H.R.34 – Safe Students Act

Here is a letter I wrote to my Representative urging his support for H.R. 34, the Safe Students Act. You may use this letter word-for-word, although for maximum effect, I would strongly encourage personalizing it before sending it to your Congressperson.

Dear Representative,

I am writing to urge your support for H.R. 34, the Safe Students Act.

This bill would repeal the Gun Free School Zones Act of 1990 (GFSZA). The GFSZA is a misguided law that does nothing to make schools safer. It is illogical to think that this act would prevent a heinous act of violence (e.g. murder) at a school. Someone who is intent on committing such an act is already willing to commit a felony where the person would likely face death or a life sentence in prison.

As someone who travels a lot, the GFSZA has a substantial negative effect on me. I have a permit to carry a concealed handgun and I regularly carry a gun when I travel. When traveling in another state, I am not exempt from the GFSZA. This means that I must maintain a distance of at least 1000 feet from any schools. Considering that I am traveling, and therefore unfamiliar with the surrounding area, how am I supposed to know where all of the schools are? Built up areas often have many small schools. To make the issue worse, 1000 feet is quite a long distance. As a law abiding citizen, it is incredibly burdensome and frustrating to comply with this law.

The GFSZA creates a victimless crime. A victimless crime is a crime where no one is directly harmed. Frankly, what is wrong with a law abiding citizen driving by a school while carrying concealed? What about a hunter who drives by a school on her way home from a hunt and has her unloaded shotgun in the back of her SUV? Do these people deserve to be punished with a felony carrying charges of up to five years in prison? I would say this is injustice.

As you know, ignorance of the law is not a valid defense for committing a crime. However, it is unreasonable for government to create such a complex framework of laws such that the average citizen is unaware of the laws. How many people unknowingly break this law by driving by a school with a gun in the car? I would posit a lot of people break this law without realizing. Anecdotally, I recently discovered that my father, who is a hunter and is not exempt from the GFSZA, was unaware of this law.

Lastly, the GFSZA is a blatant abuse of the interstate commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution. Our founding fathers did not intend for Congress to make such laws. The issue of whether or not to allow guns in school zones should be left to the States.

Thank you,

<insert name and address here>