In his push for gun control, President Obama has yet to deliver remarks in which he has not invoked the voices of the Newtown families, whose children were murdered in the December shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Utah senator Mike Lee, one of the Senate’s most outspoken opponents of the proposed gun legislation, is now calling on a different set of voices as a part of his effort to defeat it.
“Jim, from Louisiana, writes as follows,” Lee said in remarks Wednesday on the Senate floor, “‘I lived through the Los Angeles riots. My wife and I were living in Silver Lake. For five days we watched the orange glow of businesses being burned on two sides. For five days we never saw a law enforcement officer . . . We took shifts watching the street and who was coming and going. Our neighbors brought us coffee in the middle of the night, a night that was lit with the flames of burning buildings. Twice cars came up our street, saw us armed and turned around.’”
He proceeded to recount several testimonials about the purpose and meaning of the Second Amendment that he has received in recent days from people across the country.
One week ago, Lee launched Project 2A, an initiative that encourages Americans to share their thoughts on “what the Second Amendment means to them and why they feel the Senate should protect their rights.” Submissions are made through his website, and staffers originated a Twitter hashtag, #Protect2A, to accompany the effort.
The response, a Lee aide tells National Review Online, has been overwhelming. In the first two days, he received over a thousand submissions. Some recount the lives of family members saved by guns; others, their views on the central role of the Bill of Rights in American history or the practicalities of self-defense.
The initiative has allowed Lee to inject emotion into the case levied by gun-control foes, who are often portrayed as cold-hearted villains. In a submission that reflects the tenor of those Lee has received, William from Connecticut wrote, “On Tuesday, February 11, 2003, my brother was confronted by 3 armed thugs in a parking lot. Out of their stolen car, with a stolen shotgun, they tried to rob him. Much to their surprise my brother had his legally owned pistol (with legal carry permit), and he thwarted this and saved his own life AND held them at bay till police arrived. Without this 2A he would’ve been another victim to the GROWING street crime that these bills DO NOT ADDRESS! Please vote no.”
On Wednesday and Thursday evenings, Lee appeared on The Mark Levin Show to discuss the initiative. The resulting flood of traffic crashed his Senate website — twice. Though many entries were lost as a result (the Lee aide says they don’t know exactly how many), the senator’s office has now collected over 5,000 testimonials from people across the country.
As Harry Reid’s legislation proceeds through the Senate, Lee is determined to ensure that their voices become a part of the ongoing debate. “The vast majority of them recognize that the president’s proposals will not make them safer, but will rather result in limiting their rights as law-abiding citizens,” Lee said on Wednesday.