A candidate for Connecticut’s Fourth Congressional District has pledged not just support for the right to keep and bear arms, but leadership in promoting it, giving Constitution State gun owners a clear opportunity to translate the enthusiasm displayed earlier this month at the Statehouse rally in Hartford -- which he attended -- into concrete political action. Decorated SEAL, author and small business owner Carl Higbie made his views known in a series of questions designed to identify which candidates give straight answers, which deflect with hollow words, and which ignore them and avoid accountability altogether.
Getting emails from political hopefuls goes with the territory for anyone writing about the issues, and most of the time, they’re meaningless fundraising blather. Case in point, George H.W. Bush wants to send me a pair of socks with an elephant logo, as long as I give blanket support to the Republican Party (and pay no attention to the betrayal of individual members against the right to keep and bear arms.) Other times I get canned emails that give the right buzzwords about “supporting the Second Amendment” (even Obama claims that!) but very little in terms of what the candidate will actually do if entrusted with political power.
That’s why, some years back, this column introduced the gun rights political questionnaire, which has been put to good use in past elections, notably in exposing how Sharron Angle was a superior candidate to Harry Reid. Designed to elicit unequivocal answers to specific questions about commitment to gun rights, the questionnaire is intended to be used as a grassroots tool by gun rights activists to identify politicians worthy of support, and to spread the word and recruit campaign contributions and volunteers. While it’s true that politicians can (and do) say anything to get elected, pinning them down to specific commitments makes holding them to their explicit promises easier -- and exposing them for betraying their pledges a black and white cinch.
“Carl Higbie, Candidate for Congress in Connecticut District 4, thinks that Connecticut’s politicians have enacted an unconstitutional law that is eroding freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and specifically by the 2nd Amendment,” Higbie campaign spokesman Stephen Crane advised. “In response, he created the Facebook page; CT Against Gun Confiscation to expose what is going on and to educate the public about this important issue.”
"One of my former opponents supported this law, and since he is advocating violating the Constitutional rights specified by the founding fathers, he should be removed from office and not running for another,” Higbie asserted. “This law has resulted in the very real possibility of arrest, imprisonment and fines for law abiding gun owners according to statements being made by CT State Police.”
Who are Higbie’s opponents?
Ballotpedia lists Democrat incumbent Jim Himes and Republican challengers, and former State Senator Dan Debicella. Additionally, Gun Owners of America is listing Joe Bentivegna. State Rep. John Shaban has reportedly dropped out and thrown his support behind Debicella.
How do these candidates do on guns?
Himes is easy. Per Project VoteSmart, the guy is a committed gun-grabber, with failing grades from both NRA and GOA, and a 100 percent lifetime score from the Brady Campaign.
Shaban voted with Dannell Malloy to criminalize Connecticut gun owners, advocating “I believe that the resulting gun restrictions -- both the common sense ones and the problematic ones -- are acceptable (and Constitutional)...”
Dan Debicella was rated “C” by NRA’s Political Victory Fund in 2010.
If Bentivegna has a position on guns, he evidently does not think it’s important enough to mention on his campaign website’s “Issues” page.
So what about Higbie? Here are the questions asked followed by his response:
Do you believe that the Constitution is the "supreme law of the land" and that the Bill of Rights acknowledges our birthrights?
Yes!!! It is the founding document that is the mortar to our great nation. As old as it is, it clearly states timeless guidelines for prosperity with the opportunity to change it if needs be. Additionally I believe it to be one of the most genius documents in history.
If so, should these rights be proactively protected from infringement by all levels of government, including city, county and state?
Yes, as I clearly state in my book “Battle on the Home Front,” this is our supreme law of the land that should not be undermined by any level of government. Those who oppose the Constitution or vote against it (to include elected officials who vote for a law that is then overturned on the basis of unconstitutionality) should be removed on the basis of violating their oath. This would of course exclude the allotted amendment process also noted in the Constitution.
Please give some examples of gun laws you consider constitutional.
This is tough to give a clear answer on… because the Second Amendment was designed to provide “we the people” with the ability to stand up to a tyrannical government. You have to ask the fundamental question, “Why is the Second Amendment the only one restricted nearly everywhere by the need for A. a proficiency course and B. an ID?” Yet voting requires neither, they are both rights, why the discrimination? Background checks should be at the expense of the organization requiring it, not the consumer, and I support private sales with personal accountability much like a bill of sale when you sell a car. I advocate for this for the caution of the two involved in the transaction and accountability I case of a mishap.
I think that Americans should be able to carry, possess and purchase all weapons issued to standard law enforcement. With regard to such things as rocket launchers, joint strike fighters, or chemical weapons etc., there is a line to be drawn, that is the place.
Please give some examples of gun laws you consider unconstitutional.
Gun registration, round restrictions, carry restrictions on state or federal government property. I do believe private business may restrict firearms at their discretion (I will go into permitting in the next question).
Does the right to bear arms include the right for any peaceable citizen to carry them concealed without a permit, as in Vermont?
Yes, as I said before, why is the Second Amendment the only right I am required to show competency and an ID to exercise in the majority of the country? Some make the argument that without permitting, this will allow inexperienced people to carry weapons, but this is an attempt of legislating personal responsibility, once you cross this line there is no limit, ex. Obamacare. Inexperienced people vote and that can be more damaging than any gun with a 30 round magazine.
Do you believe that Americans have a right to own, use and carry weapons of military pattern, and will you use the prestige of elected office to publicly promote that right?
Please define “military pattern.” If elected, I would take action against the elected officials (not just the state) that voted for the recent CT gun bill. I believe they violated their oath in voting for it. If you mean “assault rifles”, I believe that to be clearly protected by the Second Amendment.
Do you support or oppose registration of weapons? Why?
I oppose, it is not the government’s business to know these things. In the unlikely and undesirable event of civil unrest this would provide the government a target deck of people allowing them to target those with weapons.
Do you support or oppose licensing requirements to own or carry firearms? Why?
I oppose, while I understand the desire and principal behind it, again, this is an attempt to legislate personal responsibility. Vermont has a VERY low crime rate with lax gun laws, Chicago has the highest crime rate with the strictest gun laws…coincidence??? The potential for the presence of good guys with guns deters bad guys with guns.
What specific gun laws will you work to get repealed?
CT’s HB1160 for starters, honestly I’m not sure where else for now considering that I will work to abolish the conceal permits laws because the Constitution recognizes our right to “bear” arms as well, and the 10th amendment does not allow states to supersede the Constitution, rather make laws not specified in it.
If elected, will you back your words of support for firearms rights up with consistent actions? How?
Yes, I will always vote pro gun.
Higbie shows not only a solid commitment on major points, but a personal involvement in the “gun culture,” making him approachable and amenable to discussion and, importantly, to learning. Without doubt, he stands head and shoulders above the field.
So what are his chances?
Of teaching the establishment that gun owners are tired of having oppressors with an “R” after their name foisted on them, very good.
“A growing number of delegates and leaders from across the Republican community in Connecticut’s Fourth Congressional District are backing Carl Higbie’s Congressional campaign,” a campaign press release issued today advises. “Ideologues are voicing their pleasure at the fact there is finally a choice in local politics, and that Higbie’s campaign is not ‘politics as usual.’”
As for his odds against the Democrat Himes, should Higbie secure the challenger slot? That will be a tougher nut to crack, as the district swings significantly toward the Democrats.
Is it impossible? Not at all. It’s been done before, and recently.
Who knows what effect Higbie's committed army of volunteers and contributors can have, and how voters may be motivated if given a real choice that can instill fire in the belly, as opposed to tepid RINOs that can’t even inspire an interest in voting from their own base?
Activist Connecticut gun owners who have expressed a desire to “throw the bums out” owe it to themselves to give the Higbie campaign a close look, and if they like what they see, do more than just post comments on the internet. If establishment hacks are not soundly rejected, and told why, what incentive does the Republican party have to ever change? And if candidates willing to demonstrate leadership find gun owner support lacking, what incentive do they have to stick their necks out by taking a firm stand on issues that carry significant political risk?
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A leading gun-grabber busted for conspiracy to set up illegal international arms deals? What gives, Leland Yee? Aside from campaign contributors? My latest GUNS Magazine "Rights Watch" column is online, and you can read it well before the issue hits the stands. Click here to read "Stranger than Fiction.”