Convicted Felon Sends Heartfelt Thank You Note To The NRA

Vintage gun illustration on card that says "Thank you, NRA."

This ringing endorsement for the NRA comes from a guy who also once wrote, “In all probability I’ll commit murder, perhaps even mass murder.” Vintage revolver illustration from OpenClipArt.Org. “Thank You, NRA” Photoshop composite by Elisabeth Parker for Addicting Info.

Last week Gary W. Bornman wrote a warm letter to his hometown newspaper, The Hartford Courant in Connecticut, thanking the NRA and pro-gun lawmakers for — once again — fending off legislation for stronger background checks for gun buyers. Back in May, the U.S. Senate voted down background checks for people purchasing guns 54-46, even though 83%-91% of voters support these measures, according to recent Gallup Polls. Unfortunately for the NRA, Bornman happens to be a convicted felon serving time at a federal super-maximum security prison in Colorado. With friends like that, who needs enemies?

Here’s the letter:

As a lifelong career criminal, although I no longer enjoy the right to keep and bear arms, I’d like to take a moment to express my appreciation to the National Rifle Association for nonetheless protecting my ability to easily obtain them through its opposition to universal background checks.

Upon release in a few years from my current federal sentence on bank robbery and weapons charges, I fully anticipate being able to stop at a gun show on my way home to Connecticut — where new laws have made it nearly impossible for a felon to readily purchase guns or ammunition — in order to buy some with which to resume my criminal activities.

And so, a heartfelt thank you to the NRA and all those members of Congress voting with them. I, along with tens of thousands of other criminals, couldn’t do what we do without you.

Yes, you read that right. When Bornman is released from prison a few years down the road, he can’t wait to buy his next gun at a gun show — thanks to one of many loopholes in today’s gun safety laws — on his way home, so he can return to his life of crime. Aviva Shen from Think Progress reports:

Bornman racked up 81 convictions over his life, leading one judge to declare, “It does not appear you can be rehabilitated, nor does it appear you can be deterred.”

But wait, aren’t convicted felons barred from gun ownership? Felonies are one of many things that would turn up on a background check and supposedly prevent someone from purchasing a gun at a federally licensed dealer like their local Walmart. Unfortunately, you don’t need a background check to order guns online or buy them from a private dealer or at a gun show. Shen adds:

As a result, many criminals, domestic violence offenders, and mentally ill people who are technically banned from buying or owning guns are able to get them without detection. Indeed, many infamous gunmen obtained their weapons because of the holes in the federal background check system.

And just when you thought things couldn’t get any scarier, it turns out the above thank you note isn’t Bornman’s first foray into journalism. In a 1999 letter to the LA Times, Bornman advocated counseling for prisoners, and warned:

In little more than 14 months, in all probability I’ll commit murder, perhaps even mass murder. That’s when I’m due to be released from federal prison where I’m serving a seven-year sentence for bank robbery.

Having spent the better part of my life in and out of penal institutions, beginning at age 9 (I’m now 37), not only have I become institutionalized to the point where society is just an abstraction, but the very environment has engendered an intense hatred and resentment, which, when coupled with already existing emotional and psychological problems, wouldn’t appear to bode well for society. Unfortunately, the federal Bureau of Prisons doesn’t seem to think that my problems are all that serious–certainly not enough to warrant treatment.

But Amy Pagnozi’s 2001 article for The Courant suggests that Bornman may be exaggerating how dangerous he is. According to Bornman’s public defender, Gary Weinberger, his client is something of a public crusader:

[Bornman] “was actually pleased at the prospect of going into the federal system,” says Weinberger. He thought they’d be better able to meet his demands for intensive psychotherapy, without which he despaired of ever having a normal life.

When they didn’t, he heightened his newspaper letter-writing campaign, writing articles filled with what Weinberger calls “grandiose exaggerations of his actual dangerousness” designed to provoke his keepers to provide the mental health care he believed he was owed.

The prisoner’s then-71-year-old mother told Pagnozi, “With his mind, it seemed like everything started falling apart when he was young,” and later added, “I wanted him to get counseling for his mind, but I was all by myself without a husband; nobody would listen. The doctors told me, ‘Oh, he’ll be fine, don’t worry.'” Since Bornman’s been in the prison system for most of his life, it’s possible that he won’t even want to leave:

The decades Gary Bornman spent campaigning to change the prison system were not altogether without effect. But it was he who did the conforming, becoming altogether unable to function on the outside.

“No matter how much he rants and rails against the structure of prison, he just can’t deal with freedom,” says Weinberger.

Regardless of whether Bornman’s “exaggerating his dangerousness” or not, let’s just hope none of us are around when he gets out of jail, buys a gun at a gun show, and decides what to do with it. Or at least keep tabs on his release date and stay away from all highways and transit routes between Colorado and Connecticut.

Related articles from Addicting Info: