An Open Letter to President George W. Bush



Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership (JPFO).
Copyright JPFO February 8, 2002


JPFO SUPPORTERS: The following open letter is as much for the people of America as for the politicians to whom it's addressed. Please circulate it far and wide. If you believe it worthwhile, e-mail or fax copies to members of the Bush administration listed in the letter. Their best available contact information is included below.


And key members of the Bush Administration


TO: President George.W. Bush (
Vice President Dick Cheney (
Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge (Fax (202) 456-6337)
Attorney General John Ashcroft (
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld (
Secretary of State Colin Powell (
National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice (Fax: 202-456-9290)
FBI Director Robert Mueller (

FR: Aaron Zelman, Executive Director
Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership

Dear President Bush and Administration Decision-Makers:

I’m writing to alert you to an ominous, potentially tragic gap in your homeland security preparations. This gap could enable terrorists to escape scrutiny and operate anywhere from the largest cities to the deepest part of the American heartland where, as you know, agricultural facilities, dams, and power plants are vulnerable. The gap exists in the millions of square miles of the U.S. that simply can’t be safeguarded by federal agents, even with the aid of sophisticated technology.

Fortunately, you have at hand the one force that can most surely close this dangerous gap: The American people.

After the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941, Americans living on both coasts were rapidly brought into action as civil defense wardens. They watched the skies and the seas for signs of invasion. They stood guard against spies and saboteurs. Everyone from housewives to retired military men accepted the natural duty of citizens to protect their own country and communities against attack.

Many of these civilian defenders — who, after all, were members of the constitutional unorganized militia — went armed in their duties. They were ready not only to report dangers that they spotted to far-off "authorities", but to personally stand up for their country’s safety and security.

Franklin Roosevelt wasn’t the only twentieth-century president to value an armed citizenry. President Theodore Roosevelt, who habitually carried a handgun for self-defense (as did his niece Eleanor), said that only with extensive firearm training could America "defend ourselves, protect others, or preserve peace" in the face of "strong nations" bent on aggression.

When John F. Kennedy was a candidate for the presidency, he declared, "Although it is extremely unlikely that the fears of governmental tyranny, which gave rise to the second amendment, will ever be a major danger to our nation, the amendment still remains an important declaration of our basic military-civilian relationships, in which every citizen must be ready to participate in the defense of his country."

What was true against "strong nations" is surely even more true when the enemy is small, hidden groups of men who may be living, planning, and acting out their evil in our neighborhoods. When terrorists are dispersed among us, what better answer than to disperse armed American guardians far and wide among them? If every American is a potential victim of terror, then shouldn’t every American be expected and encouraged to defend self, home, family, community, and nation?

Such widespread self defense is not only common sense, it is also effective national defense.

There are not enough FBI agents, National Guardsmen, or police to cover every corner of America. No number of surveillance cameras or checkpoints can do that job (although they may help turn the U.S. into a police state in the vain attempt to achieve "security"). Spending $61.8 million on increased FBI surveillance capabilities, or $157.6 million to enhance that agency’s computer systems, as your new budget proposes to do, can’t protect Americans today, next week, or next month, and may never protect us all.

But there are 285 million Americans who are on hand now, in every big-city neighborhood, small town, and rural crossroads. Some 80 million of them already own firearms, and millions are prepared to bring their own weapons and ammunition — at no cost to the U.S. taxpayers — to defend their homeland.

The Talmud, the code of Jewish law, states: "If someone comes to kill you, arise quickly and kill him". That’s good sense for dealing with terrorists, as well as common criminals.

Just as a thief avoids breaking into a home where an armed-and-ready resident might be present, terrorists will surely think twice if they know a planeload or an office building full of potential victims might contain even a few who refuse to be victims — and are armed with the means to enforce their refusal. If every hiker near a vulnerable dam, every farmer at a grain mill, every cleaning lady in a public building were a potential armed defender wouldn’t terrorists be less inclined to see us and our institutions as easy targets — as they so clearly did on September 11?

President Franklin Roosevelt trusted his fellow citizens with the defense of the nation after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Now, after the after the worst attack against the U.S. in its entire history … I must ask you, Mr. Bush and members of the administration: Why aren’t yourelying upon the American people?

Mr. Bush, if you are truly want to be a truly effective defender of your nation, then you will:

  • Explicitly recognize and encourage Americans’ unlimited right to self-defense and defense of their own communities.
  • Encourage citizens to be aware of their rights and responsibilities, particularly their second-amendment rights.
  • Immediately instruct the ATF, FBI, and any other federal enforcement agencies to cease prosecuting non-violent Americans for technical violations of firearms laws or regulations.
  • Permit and encourage Americans to bear arms on federal lands and in federal buildings.
  • Considering that courts have repeatedly declared that government law enforcement has no obligation to protect any individual, encourage states to enable citizens to defend themselves or their communities
  • Encourage those with military or police experience to share their expertise with fellow citizens in the form of firearm- training courses and other defense skills.

I’m not talking about a draft, which would be involuntary servitude. I’m not talking about turning random, shoot-on- suspicion vigilantes loose upon the nation. I’m talking about a committed, educated defense, run by individuals at the community level and peopled by individuals, acting as free, well-trained, and informed citizens.

I trust that your intentions are good. But as I’m sure many Americans will remind you, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Increasingly, Americans are growing uneasy about the usefulness of government surveillance of ordinary citizens on Main Street, USA.

Mr. Bush, Mr. Cheney, Mr. Ridge, Mr. Ashcroft, Mr. Rumsfeld, Gen. Powell, Mr. Mueller, Ms. Rice: If you are serious about defending our homeland, I ask you to trust those citizens. Rely on them before you rely on uniformed force or Big Brother technology.

It won’t cost you a thing. It will help keep America free. And it might prevent another disaster whose cost is beyond measuring.


Aaron Zelman
Executive Director, Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership


How would America be if we had a president that believed in strict Bill of Rights Enforcement? Read the novel HOPE, by Aaron Zelman & L. Neil Smith:"How would you feel if you no longer feared your government …?"

THE STATE vs. THE PEOPLE, by Claire Wolfe and Aaron Zelman answers the question: IS AMERICA BECOMING A POLICE STATE? We all know that the U.S. is becoming less free. Nobody needs to tell us that. What people may not understand is the inexorable, historic, highly systematic process through which our freedom is being erased.


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