Imagine you were a member of a gun range, then discovered a political town hall being held at that range was all about gun control. How would you feel?
If you say anything other than some variation of upset or angry, I’m not going to believe you. The only other acceptable answer would probably be to disbelieve something like that would ever happen.
Unfortunately, though, it did.
A town hall on gun control featuring Congresswoman Haley Stevens ended early as tempers flared and the arguing turned to shouting Tuesday.
The goal was to find common ground on solutions to gun violence, but organizers found how wide the rift between some gun owners and pro-gun control advocates really is.
“This is why the NRA has got to go,” shouted Rep. Haley Stevens (D-11th District). “The NRA has got to go.”
Stevens, State House Democratic Leader Christine Greig and State Rep. Robert Wittenberg (D-Berkley) led the town hall at the conservation club where many of its members are gun owners.
Well, that’s certainly interesting, now isn’t it.
The uproar isn’t surprising. Gun control is a controversial topic that brings out a strong response in anyone interested enough in the issue to attend a town hall on the topic.
However, there’s also something odd about booking such a town hall–especially when it seems clear that the anti-gun officials weren’t looking for input from the pro-gun side–at a gun range. Especially since there’s some indication that the booking was made under false pretenses.
“I think they just snuck it in here,” said Meshawn Maddock. “I can tell you that the members of this gun club are not happy about it.”
Gun owners showed up to the town hall in droves, spurred on in part by GOP 11th Congressional District Chair Meshawn Maddock.
“Somehow Fems for Dems booked this event using a different name,” Maddock said. “The sweet woman I talked to said that it said Fems for Life on her calendar. We needed to show up here and tell Haley Stevens exactly what we think about her gun violence town hall behind held in a very Republican – this is a Republican stronghold.”
So there exists a possibility that the event was booked under a name that would suggest a pro-life organization rather than a potential gun control group. In a GOP stronghold, a name like “Fems for Life” wouldn’t suggest anything untoward about a group using a gun range for an event.
Yet that wasn’t the group’s actual name.
Now, I won’t go so far as to claim they lied in the booking, but let’s be honest here. A gun control town hall at a gun range could easily be spun to suggest that more gun owners support gun control than actually do. “Gun owners support these measures. We had a town hall at the gun range just up the road,” for example.
Which, of course, wouldn’t necessarily be true. Even if Rep. Stevens was someone I were inclined to trust not to make that case–and anyone who says the NRA has to go simply because they disagree with her isn’t someone worth trusting–others would make that leap all on their own.
Now, though, any mention of the town hall would likely bring up memories of this story and kill that. Thankfully.
I can’t say definitively that this was a case of someone trying to be sneaky, but I can’t think of any other way to look at it. Especially since the only way it seems pro-gun folks heard about it was from the GOP district chairperson notifying them. I seriously doubt it was about finding common ground and more about looking like their proposals were the common ground.