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Epple's Vote Was for Constituents

September 21, 1989

This letter is in response to the article by Mark Gladstone concerning Assemblyman Bob Epple (Times, Sept. 10). The story states that Epple voted against the ban on semiautomatic weapons. Assemblyman Epple did not bow to the pressure of the NRA (National Rifle Assn.). He voted the way his constituents wanted him to vote. Mail and calls concerning the ban to the assemblyman's office were running 8 to 1 against it.

I don't believe you realize who the NRA is. It is not some mysterious, behind-the-scenes council that sways lawmaker opinions. It is made up of people who share like interests, just like sports car clubs or softball teams. We pay $25 a year dues to belong to this group and have someone in Washington and Sacramento speak for us just as Handgun Control Inc. pays to have someone speak for them.

We are not all pot-bellied Uzi toters as another article described us. As a matter of fact, most of us do not own military look-alikes listed on the ban. I certainly don't. But I would defend a person's right to legally own and shoot the gun of his or her choice.

There were over 3 million of us before that maniac, Patrick Purdy (Stockton schoolyard murderer), came into the picture. But now the membership has grown by leaps and bounds to a record number because of the issue. That number does not take into consideration those on the fringe who own guns but do not belong to the NRA. At last count, there are more than 50 million gun owners in the United States.

Gov. (George) Deukmejian admitted that the calls and letters against the semiautomatics were substantially more numerous than those for the ban. As for how much more, we will never know. His office will not release that information.

So who is backing the wishes of the people in this fight? Who has their fingers on the pulse of the people? Mr. Epple and his colleagues in the Assembly who voted against the ban are the only ones I see.



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