Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Senator Casey Serious About Gun Control

Senator Casey is holding Sarah Brady's book.

The Philadelphia Inquirer has already noted that Senator Bob Casey, who was previously a vocal supporter of the NRA, has had a change of heart about gun control. A group of concerned citizens, including Lower Merion Democratic Committeeman David  Broida and activist Betsy Sheerr, recently met with him to discuss the issue. This is Broida's account of the meeting, which was confirmed with other participants. 

Casey started out the meeting by saying that he had never had an experience like this, The television news reports from Newtown, Connecticut after the massacre of 20 children, 6 teachers, and the shooter's mother had a major impact on him. 

Casey said, " Don't think that TV news can't influence you.  I watched NBC's Pete Williams walk in the halls of the school, with arrows on the floor, showing the path of the  gunman.  Moving down the hallway.  That is when I realized that he didn't intend to kill just students in 2 rooms - he intended to kill every child in that school."

It seems that gun control advocates owe a debt of gratitude to one of Casey's daughter. Casey indicated that his it was daughter's prodding that caused him to change his mind. 

Casey said, "I was haunted by the reality of 20 kids dead and the possibility of an entire school dying. My daughter asked me, Dad, you have a vote. What are you going to do about it?"

For the first time, he questioned the existence of militias and the unlimited rights of gun owners. 

"I do not know how many of my constituents are in the militia category, but as someone who loves his country and sees the government as a force of good for its citizens, I am clearly alarmed by this segment of our society," said Casey. 

Some of Casey shift on gun control can be attributed to the changing demographics of Pennsylvania. The state is becoming less rural and more suburban. But he does seem sincere about the need for gun control. 

In a lighter moment during the meeting, Casey joked about the red hot celebrity of the new senator from Massachusetts, Elizabeth Warren.

"When I was a party for Elizabeth Warren's swearing in party, someone handed him the camera and asked him to take the picture. The first time that has happened. I am usually the one in the picture," laughed Casey. 

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