An open letter to my Senators and Representative in Congress

I wrote this letter for three reasons.

  1. To send to Senator Barbara Boxer, Senator Dianne Feinstein, and Representative Tom McClintock (4th District CA), which I did.
  2. To share publicly, in the hope that it might spur some critical thinking about these issues in the mind of anyone reading.
  3. For anyone to copy and paste, with or without edits, and send to their Senators and Representatives as well. If you live in California, your Senators are here and here. If you live in another state, click here to find yours. Look up Representatives here. It takes five minutes. Please consider doing this instead of checking Instagram again. There are no new photos. I promise.

And now, the letter itself.


I understand that there are many compelling views behind all sides of the current gun debate, but I would like to express mine. The current proposed legislation to restrict gun purchases for persons on the No-Fly list (or its equivalents) is a dangerous removal of due process rights. For a citizen, who has committed no crime, to have a constitutional right removed by the government without Fifth Amendment provisions is nothing short of an abuse of the Judicial branch. I am by no means an NRA type, but I believe that the civil rights cost of this legislation is far too high.

Furthermore, the continuous expansion of government surveillance, without warrants or any meaningful oversight, is in direct and deeply troubling violation of the Bill of Rights — the very beliefs that define the American experience. The fact that I have to petition my own representatives to adhere to the Constitution, and that I am forced to take measures to protect my privacy against my own government, make me question what, exactly, remains of our once deeply-held belief in individual liberty.

I ask that you will use your remaining time in the Senate to fight for the Constitutional rights of your constituency. You can use your considerable influence to repeal the egregious abuses enshrined (through bipartisan activism) in the Patriot Act, stand up for my right to secure encryption with no backdoors, and seek out opportunities to defend my right to due process in absolutely every instance.

And to whichever staffer is actually reading this, if anyone at all, please consider making this the one message you actually send to the Senator this week. It’s pretty well written and doesn’t use a single exclamation point.

Thank you.

Michael Johns