Gun Control Group Takes Aim at Murphy

CeaseFirePA, an organization that supports gun control measures, criticized former U.S. Rep. and Attorney General hopeful Patrick Murphy this week for a statement he made on the campaign trail – and his record in Congress.

As a Congressman, Murphy co-sponsored a federal ban on assault weapons. But he also voted to repeal Washington DC’s local firearms regulations, including an assault weapons ban and mandatory handgun registration, and cosponsored a bill that would force Pennsylvania to accept concealed carry permits issued by other states.

“[Murphy] has taken good steps in the past. He co-sponsored the federal assault weapons ban. But then he was attacked by the NRA, and he never did the right thin again,” said CeaseFirePA Director Max Nacheman. He also sent a letter to Murphy about comments he made during a recent endorsement meeting with the Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police:

“We were concerned to hear your statement earlier this week about your views regarding the Second Amendment relating to reasonable reforms to reduce gun violence,” wrote Nacheman.

Murphy was quote this week in the Daily News saying, “Either you believe in the Second Amendment or you don’t. You can’t pick and choose what sections of the Constitution you believe in.”

Murphy’s campaign responded that the quote reported by the Daily News did not reflect the entirety of his statement. A full video clip from the event courtesy of the Murphy campaign shows him giving this answer to a question about gun control:

“You can’t say you believe in the Second Amendment except for the 600,000 people that reside in the District of Columbia. For 30 years they couldn’t own weapons. Either you believe in the Second Amendment or you don’t. You can’t pick and choose what sections of the Constitution you believe in. You know I was proud to vote for one handgun a month. I was proud to be a co-sponsor of the assault weapons ban. I will stack my record against everybody.”

On the campaign trail, Murphy has sought to thread the balance between responsible, legal gun ownership and what he calls “reasonable restrictions.”

But Nacheman says Murphy’s warm words for gun control measures during his bid for Attorney General don’t resolve questions from his time in Congress.

Reciprocity

Specifically, Nacheman cited Murphy’s co-sponsorship of the National Right to Carry Reciprocity Act in 2007. The bill would have forced Pa. – and every state – to honor concealed carry permits from every other state, even gun owners whose Pa. applications for such permits had been rejected.

Presently, the Pa. Attorney General negotiates with other states the reciprocity of gun permits, including concealed carry.

“The Attorney General has a lot of power to do things on this issue,” said Nacheman of concealed carry reciprocity. “Chances are, the next AG will have the chance to weigh in on reciprocity. Possibly even close the Florida loophole.”

The “Florida loophole” refers to Pennsylvania’s current reciprocity arrangement with that state. Pa. recognizes more concealed carry permits from Florida than anywhere else.

Congress has come close to passing similar legislation twice in the past two sessions; the latest iteration of the bill passed the House in November and awaits action in the U.S. Senate. The measure is a top priority of gun rights advocates, but has so far fallen short.

In part, the measure has failed because of the lobbying efforts of hundreds of American Mayors – including 166 from Pa. – who argue that such a bill would diminish the efforts by many cities to reduce gun crime.

Murphy’s campaign notes that 10 of those Mayors have endorsed his campaign, including Michael Nutter of Philadelphia, Luke Ravenstahl of Pittsburgh, Ed Pawlowski of Allentown, John Callahan of Bethlehem, Rick Gray of Lancaster, and Tom Leighton of Wilkes-Barre.

The AG Campaign

During a debate at the Pa. Progressive Summit in February, both Murphy and opponent Kathleen Kane expressed support for tighter gun control measures.

“I’m a gun owner, but nowhere in the constitution is there the right to own a AK-47,” Murphy said.

Kane, a former prosecutor from Lackawanna County, agreed.

“We need to ensure and slow up the permitting of guns,” she said.

Both said they would defend Pa. municipalities if they are sued for gun-related ordinances.

But Kane’s campaign criticized Murphy for his support of lifting the DC weapons ban.

“Career prosecutors like Kathleen Kane understand that banning deadly assault weapons everywhere in the U.S. is important for public safety and permissible under the Second Amendment,” said communications director Josh Morrow.

Nacheman acknowledged that Murphy was subject to greater scrutiny than his opponents as a result of the fact that he has a recent record in Congress.

“Kathleen Kane seems to understand the issues,” said Nacheman, citing her comments at the Progressive Summit. “The difference for her is, there is no voting record. With Patrick Murphy, we know what he says but we also know what he’s done.”

Unlike the third Democratic candidate, former Congressman and former Auditor General Don Bailey, Murphy’s time in Congress occurred during an era of extremely politicized gun rights issues.

Bailey was not an announced candidate at the time of the Pa. Progressive forum and has not yet weighed in on these issues.

Murphy’s campaign noted that gun rights advocacy groups weren’t fond of him while he was in Congress, either. He earned a D+ from the National Rifle Association in 2008; an F- from the Gun Owners of America in 2009, and a 9 percent positive rating fro GOA in 2010.

PoliticsPA is currently seeking Murphy’s NRA issue ratings along with the organization’s criteria from the duration of his time in office.

Republican candidate Dave Freed, Cumberland County District Attorney, has cast himself as a staunch supporter of gun rights.

CeaseFirePA’s full letter to Murphy is below:

Ceasefire Pa Letter to Patrick Murphy

March 2nd, 2012 | Posted in Front Page Stories, Harrisburg, Top Stories | 11 Comments

11 thoughts on “Gun Control Group Takes Aim at Murphy”

  1. Jerilyn says:

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  2. Jarhead1982 says:

    Dave Thomas, late creator of Wendy’s fast food chain once was asked how he marketed and tested where to put his stores at, he said, real simple, right next to the McDonalds.

    Any candidate that those idiots at Cease Fire hates should be an automatic vote getter come election day, thanks cease fire for making the selection easy.

  3. Undecided Voter says:

    I’m a Republican, but Dave Freed does nothing to excite me. Quite honestly, I think it is best to have an AG from the opposite party keep an eye on the governor, whoever he may be. Everything I’ve read about Patrick Murphy conveys an image of confidence and intelligence. I’m an NRA member, but I think Murphy is right about taking a balanced approach. What I’ve read about him here and about how Cease Fire is going after him makes me think that he’d get my vote in a general election.

  4. David Diano says:

    Bob Dole? Probably not the same guy that lost to Clinton and then did some of the first Viagra commercials?

    However, it sounds like Murphy is your little blue pill.

    For the rest of us, he’s just a little blue dog Democrat.

  5. Bob Dole says:

    Dave Diano is just jealous that Murphy doesn’t live in his mom’s basement.

  6. PhillyHillbilly says:

    As far as his or kane’s job goes the 2nd Amendment is secondary. Section 21 of the PA Constitution is what first guides a PA Attorney General on gun issues and the comments regarding defense of municipalities flies in the face of the state constitution, state law and the determinations of the PA supreme court.

    Cease Fire PA needs to frame the gun control issue in the “politicians in fear of the NRA” meme because they have nothing to stand on when the focus becomes the precise ambit of power the state constitution and state law gives state and local governments to enact. Even more ignorantly, the agenda of CFPA forces them to blind themselves as to what the state constitution and state law expressly forbids.

  7. Spencer60 says:

    No wonder CeaseFirePA hates him, he actually has thought about Second Amendment issues rather than blindly following their lead.

    I also love how CFPA seems to think that the NRA has secret brainwashing and reeducation centers scattered throughout the country just to ‘get to’ politicians.

    The simple fact of the matter is that the NRA lobbying arm (which, by the way, by far the smallest part of the NRA) represents millions of people, while CFPA may represent a few thousand at best.

    In politics, numbers matter. CFPA needs to realize that they are a fringe group, and that the only reason people listen to them at all is that they go to the same cocktail parties.

  8. jack says:

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  9. WashPA says:

    Mature…

  10. David Diano says:

    Murphy is the overrated Justin Bieber of PA politics.

  11. L.D William says:

    If anything, this should show that Murphy has a centrist streak to him. He is generally a progressive, but he has demonstrated enough pragmatism to appeal to some conservatives. This is exactly why we need to nominate him – he has the best chance to win a general… unless of course the Kane family decides to throw another $5 million dollars in the race. Even that wouldn’t guarantee it…

    How do you expect to throw a ten year ADA against a career DA. At least Murphy had a different background; you can’t compare the two.

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