6th Dist. Democratic candidates weigh in on gun reforms in the wake of Las Vegas

10/06/2017 09:10 AM

LEXINGTON — There are few things in life that will get people talking like a disagreeable comment on social media. President Trump and Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin have, according to some used their Twitter accounts as a bully pulpit.

After the Mandalay Bay shooing in Las Vegas, Nevada Gov. Bevin took to Twitter criticizing political opportunist “seizing on the tragedy in Las Vegas,” he wrote “you can’t regulate evil,” it was retweeted almost 8,000 times.

Bevin is no stranger to Twitter induced controversy, but this time the controversy provided a jumping off platform for real dialogue on gun control.

Pure Politics reached the candidates in the 6th Congressional District Democratic primary to get their take on reform efforts.

Perennial candidate Geoff Young said he support the Constitution, but wants some revisions.

“I support the Second Amendment and the entire constitution except that it should be amended to make clear that corporations are not people and money is not speech,” he said in a statement.

“There might be less gun violence if we were to amend the Constitution to make it clear that gun manufacturing companies are not people and their unlimited campaign contributions to buy politicians are not free speech,” Young continued. “I agree with Bernie Sanders on gun control. I support a ban on certain types of assault weapons to reduce the number of massacres that occur in America.”

Former Marine Corps fighter pilot Amy McGrath, who is also vying for the Democratic nomination in the 6th Congressional District, offered a lengthy statement illustrating her position on the issue.

“I fear that if a mass gun killing of school kids at Sandy Hook Elementary won’t spark an honest national dialogue about guns, then I don’t know what will,” she said in a statement. “As a gun owner, I very much respect the constitutional issues at stake. They’re important. But as a mother of three young children, I am terrified by our unwillingness to deal with gun violence, both the mass shootings and the thousands killed by handguns in our cities each year.

“I’m not going to suggest there are easy fixes to these protracted issues. Even if you stopped mass shootings, what about all the handgun violence,” McGrath continued. “Lawful gun owners shouldn’t be penalized for the actions of bad or ill people. But this is an American problem, not that of a single political party and it requires us to sit down together to find solutions where everyone must give a little from their preferred position. Otherwise, we let the fringes dictate the terms of this debate and everyone loses — except them.”

McGrath said lawmakers should start to legislate where there is “overwhelming public support,” by tightening gun enforcement when it comes to preventing the mentally ill from purchasing any weapons, bar purchases by people on no-fly or terror watch lists, and if you have to undergo a background check at a licensed gun dealer.

“I also support current efforts to restrict alterations on firearms to get around federal restrictions, like bump stock,” she said. “Beyond those initial measures, we need our leaders to show allegiance to the voters, not to special interests, and sit down and work together on long-term solutions. This is not going to be solved overnight.”

State Sen. Reggie Thomas, D-Lexington, is also running in the race and did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

The position of Chief Operating Officer of Bud’s Gun shop and Range in Lexington is held by Joe Murphy, he says there is room for improvement, but restrictions and gun control can be a slippery slope.

“I don’t think that legislators can fix this problem,” Murphy told Pure Politics. “When an individual that is intent on doing, creating bodily harm and mass destruction, kind of like we saw, laws are not going to stop and I agree with what the Governor said we have laws in place,” Murphy said.

Regardless of who you agree with both sides agree the conversation has started. Legislators will be under a lot of pressure from all sides to make changes or stay the course.


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