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Letter: Bergstein is Committed to Reducing Gun Violence

To The Editor:

One of the most frightening things you can experience as a parent is hearing that your school is in lockdown and wondering if there has been a shooting. I’m not a worrier by nature; yet, in March 2017, when our son was a student at Greenwich High School, and we learned that the school was in lockdown, I felt that momentary, visceral, fear. Thankfully, unlike what happened at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School less than one year later, there had been no shooting at GHS.

As election day approaches, it’s important to me to know where our candidates stand on a variety of issues – including gun violence. I am not opposed to hunting, nor gun clubs, nor ownership of guns with proper background checks, which is what most Americans support. What I am opposed to is a candidate who wants to weaken these measures that protect us and our children, and who then misrepresents his position.

After reading Scott Frantz’s full page ad in the Sentinel, in which he seemed to be going to great lengths to appear as a leader on gun safety laws, I felt a responsibility to look up and read Sen. Frantz’s amendments to SB 1160, “AN ACT CONCERNING GUN VIOLENCE PREVENTION AND CHILDREN’S SAFETY (aka the Sandy Hook gun bill).

Senator Frantz accused his opponent, Alex Bergstein, of spreading misleading information (which she didn’t), and did just that himself.

Sen. Frantz began on the floor of the Senate on April 3, 2013 by remarking, “If you look at this bill…two-thirds is devoted to guns…I believe there is too much emphasis on gun regulations” before going on to say “there are some good parts to this bill.” That’s hardly a resounding endorsement for a bill to which he claims he was “deeply committed.”

Frantz’s first amendment, LCO 5458, sought to exempt shotguns and shotgun shells from the new regulations, saying “there aren’t very many of those types of firearms that are used in criminal activities.” His concern was for gun clubs: “it’s going to be a nightmare to try to figure out how to get rounds of shotgun shells to club members as well as to guests.” (According to 2017 FBI data, 264 people were murdered in the U.S. by shotguns.)

Referring to his work on the post-Sandy Hook gun bill, Sen. Frantz (R-36th District) claims the “Common sense amendments that I introduced…improved the chances of the bill passing, minimizing safety concerns and maximizing bipartisan support.” A look back at the legislative record shows that the three amendments to Bill SB 1160 that Frantz put forward tell a different story.

The next amendment Frantz brought to the floor, LCO 5459, sought to increase the limit on magazine size for handguns to 17 rounds from the proposed Sen. Frantz was quoted in The Greenwich Time (“Democratic candidates call for more gun safety reforms,” Oct. 5), saying the reason was because professional security guards “were begging on their knees” for him to do it as a safety precaution. That’s curious as Frantz made no mention of security guards during the floor debate. In fact, his rationale was that handguns are less accurate than rifles and therefore for private citizens “it’s very difficult to hit your target…it takes a lot of rounds to stop that perpetrator.” It’s a silly fantasy to think that having larger magazine rounds will result in more perpetrators being stopped in gun fights. A much more likely outcome is more mass shootings will occur, enabled by easier access to 17-bullet magazines.

After his first two amendments were voted down, Sen. Frantz made a final attempt to weaken the bill with LCO 5461, exempting .22 caliber ammunition from new regulations, saying “I think the law just goes too far” and they are “not very powerful.”

As Sen. Frantz well knows, SB1160 would not have been brought to the floor without the votes to pass; it didn’t need his amendments in order to pass. His amendments had one purpose only, to weaken the bill at the expense of public safety. If you care about reducing gun violence, the clear choice is Alex Bergstein, a Moms Demand Action Gun Sense candidate with an “A” grade by CT Against Gun Violence.

Valerie Erde

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