ground repeatedly considered and surveyed by the United States Supreme Court. It is well documented and understood that the right to bear arms belongs to individuals. The reasons for our forefathers granting us this right are many (and debatable), but are also distracting arguments. The bottom line is that the constitution of the United States endows its citizens with the right to bear arms and House Bill 961 is an inappropriate limitation upon that right.

Please understand that there are social issues in our country that need to be addressed. Restrictions on firearms may temporarily curb symptoms of those issues, but are a distraction from the true issue. I suggest the true issue be addressed instead of trying to cover up the symptom and pretending the issue does not exist. HB 961, though I assume drafted with good intent, is an Advil for a broken leg. As citizens, let us instead set the leg. 

Again, House Bill 961 is an overreaching and unreasonable limitation on the clear constitutional right of U.S. citizens to bear arms. Thank you for your tireless service and I appreciate your consideration.

David McCaleb“

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