Fact Check

Joshua Boston - No Ma'am

Letter from former Marine criticizes Sen. Dianne Feinstein's gun control proposal?

Published Jan 3, 2013

Claim:   Letter from former Marine criticizes Sen. Dianne Feinstein's gun control proposal.


Example:   [Collected via e-mail, January 2013]

Senator Dianne Feinstein,

I will not register my weapons should this bill be passed, as I do not believe it is the government's right to know what I own. Nor do I think it prudent to tell you what I own so that it may be taken from me by a group of people who enjoy armed protection yet decry me having the same a crime. You ma'am have overstepped a line that is not your domain. I am a Marine Corps Veteran of 8 years, and I will not have some woman who proclaims the evil of an inanimate object, yet carries one, tell me I may not have one.

I am not your subject. I am the man who keeps you free. I am not your servant. I am the person whom you serve. I am not your peasant. I am the flesh and blood of America.

I am the man who fought for my country. I am the man who learned. I am an American. You will not tell me that I must register my semi-automatic AR-15 because of the actions of some evil man.

I will not be disarmed to suit the fear that has been established by the media and your misinformation campaign against the American public.

We, the people, deserve better than you.

Respectfully Submitted,
Joshua Boston
Cpl, United States Marine Corps


Origins:   The shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, which left 26 people (including 20 children) dead prompted renewed political debate in the U.S. about gun control. One of those who came out in favor of more stringent gun control laws was California senator Dianne Feinstein, who issued a statement on the day of the Newtown shootings proclaiming that:

As I have said many times before — and now repeat in the wake of yet another tragedy — weapons of war don’t belong on our streets or in our theaters, shopping malls and, most of all, our schools.

I hope and trust that in the next session of Congress there will be sustained and thoughtful debate about America’s gun culture and our responsibility to prevent more loss of life.

A few days later, Senator Feinstein announced that in 2013 she would be introducing updated legislation to "stop the sale, transfer, importation and manufacturing of assault weapons":

"On the first day of the new Congress, I intend to introduce a bill stopping the sale, transfer, importation and manufacturing of assault weapons as well as large ammunition magazines, strips and drums that hold more than 10 rounds,” Feinstein said. “I am in the process of gathering support for the bill in the Senate and House.”

“I have been working with my staff for over a year on this legislation,” Feinstein added. “It will be carefully focused on the most dangerous guns that have killed so many people over the years while protecting the rights of gun owners by exempting hundreds of weapons that fall outside the bill’s scope. We must take these dangerous weapons of war off our streets.”

On 27 December 2012, a former Marine named Joshua Boston posted the open letter quoted above (under the title "No ma'am") to CNN's iReport web site, stating his opposition to Senator Feinstein's proposed legislation. A CNN iReport producer noted that Boston:

Was a Marine and was deployed to Afghanistan between the years of 2004 through 2005. Although he is no longer in the military he acknowledges that he owns gun. He says he does not believe the government needs to [know] what guns he owns because he believes registration would lead to confiscation. He says the laws that are in place for gun control are plenty, and adding more laws will remove a means of defense for people. 'I own the guns I own because I acknowledge mankind's shortcomings instead of pretending like they don't exist. There are evil men in this world and there just may be a time when I need to do the unthinkable to protect me or my family,' he said.

An interview with Joshua Boston can be read here.

Last updated:   3 January 2013

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.

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