This is the second part of a multi-part series taking a deeper dive into various important topics in the 2020 election. On the 100-point scale I am using to grade candidates, the Second Amendment is worth 6 points.
This section of the dossier has been revised and updated to reflect the general election field.
We can almost recite this from memory: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” But what are we defining as infringements, and how do Delaware’s candidates look at the issue?
To a person, they will tell you they support the Second Amendment but what do they really mean? Hopefully I will bring a little bit of clarity to this with my post. As I did with education, the following is a summary of their published platforms, their social media comments, and their direct answers. In this case I am going by party beginning with the Republicans for House and Senate, respectively, then proceeding through the Libertarians, Independent Party of Delaware candidates, and finally the incumbent Democrats Lisa Blunt Rochester and Chris Coons for House and Senate, respectively.
With the exception of the incumbents who have a voting record to compare, each of them available to me via social media was asked: Since we all want “common sense gun laws,” what would you change about federal gun laws to make them “common sense?” The best answers would get all six points available to them.
Lee Murphy (R) (House)
Murphy agrees with the platitudes previously expressed regarding protection of the Second Amendment. But he also adds an interesting wrinkle in that, “we should address the root causes of violence and crime in our communities.” I’m not sure if there’s not a troubling implication here that the guns are part of the problem.
A gun is an inanimate tool until someone loads it, picks it up, points it at someone, and fires. All these steps must be followed for criminal gun violence. I think the old adage that “an armed society is a polite society” comes into play here since the vast majority of gun owners have probably never fired their weapon outside of a range and those who have were likely hunting. 2.5 points out of 6.
Lauren Witzke (R) (Senate)
Witzke is very expressive about 2A rights, and has a photo on her social media posing with what I’m assuming is an AR-15 or similar weapon. Moreover, she thunders, “The Second Amendment is not up for negotiation. It’s not a bargaining chip to be used by lawmakers to cut deals.” She also correctly states that thanks to the Second Amendment, “our citizenry has the tools to defend itself against rogue tyrants or an overbearing government.”
Unlike her cohorts, she has a strict pledge that she “will vote against every measure that seeks to restrict the Second Amendment, and will pass legislation to take back Americans’ gun rights that have already been usurped by feckless lawmakers of the past.” The second part is really the phrase that pays, although right now she probably doesn’t have enough help to play along in the Senate. A full 6 points.
David Rogers (L) (House)
Rogers makes a point that crime is higher and criminals more aggressive in nations where gun ownership is forbidden, such as Great Britain. That’s a good reason to protect our rights, but it’s not the full reason. 2 points out of 6.
Nadine Frost (L) (Senate)
Sadly, she has not yet addressed the subject on social media or when asked. No points.
Catherine Stonestreet Purcell (IPoD) (House)
The same holds true for CSP, which is really surprising to me given the length with which she has elaborated other positions. No points.
Mark Turley (IPoD) (Senate)
Like his IPoD cohort, Turley has not discussed the issue in a venue where I have discerned his position. No points.
I don’t think any of these fine folks will be the same sort of gun grabber that seems to incessantly populate the Democrat side of the aisle. What I’m still seeking clarity on, though, is how well they will fight to regain what we’ve already lost. Speaking of Democrats:
Lisa Blunt Rochester (incumbent D) (House)
Despite her lack of an issues page, I only had to go back to 2016 to find this nugget:
“We need to figure out long-term solutions to this problem by putting much tougher restrictions on who can own a gun and what those guns can do…
But, right now, we need to quickly close loopholes that allow criminals to get their hands on guns with ease, increase background checks on everyone who wants to purchase a gun and institute a cooling off period so no one can purchase a gun without being vetted thoroughly.”
Really, no, we don’t. 0 points out of 6.
Chris Coons (incumbent D) (Senate)
He’s just as bad as LBR as he touts his endorsements by the usual cast of gun grabbers and stating he’s “not afraid to stand up to the NRA.” How about standing up for the Constitution like you’re supposed to? You took an oath to defend it, remember?
Anyone who refers to guns as “weapons of war” is automatically disqualified. 0 points out of 6.
House: Murphy 6.5, CSP 2, Rogers 2, LBR 1.5.
Senate: Witzke 10.5, Frost 4, Turley 1, Coons 0.
My next part was supposed to consider energy issues, which are something not every candidate features on their website or social media. Because of that, I’ll wait a bit to do that part and instead focus on something our candidates are not shy about: social issues.