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May 15, 2011 - 4:35pm

Candidates' questions: Personal liberties

posted by Howard B. Owens in Jack Davis, NY-26, Jane Corwin, kathy hochul, Ian Murphy.

We now have answers from all four candidates in the NY-26 to our questions on personal liberties, with Jack Davis being the last to respond (answers had been due on Friday).

We posted the questions Friday, so won't repeat them here, except in context of the answers. The answers are after the jump in the order received.

Ian Murphy

What is your position on the 2nd Amendment – what controls, if any, should be placed on the right of a private citizen to own guns?

The right to bear arms is guaranteed by the Constitution. We're really good at killing each other with guns, and I'd hate to see that American tradition come to an end, but it's probably a good idea to outlaw automatics, semi-automatics, RPGs, Scud missiles and nuclear arms. Anything beyond personal protection and hunting is not necessary, nor should we allow crazies, murderers, people convicted of gun violence, etc. to continue to carry guns.

In February, the House voted to extend the Patriot Act. If you had represented the NY-26 at that time, how would you have voted?

I would have voted against the Patriot Act. It's an idiotic piece of legislation pushed through in the fearful wake of 9/11, which violates the Fourth Amendment on many levels, doesn't keep us safe, and hands an ideological victory to the enemies of freedom.

Should marijuana be decriminalized at the Federal level?

Yes. Incoherent puritanism aside, there's no reason Joe Sixpack shouldn't be able to smoke a joint in his own home. Tax it like we do booze and cigarettes, which kill about a half million people each year combined.

What is your position on the controversy surrounding TSA scanners and enhanced pat downs?

Well, that's a  complicated situation. It's real easy to get bent out of shape about some dude touching your “junk,” but some very credible reporters have claimed that the whole “Opt Out” movement was a carefully orchestrated PR campaign aimed at demonizing the TSA, which has been involved in a decade-long struggle to gain the same collective bargaining rights enjoyed by employees of all other federal agencies. And lo they have been demonized.

Astroturf aside, I have no problem with being scanned. And if you do “opt out” prepare to be frisked. I don't feel like I'm giving up any rights in this case, and I'd like to know that everyone on that plane was checked for explosives and other weapons too.

There's a  very big difference between something like this and something like the warrentless wiretapping in the Patriot Act. Our Constitution provides us protection against unwarranted search and seizure. It doesn't, however, give us the right to enter a potential flying bomb with weapons. To me, this seems by definition warranted.

Massachusetts Representative Barney Frank is trying to push through legislation to make playing online poker legal and to legalize online poker sites within the United States. Will you support such legislation?

If rampant speculation and grift is legal on Wall Street, why not on my lap top? But Frank being in Wall Street's pocket is not the issue at hand. According to the Safe and Secure Internet Gambling Initiative, Americans spend $100 billion annually gambling online with offshore providers, which don't answer to U.S. regulators. It's better to make it legal, regulate it and tax it, because like most vices, people will do it anyway. 

Kathy Hochul

What is your position on the 2nd Amendment – what controls, if any, should be placed on the right of a private citizen to own guns?

My record on gun issues is clear.  I am a strong advocate of the 2nd Amendment and the right of law-abiding citizens to own guns.  As Erie County Clerk, I streamlined the pistol permit process, allowing Erie County residents to more easily navigate the bureaucracy of purchasing a firearm.

In February, the House voted to extend the Patriot Act. If you had represented the NY-26 at that time, how would you have voted?

As a Member of Congress, I would have voted to extend the expiring provisions. While we must continue to ensure that we are protecting basic civil liberties, we must also continue to take a proactive approach in our fight against terrorism both here and abroad. 

Should marijuana be decriminalized at the Federal level?

I oppose the legalization of marijuana.

What is your position on the controversy surrounding TSA scanners and enhanced pat downs?

I understand the importance of airport safety and support the use of full-body scanners. However, we must take every step necessary to ensure that we are balancing the privacy of airline passengers with airport security.  That is why I support efforts to make it illegal to distribute or record images produced by TSA scanners.

Massachusetts Representative Barney Frank is trying to push through legislation to make playing online poker legal and to legalize online poker sites within the United States. Will you support such legislation?

As a Member of Congress, I would support legislation that implements strict regulations on online gambling to protect consumers and prevents underage gambling. 

Jane Corwin:

What is your position on the 2nd Amendment – what controls, if any, should be placed on the right of a private citizen to own guns? 

I am a strong supporter of the Second Amendment and am the only NRA-endorsed candidate in the race. I am a member of the NRA and SCOPE.

In February, the House voted to extend the Patriot Act. If you had represented the NY-26 at that time, how would you have voted? 

I would have voted to extend the Patriot Act because I believe it affords our intelligence community necessary tools to keep our country safe. However, I believe that Congress must constantly review the Act to ensure that the components in the legislation are still needed and effective and do not infringe on individual freedoms.

Should marijuana be decriminalized at the Federal level?

No.  

What is your position on the controversy surrounding TSA scanners and enhanced pat downs?

The TSA has a mission of keeping our airlines safe, however it seems clear – at least from some of the reports I’ve seen – that in some cases they have gone too far with their pat down policy.

Massachusetts Representative Barney Frank is trying to push through legislation to make playing online poker legal and to legalize online poker sites within the United States. Will you support such legislation?

It would depend on what specifically the legislation that would be voted on would say, and it hasn’t been finalized yet. Generally speaking, I believe that if an individual would like to play poker online they should be able to, so long as they abide by gambling regulations already in place.

Jack Davis

What is your position on the 2nd Amendment – what controls, if any, should be placed on the right of a private citizen to own guns?

I am a life member of the NRA and support the Second Amendment which gives individuals the right to keep and bear arms. It says this right “shall not be infringed”, and I agree. "Shall not be infringed" means don’t mess with my stuff. 

In February, the House voted to extend the Patriot Act.  If you had represented the NY-26 at that time, how would you have voted?

We saw a great uprising of principled conservatives opposing the Patriot Act’s abrogation of the rights the founders wrote into the constitution and the bill of rights. I would have joined them. We must protect our civil liberties as well our economic liberties.

Should marijuana be decriminalized at the Federal level?

This can be regulated at the state level.  

What is your position on the controversy surrounding TSA scanners and enhanced pat downs?

We need to start concentrating our resources on real potential threats and not squander them hassling average citizens.

Massachusetts Representative Barney Frank is trying to push through legislation to make playing online poker legal and to legalize online poker sites within the United States.  Will you support such legislation?

Yes, the Commerce Clause was designed to allow Congress to create a free market within the fifty states.

Jeremiah Pedro
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Joined: Feb 17 2010 - 9:27am
@ Ian, Question for you with regard to your second amendment answer. You do realize that convicted felons (i.e. " murderers, people convicted of gun violence") are already prohibited from owning firearms. However, that does not stop a lot of those people from going out and obtaining firearms illegally does it? I'm also curious what your thoughts are on the idea that the second amendment was meant to protect the ordinary citizens from the Government. Kind of hard to do with a single shot or bolt action rifle or pistol huh?

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