August 2019

Fleet Farm Corporate
1300 South Lynndale Dr.
Appleton, WI 54914

Dear Fleet Farm Leadership,

I am writing out of Christian concern for human life. The Book of Genesis speaks of all people created in the Image of God and living together in harmony and nonviolently in the Garden of Eden. The Fifth Commandment says “Do not kill [murder].” Jesus says “Enough!” and “No more of this!” when speaking of weapon use. The Apostle Paul speaks of the Fruits of the Spirit as “Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.”

I write as an American citizen, committed to the foundational ideas of our nation. The Declaration of Independence speaks of “All people created equal” and entitled to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” The Preamble of our Constitution says the government (we the people) has the duty to “ensure domestic tranquility and promote the general welfare.”

I am writing as a member of the St. Paul Area Synod-ELCA ENGAGE Gun Violence Prevention Work Group, and as a Board Member of Protect Minnesota, although writing for myself.

Last week, my wife and I shopped at your store in Circle Pines, Minnesota. I also visited your gun department. I noticed and photographed a cabinet filled with assault-type long guns. I put this picture on my Facebook page along with commentary on these guns not having a place on our streets. The responses were in the hundreds in support of opposing the sale of these weapons of war. Yes, these are weapons of war. Mayor Pete and others running for President of the United States reiterate this position.

These assault-type weapons cause the greatest homicide rate in mass killing sprees. They were the weapons of choice on this infamous list:

Crandon, Wisconsin (8 killed and 1 injured)
Santa Monica, California (5 and 3)
Aurora, Colorado (12 and 58)
Newtown/Sandy Hook (26 and 2)
Orlando, Florida (49 and 50)
Las Vegas, Nevada (50 and 500+)
Sutherland, Texas (26 and 20)
San Bernardino, California (124 and 21)
Parkland, Florida (17 killed)
Gilroy, California (3 and 15)
El Paso, Texas (22 and 14)
Dayton, Ohio (10 and 27)
Port Arthur, Australia (35 and 23)
Christchurch, New Zealand (51 and 49)

Assault-type weapons are meant for military use and not for personal use.

Perhaps you justify selling these assault-type weapons because they are allowed under the Second Amendment. It is important to note the varied interpretations of the Second Amendment, particularly the first half which specifically emphasizes the need for a militia as being the reason for gun possession. Why a militia? Controlling slaves, fighting Native Americans and protecting states from the tyranny of a national army. There was no unequivocal right of individuals to possess weapons. Even former Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, Antonin Scalia, who supported the Heller decision which supported individual gun rights, spoke of qualifications and limitations to weapons.

I urge you to stop selling these weapons and help make our homes, schools, churches, businesses and streets safer from gun violence. I urge you to follow the lead of Dick’s Sporting Goods. Perhaps your bottom line would be hurt for a time. I would suggest your gun selection is already quite ample and would be able to absorb the profit loss. I would also imagine the moral stand you would take would elevate your profits over time. And if not, you would be comforted in advancing gun safety and concern for human life.

In Hope,
Rev. Dr. Ron Letnes
2917 124th Cr. NE
Blaine, MN 55449