Partisan heckling mars rally against gun violence

14 Feb

In Hartford for an unrelated meeting Thursday, I took the opportunity to check out the “March for Change” rally in support of stricter gun control laws on the steps of the Capitol building.

Nicole  Hockley holding a photograph of her son  Dylan Hockley, 6, who was a victim of the Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting by gunman Adam Lanza December 14, 2012 stands with the crowd listening to speakers at the March For Change anti-gun rally at the State Capitol Thursday, February 14, 2013 in Hartford,Connecticut urging legislators in Connecticut and Washington to enact strict gun control and a total ban on  rifles and handguns with capacities of using magazine that hold more than 10-rounds.  State legislators and families of victims of the Newtown Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, shootings in urban Bridgeport and Hartford,  among others, spoke at the rally. According to Capitol Police, approximately 5,500 people attended the rally, many of whom were bused in from around Connecticut.  Photo by Peter Hvizdak / New Haven Register

Nicole Hockley holding a photograph of her son Dylan Hockley, 6, who was a victim of the Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting by gunman Adam Lanza December 14, 2012, stands with the crowd listening to speakers at the March For Change anti-gun rally at the State Capitol Thursday, February 14, 2013 in Hartford. Photo by Peter Hvizdak / New Haven Register

The gathering was remarkable due to its size (Capitol Police estimated the crowd at 5,500), roster of speakers (Gov. Dannel Malloy, Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman, Secretary of the State Denise Merrill, Attorney General George Jepsen, actress Christine Baranski and many others) and moving words from family members of those killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting on Dec. 14.

The turnout was significant, in part, because of the edge that opponents of any new gun control measure have had in pressuring members of the Connecticut General Assembly. Gun rights enthusiasts dominated an all-day hearing in Hartford recently sponsored by a legislative task force looking at post-Newtown public policy issues. Merrill told the crowd that legislators have been getting emails 10-to-1 against new gun restrictions even though polls have shown that the majority of people support more gun control. She urged the “silent majority” to start speaking up.

But there was at least one man in the crowd at Thursday’s rally who should have stayed silent.

In addition to the parade of prominent Democratic lawmakers speaking at the rally, Republican state Sen. John McKinney took the podium. He was not treated with the same respect.

John McKinney

John McKinney

McKinney represents Newtown and was in the firehouse that day, waiting with families on word of whether their children were dead or alive.

He talked about how that day changed his live and changed his perspective on issues.

McKinney was not allowed to complete his remarks as prepared. He was interrupted by a chant of “Pass the law! Pass the law!”

And then a man from the crowd (likely the same person who launched the chanting) started heckling him, with words I couldn’t make out, other than at one point where he yelled that McKinney should get off the stage.

The only reason I can think that McKinney would be interrupted and heckled at this rally is the political party he belongs to. If that was why, it was a mind-boggling and self-defeating injection of partisanship into an issue that should transcend party (and really seems to in McKinney’s mind).

Gun control advocates should do what the gun rights crowd failed to do when one of their own was guilty of a major breach of civility and respect in discussing this issue.  They should condemn and cast out those who use the issue to score political points or be nasty. And they should reach out to Sen. McKinney, a major potential ally, with an apology (if they haven’t already done so privately).

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15 Responses to “Partisan heckling mars rally against gun violence”

  1. Bill February 14, 2013 at 10:26 pm #

    Great article, but the number quoted is 100 to 1. Video of the event will be posted for reference.

  2. Barbara Kraushaar February 14, 2013 at 10:55 pm #

    I was there also and if you call that heckling, you don’t know what heckling is. I think it was disrespectful to chant at all when the Senator was speaking, but we the people of Sandy Hook are in such pain, maybe you missed all the tears. Don’t blow one minute out of proportion.

  3. steve o (@wwkayaker7) February 15, 2013 at 10:15 am #

    There is no possiblity there was 5,000 at event. This is how communist propaganda works at a communist gun confiscation event. These particular communists have no truth on their side. One bit of actual truth was accidently spoken by Denise Merrill when she said the people are responding 100 to 1 to protect gun rights against the gun grabbers.The rule of law and the Constitution is on our side and we won’t stop. You know we are growing in numbers because even Democrats hate when communists try to take their rights.

    • Reasonable Republican February 15, 2013 at 4:12 pm #

      The number was actually 5,500 and was reported by the Capitol Police, not a “communist propaganda” machine. I’m a Republican and a gun enthusiast, but your nonsense paranoia is not doing our party any favors.

      • steve o (@wwkayaker7) February 17, 2013 at 11:59 am #

        You are not a reasonable Rpublican, no chance. comparison videos have been made of other events. No chance of 5,000. Number came from text campaign. half of the texts to register as here were from outside the state.I could care less about Republicans anyways and to say the Democrats of our state are not communists you are an idiot

      • the truth February 23, 2013 at 9:36 am #

        I dont care what the capital police say. There was less than 1000 people there. Most of them bused in by democratic money.That 5500 figure is a lie.

  4. Johanna Galt February 15, 2013 at 11:09 am #

    There was no heckling done when Mr Heslin spoke at the task force hearing – that fact has already been established.. so why are you perpetuating a lie? In any case, Sen. Mckinney was heckled and treated with much disrespect.. but no surprise coming from the Leftist anti-gun crowd… they are hypocrites who call for “bi-partisan” solutions, yet treat those that they are supposed to be co-operating with, with extreme disrespect.

  5. shawn m lang February 15, 2013 at 11:21 am #

    I’m a far left progressive and have worked with Senator McKinney on a number of issues. He is an honest, hard working person who I give great credit to for going to to rally and not backing out like one of his fellow Republicans. His voice deserved to be heard.

    @Steve, hon, please take you meds while you adjust your tin foil hat.

    • Smith February 15, 2013 at 11:41 am #

      1000 people at most. I’ve run analysis on the photos and there is no way there were over 1000 people there yesterday. For the record I’m not a gun person but I do believe that honesty and truth should take center stage.

    • steve o (@wwkayaker7) February 15, 2013 at 3:15 pm #

      You can call yourself a progressive, but the truth is progressive is just latest word to camoflage your real communist heart. If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck and waddles like a duck, it is a duck. Yes we have the rule of law on our side, the Constitution on our side and By Denise Merril’s own words we have the support of the citizens on our side and you quote Saul Alliinsky’s rules for radicals to try to take our rights. I am glad you are exposed for what you are. Next year after you destroy the word progressive like your type did with liberal, you will call yourself something else, but you will still be a communist.

  6. Gordon Hunting February 15, 2013 at 1:50 pm #

    For the children! We must do something for the children! No matter how ridiculous! No matter how much it strays from the facts! We must (ban all guns, guns are bad, nobody needs guns) do SOMETHING for the children! Have to (exploit this tragedy for our anti-gun agenda) do something for THE CHILDREN!

  7. John Buck February 17, 2013 at 8:24 pm #

    Just so people understand these laws will have no effect on mad men who commit mass shootings or inner city criminals that use guns for fear, intimidation and too perpetuate their drug trade. These laws are only intended to disarm and diminish the capacity of law abiding citizens to protect their families and themselves. I live in a rural part of Connecticut, if someone tries to break into my house should I just wait 15 to 20 minutes for the police to show up if I am even able to get to the phone in time. Yet these anti gun, anti Constitution, anti freedom folks think 10 bullets is a safe number for me to have. I sure hope the criminals are following the laws. What world do these people come from. For liberals they sure like telling people how to live every aspect of their lives. I have an idea, if they hate guns so much, they should move to New York. Just so people understand I’m not a Republican or NRA, I just hate people telling me what to do when I’m not breaking any laws.

  8. Ken Prince Jr February 18, 2013 at 6:08 pm #

    Just to be clear, The Father, Mr Heslin, at the hearing in Hartford WAS NOT heckled. He repeatedly asked a question and was answered after it became obvious he wanted an answer. However the anti civil rights guy was heckled & thats very common when dealing with these liberal radicals. Instead of misleading readers this publication should be asking WHY not a single legislator showed at the pro gun rally, when they say that our calls & letters are dominating this movement. Its a shame really that so many elected officials will align themselves with a movement dedicated to violating American civil rights.

  9. Sam "BS" S April 25, 2013 at 9:31 am #

    http://www.ijreview.com/2013/01/30208-nbc-admits-no-assault-rifle-used-in-newtown-shooting/

    you should correct your story, no assault rifles were used. Unless you don’t care about veracity, which I can’t say would surprise me from reading these statistics and comments.

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