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Gun rights and Scott Brown: It’s all about trust

Gun Rights and Scott  Brown?  Trust
Gun Rights and Scott Brown? Trust
Photo by WGBH

Gun Owners of New Hampshire held a private meeting with Senate candidate Scott Brown last night in Concord. It was a chance for members and other invited guests to ask Brown the tough questions that have been on gun owners’ minds since he announced his candidacy. The meeting started out with some background information after which Brown went right into the question and answer session. It actually lasted quite a long time which was surprising.

Many of the questions were well thought out and many were expected. Brown was questioned on his ties to gun control terrorist Bloomberg. His response was that Bloomberg has already spent $5 million in New Hampshire and supports Shaheen. Bloomberg endorsed Brown over Warren in 2012. He was also asked about his reaction to the Newtown shooting after which he made the following statement:

“What happened in Newtown where those children were subject to that level of violence is beyond my comprehension,” Brown said in an interview today with the Springfield Republican newspaper. “As a state legislator in Massachusetts I supported an assault weapons ban thinking other states would follow suit. But unfortunately, they have not and innocent people are being killed. As a result, I support a federal assault weapons ban, perhaps like the legislation we have in Massachusetts.”

Brown admitted to making the statement and also added that the statement left out the part where he said mental illness was an issue that needed to be addressed.

There were a few contentious moments of the night like when someone accused Brown of not actually answering the questions he was asked. Brown often seemed to circumvent the answers in true political fashion. He also spoke of having to look into some issues rather than make a decision on the spot in order to give the appropriate answer such as country-wide reciprocity. Brown can say "yes I support that" all he wants when it comes to certain issues but can he convince voters to believe him?

When asked if Brown had applied for his “concealed carry license” yet, he responded that he did a month and a half ago and was just waiting for the references to be cleared. This caused a bit of a stir since in the Granite State you can get your license between 10 and 14 days. This crushed some credibility for Brown with some in attendance.

It’s not clear if Brown actually changed any minds after the meeting. It’s going to be an issue that gun owners will have to contend with before the primary. There are 3 other candidates in the race – Bob Smith, Karen Testerman and Jim Rubens. Each of these candidates is extremely strong on gun rights. If a gun owner is a one issue voter (the 2nd Amendment being an extremely important issue), they are going to have to decide whether or not they trust Brown. Words are nice but actions always speak louder. Given Brown’s history in the Massachusetts State Legislature (he voted for bans on certain semi-automatic firearms), it’s going to be a long road to gain the trust of Granite State gun owners. Will voters take that chance? Will Brown earn their trust?