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Congressional Candidates Discuss Gun Control

To help readers make a choice in the congressional election on Tuesday, Patch asked the candidates where they stand on gun ownership and gun control.

Candidates are Democratic candidate Katherine Clark, a state senator who lives in Melrose, Republican candidate Frank Addivinola , a Boston lawyer and Independent candidate, James Hall, an attorney from Arlington.
Candidates are Democratic candidate Katherine Clark, a state senator who lives in Melrose, Republican candidate Frank Addivinola , a Boston lawyer and Independent candidate, James Hall, an attorney from Arlington.
Posted by Susan Petroni 

Next Tuesday, Dec. 10 voters in the 5th Congressional District will decide which individual will be the district's newest U.S. Representative. The person will replace former representative Sen. Ed Markey.

Patch asked each of the candidates a series of questions. The answers to those questions will be published now through Sunday, Dec. 8. 

Candidates who responded to the questions were Democrat Katherine Clark, a state senator who lives in Melrose, Republican Frank Addivinola, a Boston lawyer and Independent James Hall, an attorney from Arlington.

Today's report focuses on gun control.

In January 2013, President Obama presented his plan to prevent gun violence in the U.S. It includes:
  • improving the background check system 
  • banning assault weapons and large capacity magazines of ammunition
  • creating and enforcing stricter trafficking laws 
There is an estimated 310 million non-military firearms in the United States.

A survey after the Tuscon, AZ. shooting, had 49 percent of Americans in favor of protecting the right for individuals to own guns, while 46% say it is more important to control gun ownership. 

The nation continues to be split on the issue since. 

Patch asked: "Where do you stand on gun control?"

Addivinola: "When it comes to mass murders committed by mentally unstable individuals, we need to address the ways of improving our mental health and social services. The necessity to provide important - and often neglected - services to people with psychological special needs has to be addressed at all levels within society and should not be reserved to a discussion around guns.  As a society, we must address issues of violence and mass murders. However, statistic show that most gun crimes are committed by illegally sold and owned guns. Historical data proves that when legal gun ownership numbers go up, crime rates go down. We need to focus our policy and enforcement efforts on reducing illegal gun trafficking – not curtailing rights of legal gun owners and limiting their ability to protect their families and property from criminals. I fully support the 2nd Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and will defend Americans' right to bear arms."

Clark: "It’s outrageous that even the most commonsense gun safety measure – universal background checks – is held hostage by the NRA’s influence in Washington. But I’m not willing to accept that this is they way things have to be. When I worked in Colorado, the NRA tried to make it legal to carry a concealed weapon without approval from local police, and a 'Make My Day' law was proposed that was much like the controversial Stand Your Ground laws. I helped put together a coalition of law enforcement, district attorneys, victims of gun violence and others to successfully defeat the NRA. It’s time to do the same in Congress. The first step is background checks, including closing the gun show loophole. Then we must reinstate the assault weapons ban, ban high-capacity magazine clips and mandate gun safety technology."

Hall: "I am certainly in favor of reasonable regulations on guns, which could include such measures as: universal background checks for purchasers of firearms, ending the gun show exception, waiting periods for taking possession of a purchased firearm, gun permits and registration, banning assault weapons, safety classes for first-time gun owners and prohibiting convicted felons and minors from owning a firearm. In talking with gun owners in our district, I have found many who are not only not opposed to, but in favor of some reasonable gun regulations."

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