Politics & Policy

Anti-Gun Activist Tossed from Conn. Legislature for Threatening Lawmakers, NRA

(Steve Marcus/REUTERS)

An unidentified gun-control activist was expelled from a hearing on the subject at the Connecticut state capitol on Monday, after she threatened a pro-Second Amendment state lawmaker and NRA officials in a text message spotted by fellow attendees.

“If I had a gun, I’d blow away Sampson and a large group of NRA,” the draft text message reads in a photo tweeted by a local reporter. The woman was presumably referring to Connecticut state senator Rob Sampson, a pro-gun-rights Republican who once earned the NRA’s Defender of Freedom Award.

The woman reportedly drafted the text during a hearing before the state’s Joint Committee on the Judiciary committee, in which activists on both sides of the issue were set to discuss pending legislation that would tighten state laws governing the home storage of guns.

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.

“Ethan’s death was completely preventable, if only the father had securely stored his guns,” Ethan’s mother, Kristin Song wrote in an email to the Associated Press. “That’s why I’m fighting to pass ‘Ethan’s Law,’ to strengthen Connecticut’s safe storage requirements.”

Connecticut’s largest gun-rights organization has not opposed the legislation but has raised concerns about restricting the ability of gun owners to quickly access their firearms should the need arise.

“No matter what a person’s position is on guns or the 2nd Amendment, we all obviously agree we want children safe and protected,” Connecticut Citizens Defense League president Scott Wilson told the Connecticut Post. “Law abiding gun owners still need to have the ability to retrieve a firearm in the event of a home invasion or other warranted events to defend family members from harm without fear of prosecution.”

Activists and legislators were also expected to debate legislation that would require residents licensed to openly carry firearms to produce a permit when asked to do so by a police officer and another that would limit the ability of local governments to establish their own gun-control laws.

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