AP NEWS

Alexandra Bergstein Guns in Connecticut: Are we safe?

September 27, 2018

We elect our leaders with the hope that they will serve us well and advance our goals.

Our current state senator, Scott Frantz, is a nice man and the Greenwich community has benefited from his generosity and service. In the past, I voted for Scott because I believed he represented our best interests and values. Then I looked closely at his record — his whole record. Some of his votes, particularly on the issues of women, the environment and guns, gave me pause and influenced my decision to run for office.

Here’s why.

Our safety in Connecticut is not a given. Flagrant attempts to weaken our gun laws are continually advanced by Republican legislators, including Frantz.

Senator Frantz says he’s for gun safety, but the public record tells a different story.

On Dec. 14, 2012, 20 children and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School were brutally murdered in a mass shooting. In the aftermath, Connecticut lawmakers unified to pass some of the toughest gun safety legislation in the country.

While the state senate worked diligently to pass this law, a faction of pro-gun Republicans worked to block it. Among these was Frantz who voted for seven “call” amendments to the bill. In legislative jargon these are known as “strike” amendments since their purpose is to delay, derail or kill a bill. One amendment he supported would have allowed retired police and military to own assault weapons (5467). Frantz personally authored three of the seven “strike” amendments to:

Exempt shotguns from the law (5458), increase “large capacity” magazines from 10 to 17 bullets (5459) and allow people without permits to purchase .22 caliber ammunition (5461).

These actions reveal Scott Frantz’s true allegiance — he stands with pro-gun Republicans and will sacrifice our safety for political gain.

Frantz’s pattern of actively undermining gun safety legislation continued in 2016 with the Domestic Violence bill. He voted for three “strike” amendments on this too.

One of those amendments (5826) would give people accused of domestic violence access to guns. Though he voted for the final bill under intense pressure from constituents, the full record reveals again that Scott Frantz opposes common sense gun safety.

As federal gun policy veers toward the unimaginable — guns in classrooms — Frantz’s allegiance to his party remains unwavering. He is a major fundraiser for Republicans and helps elect more pro-gun legislators every year. In 2016 he supported three state senators who all voted against the bump stock ban. On Sept. 13 he hosted a major fundraiser for Bob Stefanowski, the Republican candidate for governor who has an “A” rating from the NRA. His running mate, Joe Markley, earned an “A+” from the NRA. Make no mistake: these men are not moderates and anyone helping to elect them cannot be viewed as a moderate either.

Here’s why this is important: the lieutenant governor casts the tie-breaking vote in a divided state senate, which ours is now, with 18 Republicans and 18 Democrats. Markley has been a state senator for years and voted against every gun safety law we worked so hard to achieve. If Stefanowski and Markley are elected, any attempt to strengthen these laws or tackle new threats — such as ghost guns and 3-D printed guns — is destined to fail.

And the good gun safety laws currently on the books could easily be erased. We need leaders who will work to protect us. If elected to the state senate, I would regulate ghost guns and 3-D printed guns, strengthen our safe storage laws and increase the legal age for gun purchases. I would work to defend our safety at every opportunity.

My views on this issue earned me the “Gun Sense Candidate” designation from Moms Demand Action and I’m proud to carry that honor.

This November election is like no other in history. When our rights are under attack, the job of a state senator is to defend the people (not the political party) she or he represents. I’ve spent my career championing children’s health and safety. And if elected, I’ll fight to ensure that Connecticut children never again experience the horror of gun violence. My priorities are clear. And my record proves it.

Greenwich resident Alexandra Bergstein is the Democratic candidate for state senate District 36, which includes all of Greenwich, as well as parts of Stamford and New Canaan.

AP RADIO
Update hourly