State Official Threatens Citizen Over Gun Vote
Just over a week ago, newly minted New York State Representative Didi Barrett (NY-106th) twice attempted to have an inquisitive citizen jailed or intimidated by Red Hook police for exercising his Constitutional right to petition the government. Nope, this is not made up, folks; it is real and it is real-time. It illustrates that the gun control debate is not about guns. It is not even about crime. It is about controlling citizens; that is its purpose and the goal of its proponents.
Last Tuesday, Chris Stehling, a plumber from Red Hook, NY, visited Barrett’s local office to explain his opposition to her recent vote in support of New York’s new anti-gun law. This new law is so restrictive that even most on-duty police officers are non-compliant and potential felons. The heavily rushed and highly defective law must now be "fixed," and it is already going through a new amendment process, facts that in Stehling’s view indicated a flawed legislative process begging a few more changes.
Stehling tells me that he was respectful and professional when he first visited Barrett’s office, requesting a meeting with her. Asked by staff what the subject was that he wished to discuss, Stehling explained his opposition to his state representative’s vote for the flawed law. Barrett was unavailable, he was told, and "Don’t call us, we will call you" was their parting response.
Soon after he left, a town detective, Tom D’Amicantonio, knocked on Stehling’s door, asking if he had threatened Barrett.
"I told Tom ‘Heck no!’," says Stehling, who is a steady, jovial, and articulate guy on the phone, and on a friendly first-name basis with the small-town local police.
Taking a statement from Stehling, the detective departed, and left Stehling with a feeling of now being victimized twice by Representative Barrett: Once by her careless vote for the poorly written law, and now by her attempt to persecute and intimidate him for daring to ask her about it.
Stehling called a friend, and they returned to Barrett’s office, calmly seeking both to schedule a meeting and requesting an explanation about why the detective had been called. Apparently while they were talking to a staffer, someone else in the office was on the phone, calling the police again, because when Stehling returned to his car outside and began to drive away, the town’s police sergeant, Patrick Hildenbrand, pulled him over.
"The sergeant came over to my truck, and he asked me what was going on with Representative Barrett, like, had we threatened her, and we explained our experiences visiting her office," says Stehling.
After talking with Stehling and his friend, Sergeant Hildenbrand reportedly called Barrett’s office in Stehling’s presence, explaining that Stehling was well within his Constitutional rights to petition his elected officials, to visit their offices, and request a meeting with his representative. Is that not the role of an elected official in a representative democracy, after all? The US Constitution’s First Amendment gives citizens the right to petition their government, and to speak freely.
Eventually Stehling was granted a meeting with NY Representative Barrett at her distant Albany office, which he conveniently visited after a pro-Constitutional rights rally at the NY state capitol that same day.
"She was dismissive about our concerns, even when we presented the fact that the new law criminalizes most on-duty police officers [because of their higher capacity guns] and it punishes law-abiding citizens but not criminals," says Stehling. "She didn’t give a rat’s turd what we had to say," he said to me.
Three weeks ago I debated Shira Goodman of CeaseFirePA (http://video.witf.org/video/2335658815), a gun prohibitionist group, on a WITF live call-in TV show. Several times during the debate Shira earnestly exclaimed her avid support for Second Amendment rights, which she is working overtime to destroy. It is now a common tactic to proclaim support for something you obviously despise and undermine. And thus America spawns people like Representative Didi Barrett, the Cuomo-endorsed New York State "Assemblyperson" who believes in getting elected to office, but not in being accountable to the citizens whose consent places her there; in fact, she evidently believes in using the police to intimidate or jail her political opponents.
Gun rights advocates have long worried that their opponents were seeking domination and control of the citizenry, and not control of crime. Representative Didi Barrett’s actions just showed us that concern is valid and true. But Didi Barrett tilted her hand too soon, though, because this kind of heavy-handed response from government should be more common only after Americans have been disarmed, and not before. Those citizens on the fence about this issue can now make an even more informed choice about which way to vote. Vote for freedom, folks, not for the un-American abuse of power that motivates people like Didi Barrett.
Listen to Chris Stehling’s other interview, on Sheryl Thomas’s radio program, at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/sherylthomas/2013/02/28/ny-gun-owner-harassed-by-assemblywomans-office
Stay involved in the conversation at www.joshfirst.com and on our Facebook page