On Monday, an apparent anti-gun activist attending the annual Connecticut Judiciary Committee public hearing on gun bills was caught in a photo with a text message saying if she had a gun, she’d “blow away state senator Rob Sampson and a large group of NRA.”
Sampson (R-Wolcott) is a staunch supporter of gun rights; he has been awarded the NRA’s Defender of Freedom Award. National Review reported that the hearing dealt with legislation to tighten restrictions on home storage of firearms, adding:
The legislation was introduced in response to the death of 15-year-old Ethan Song, who was killed after accidentally shooting himself in the head with a gun that belonged to his friend’s father. The gun had been secured with a lock, but left in a container with the key and accompanying ammunition. As a result, state prosecutors said they could not charge its owner, because state law requires only that loaded guns are properly secured. Under the new legislation, which has been dubbed “Ethan’s Law” by his parents, owners would be required to lock loaded and unloaded guns alike.
The woman texting was expelled from the hearing; Capitol police barred her from returning to the building until tomorrow.
According to Newstimes, Walter Lee Jr., chief of the Capitol Police, said of the woman, “She left without incident,” adding that she was not arrested because she had not violated state laws regarding threatening behavior. He stated, “I’ve been here twenty years and we have had multiple incidents like that.”
Apprised of what happened, Sampson commented, “Sad to say it’s not the first time I’ve been threatened in this job.”
As The Hartford Courant reported, one of the bills considered during the hearing stated that an owner who is visibly carrying a gun be required to offer a pistol permit if police request it. In downtown Bridgeport, a man repeatedly refused to show his permit; some officials claimed the situation could have intensified because of his refusal. The situation was eventually resolved peacefully with police. Sampson commented, "I don’t know why it was allowed to escalate. This person was minding their own business, like riding down the road or mowing your lawn. ... Why would law enforcement need to show up for that purpose?''
In March 2017, Sampson noted he had received numerous emails regarding Connecticut Against Gun Violence’s campaign in favor of HB 6200 and against pistol permit reciprocity. He commented, “CAGV is a single issue anti-gun, anti-second amendment organization that has no respect for the constitutional rights of Connecticut citizens and has repeatedly called for legislation that interferes with both the second amendment and due process rights. Those that value civil liberties and the second amendment in particular need to be aware of this campaign and be sure to make their voices heard in opposition.”
Sampson quoted a letter he had written in response to one email:
Thank you for contacting me to let me know your thoughts on these two bills. I fully understand and respect your desire for public safety and genuinely appreciate hearing from anyone who takes the time to write me. Your email is one of several hundred I received that contain the same wording. I assume these are the result of an email campaign by an openly anti-gun lobbying group.
… I want to be clear when I say that the information that you have provided in your email is sadly not complete or accurate. Please encourage the organization that provided you with the canned email language that the truth should be respected. It shows a lack of confidence in one's argument when the facts are not portrayed candidly.All gun control laws rely on the willingness of citizens to obey them and the deterrent effect of penalties for those that do not. When it comes to virtually all of the gun control legislation passed in Connecticut within recent years including the banning of certain firearms and magazines, and the requirements for various licenses and background checks, this is self-evident.
Requiring universal background checks for example sounds like a very appropriate idea until you realize the net effect is that honest law abiding citizens are being forced to pay additional fees and jump through bureaucratic hoops needlessly and that criminals exchanging an illegal gun before a robbery will simply not comply. There are things that could and should be done - starting with an honest effort to keep guns out of the hands of actual criminals, prosecuting those that break our laws, and applying penalties that keep them off our streets.