Dear Senator Green,
My name is Erik Utrecht and I am a resident of the state of Michigan born and raised in Kalamazoo. I am a decorated Air Force combat veteran and I spent nearly a decade of my life in service to his country as a military law enforcement officer and instructor. I had the opportunity to serve both in the United States at Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota as well as overseas in Aviano Italy, with deployments to Kuwait and Kirkuk, Iraq in support of OPERATIONS: ENDURING FREEDOM, IRAQI FREEDOM, and SOUTHERN WATCH. After my honorable discharge from active duty, I returned to Michigan where I am now a licensed and bonded Professional Investigator and the owner of MDFI LLC, a company that trains civilians, law enforcement and military members on multiple self-defense disciplines.
I am writing you today regarding the 19 March 2015 Article in the Detroit Free Press (Online) titled, â€œBill would shut down open-carry gun loopholeâ€ where you are mentioned as desiring a bill that would remove the ability to open carry in gun-free zones like schools, yet allow a citizen to concealed carry in any gun-free zone as long as they had, â€œmuch, much more extensive training.â€ More so, I am writing you regarding the recent incident at an Ann Arbor school where a law-abiding citizen was made out to be a criminal for open-carrying a firearm at his childâ€™s event while operating IAW applicable MI law.
Although the specific reason for my letter as stated above is regarding recent events within the realm of Second Amendment issues, I would like to change the typical dynamic of what I imagine most letters you receive are like. I do not wish to ask you to support or deny any single bill or issue. I do ask that you support the Constitution of these United States and the rights of all citizens of this great nation.
Sir, I, like many other military and law enforcement veterans as well as citizens, are truly becoming disenchanted to the idea that those representing us are acting in the best interest of their countrymen. I find it truly disheartening to have served under my oath to protect freedom and the American way of life, only to return home and find it slowly being dismantled by those who also took the very same oath. Day after day, individuals in positions of power, like you, are whittling away the very facets of freedom in the name of and under the illusion of safety.
It saddens me to see my home state where a private business owner can be forced to make a bar into a â€œsmoke freeâ€ environment to appease those who would choose to control the way others live instead of capitalizing on the opportunity to create a smoke-free business entity that caters to those that think along the same lines. In this example like so many others at the local, state, and federal level, the government has moved to tell its responsible citizens, supposedly of free will, that the greater good trumps their desires. No person has the right to force a member of the public to visit an establishment against their will, and when no such force has been made to any patron, what right does the government have to force the will of others on free men?
The Second Amendment is suffering the same fate both here in the State of Michigan and across our nation. In Ann Arbor, an individual acting responsibly with a firearm was accused as a criminal by an ignorant member of the populace in a spectacle leading to just short of a panic. Individuals like these who lack the intestinal fortitude to look past their own fears (whether through lack of education or motive) pose the greatest threat to the freedoms of their fellow man as they continue the push for safety at any cost by trying to criminalize anything that does not fit with the way they wish to live.
As someone that exists in the firearms-training world, I will always support that responsible people seek out training that can benefit both themselves and their communities. However, my desire for such does not warrant that it be mandated as all free men and women have the right to be ignorant. As a free people, we must resort to holding everyone accountable should they put otherâ€™s rights in jeopardy instead of demanding that they fall in line with how we want them to live.
There are many out there that are afraid of guns. There are many out there that believe that a thin piece of fabric over the top of a gun makes them safe as it is â€œout of sight.â€ There are many that believe that if we make enough laws, the evil within man will just give up and try another approach.
Knee-jerk reactions from our elected representatives designed to appease the emotionally driven masses at the cost of individual freedoms have sadly become the norm whenever an incident happens. Time and time again, responsible citizens are forced to watch the irresponsible actions of a few erode on the freedoms of all through worthless legislation.
Only an idiot would believe that criminals could be undone by placing an imaginary line on the ground through the use of written law. The only justification for such an action in the eyes of a free man would be to criminalize those that would exercise their rights responsibly, as actions that deprive others of their rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are truly criminal.
In closing, I hope that as you move forward as an elected representative of the people of the State of Michigan, you choose to hold all Michiganders exactly the same: As free men and women held fast to personal responsibility. I hope that your future legislation and your support for any legislation represents the safeguarding of the rights of all, demands responsibility of all, and works to make Michigan as free as possible.
We must not sacrifice the incredible work and responsibility required of freedom to appease those that cannot bear such duties.
Those who would give up essential liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.
â€“ Benjamin Franklin 1755
Thank you for your time on this matter. If you should ever desire to discuss the issues in this letter, the Second Amendment as it pertains to the State of Michigan, or any other issues, please do not hesitate to contact me.