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Mass. Senate

Editor's note: Massachusetts voters go to the polls on Tuesday, June 25, to pick a new U.S. senator. As a service to our audience, we invited both candidates to present their best case for why they should be elected. Democratic candidate Edward Markey makes his case here. A link to his opponent's counterpoint can be found below. In this photo, Markey gestures during a campaign rally attended by President Barack Obama on Wednesday, June 12, 2013, in Boston. (Evan Vucci/AP)

On June 25th, voters will go to the polls to decide who will fill Secretary of State John Kerry’s vacant Senate seat. While it is a special election, the choice voters make is just like any other. It’s about more than picking a name on a ballot. It’s about who will best address the most pressing issues we face here in the Commonwealth and in our country — issues like reducing gun violence, protecting women’s rights, defending Social Security, and balancing our budget in a smart, effective way.

I believe keeping our streets, schools and communities safe should be our top priority. It’s been six months since our country endured the horrific shooting at Sandy Hook elementary school where 20 children and six educators died. Assault weapons are weapons of war, designed to cause maximum harm on the battlefield. It’s up to us to prevent them from harming our kids on the schoolyard.

I believe we need to ban assault weapons. We need to ban high magazine clips that allow shooters to fire dozens of rounds without pausing to reload. That’s the kind of legislation I will advocate for in the U.S. Senate.

When it comes to priorities and women’s rights, this week, the Republican-led House of Representatives showed us where they stand. They passed a bill to restrict the constitutionally protected rights ensured by the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision.

I think that’s the responsibility of anyone who goes to the United States Senate: to ensure that every child on every porch, in every city and town across Massachusetts and our country is able to achieve the American Dream.

Republicans have made it clear that they think women’s rights are still up for discussion. Thankfully, the Senate has been a firewall against extreme Republican legislation. I believe Massachusetts should send a senator to Washington to fortify that firewall. I will go to the Senate to protect women’s rights.

And on the issue of the budget, Social Security and other safety net programs are placed at the top of the Republicans’ chopping block. But people have contributed to Social Security throughout their entire lives. Social Security is not an entitlement. It is an earned benefit. In the Senate, I will fight to defend Social Security from cavalier cuts.

I know how important social safety-net programs are. My mother was the president of her high school class. But after her mother died, she had to sacrifice her dreams of going to college to take care of her younger siblings. Before the New Deal, that was America’s social safety net: One of the girls will have to stay home. Now, Republicans want to cut those safety nets that allow Americans to keep pursuing their dreams.

I believe budgets are about priorities. Before we make any more devastating cuts on the backs of working class families, on the sick, on the elderly, let’s talk about the entitlements that Republicans have championed. Let’s talk about the entitlements for Big Oil. Those companies get $40 billion in tax breaks, even as they tip us upside down at the gas pump every week. Let’s talk about the entitlements for new nuclear weapons programs. They want $100 billion for new nuclear weapons that we don’t need and we can’t afford. Let’s talk about the entitlements that big corporations get for overseas tax evasion. Let’s cut those entitlements before we let Republicans balance the budget on the backs of the poor, the sick and the elderly.

At the core, this election comes down to a choice of priorities. Will we finally get real gun control on the books? I will fight for a ban on assault weapons and high capacity magazine clips. Will we finally move past the debate over women’s access to reproductive health care and focus on advancing women’s health? I will defend a woman’s right to choose. Will we make sure seniors can enjoy a secure retirement? I will protect Social Security for this generation and the next.

That’s what I stand for. And I know just how lucky I am to be on the ballot to take that message to the U.S. Senate.

My father grew up on the first floor of a triple-decker on Philips Street in South Lawrence. My grandparents were immigrants from Ireland and they raised their five children there. A few years ago, I went back to that same triple-decker to see who lived there now. I rang the doorbell; the door opened and it was a Dominican-American family with their children. The accents were different, but the aspirations were clearly the same. They want for their children what the Markeys wanted for theirs.

I think that’s the responsibility of anyone who goes to the United States Senate: to ensure that every child on every porch, in every city and town across Massachusetts and our country is able to achieve the American Dream.

That’s what I’ll fight for as your U.S. senator and that’s why I respectfully ask for your vote on June 25.

Related:

Gabriel Gomez: Vote For Me Because I’m An Independent Thinker

Tags: Mass. Senate

The views and opinions expressed in this piece are solely those of the writer and do not in any way reflect the views of WBUR management or its employees.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

    markey supports a woman’s right to choose to abort a fetus (as do I) but he is against a woman’s right to choose how she would like to defend herself and any non aborted children she may have? what American dreams of losing her god given rights? what American dreams of being on the dole? his obsession with the gun control thing just reeks of bloombergs money. he dreams of an America where people must “pause to reload” more often. what a moron this guy is to think that matters in reality.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xRXXxQ1OuDc
    I hope he does not see this and want to ban six- shooters

  • Bob in Boston

    I could never vote for someone as extreme as Ed Markey on gun control. He’s obsessed with something that doesn’t even make sense in the real world. Assault weapons are used in something like .7% of all crimes, and yet that’s the lynch-pin in his campaign – that he’s going to ban assault weapons and high capacity magazines? How is preventing law-abiding citizens like me from having effective weapons going to help stop violence? No mention at all of the fact that we have a VIOLENCE problem, not a GUN problem. No mention at all that removing guns from law abiding citizens (which is all gun control laws do – look at Chicago) is going to HARM more people than help them, since at least 8x as many people protected by guns than harmed by guns. When you’ve got a candidate who is harping on one issue, but he obviously doesn’t actually understand that issue, you have to wonder what his motivation is. To understand that, just look for the money.

    BTW – almost all AR15s come with 30 round magazines from the factory, so a 30 round magazine is a “standard capacity” magazine, not a “high capacity magazine”. And why would I need one? Because if someone or more importantly multiple people are breaking into my house, and I call 911 and need to hold them off until the police arrive, why would you want ME to be the person who has to reload? I’m going to be the person with the phone in my hand talking to a dispatcher, and you want me to reload? There will always be the idiots who say “if you need more than 10 shots then you don’t know what you’re doing”, but if that’s actually true then maybe you could tell me why ALL police use 30 round magazines? Is it because they don’t know what they are doing, or is it because the last thing you want to do when you’re protecting yourself is to have to stop and reload? If you don’t shoot all 30, I can assure you they just stay in the magazine, they don’t hurt anyone!

    So yeah, there is no way I could ever vote for an extremist like Ed Markey – people like him who don’t understand the issues but parrot all the uninformed talking points are dangerous.

    • John

      Yes, we do have a violence problem. So, considering that, should we have easy access to guns? Violence + easy access to guns = the problem we are in.

      70% of homicides are committed with a firearm.
      14% with sharp objects.
      5% with blunt objetcts.

      But you think we don’t have a gun problem.

      • Bob in Boston

        Ed Markey’s not campaigning on restricting ALL guns, he’s focusing on Assault Weapons. You know, the weapons that are used in <1% of crimes.

        "Assault weapons and offenders In the 1991 BJS Survey of State Inmates, about 8% of the inmates reported that they had owned a military-type weapon, such as an Uzi, AK-47, AR-15, or M-16. Less than 1% said that they carried such a weapon when they committed the incident for which they were incarcerated. A Virginia inmate survey conducted between November 1992 and May 1993 found similar results:

        About 10% of the adult inmates reported that they had ever possessed an assault rifle, but none had carried it at the scene of a crime.

        Two studies indicate higher proportions of juvenile offenders reporting possession and use of assault rifles. The Virginia inmate survey also covered 192 juvenile offenders. About 20% reported that they had possessed an assault rifle and 1% said that they had carried it at the scene of a crime. In 1991, Sheley and Wright surveyed 835 serious juvenile offenders incarcerated in 6 facilities in 4 States. In the Sheley and Wright study, 35% of the juvenile inmates reported that they had owned a military-style automatic or semiautomatic rifle just prior to confinement."

        http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/fuo.pdf

        BJS, Survey of State Prison Inmates, 1991, NCJ-136949, March 1993

        As I'm sure you're aware John, Handguns are the predominate weapons used in crimes – so-called "Assault Weapons" are almost NEVER used except to DEFEND against crime. In fact, when the US Government sends out a request for proposal for buying these guns, they are described as "Personal Defense Weapons".

        https://www.fbo.gov/?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=d791b6aa0fd9d3d8833b2efa08300033&tab=core&_cview=0

        Isn't it odd that you and Ed Markey call them "Assault Weapons" but Law Enforcement Officers and I call them "Personal Defense Weapons"? And what's the difference between you and Ed Markey and myself and the police? I own one and know how they work, just like the police, so I'm not naive enough to buy into your forced rebranding of an inanimate object. Mine would only be used for personal defense and target shooting, so it's a Personal Defense Weapon, not an Assault Weapon. By the way, one of the requirements for the Personal Defense Weapons requested by the Department of Homeland Security? A 30 round magazine.

        3.21 Magazine.
        3.21.1 Magazines shall be compatible with standard NATO STANAG M16 design.
        3.21.2 The magazine shall have a capacity to hold thirty (30) 5.56x45mm NATO rounds.

        But wait, don't all you anti-gun experts claim you only need 7 or 10 rounds?

        • John

          As you can see in my post, I did not talk about assault weapons so I’m not sure why you respond with this. Read my post. I was responding to your comments about the US having a violence problem: “No mention at all of the fact that we have a VIOLENCE problem, not a GUN problem.”

          I’m glad you reference sources that make the point that handguns are the predominate weapon used in crimes. So how does that fit with your comment that we don’t have a gun problem?

          You’re saying gun control legislation should be focused on handguns instead of assault rifles? I completely agree!

          • PaulD

            People should vote for legislators that propose effective legislation. Legislation that bans AR15s won’t be effective (but would be highly questionable from a Constitutional perspective) and that’s what Markey is pushing for.

            As for having a violence problem, maybe we do but relative to what? The UK has more violent crime (worst in the EU) and their gun control legislation hasn’t improved their murder rate. So, where’s the proof that banning guns will work here? The gun control legislation that has passed at either the federal or state level hasn’t proven to have done anything.

          • John

            Background checks are gun control. And they prevent about 150,000 guns every year from going into criminal hands. It works, so why not expand on it since it clearly works, like with universal background checks?

            And no, the UK doesn’t have a higher crime rate. It’s an often cited incorrect fact. Their legal definition of violent crime is different than ours and they classify many more things as violent crime than we do. Almost every comparable country to the US has more gun control than we do and less gun deaths, gun crimes, lower murder rate, etc.. It doesn’t have to be about banning all guns, no one is suggesting that.

          • PaulD

            Regarding UK violent crime: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Violent_crime

            If you have any cites that say otherwise, post them.

            Regarding banning guns, plenty of people, including Diane Feinstein and numerous MA legislators *are* talking about banning as many guns as they can. Take a look at Rep. Linsky’s and Sen. Creem’s bils which ban the guns that are least likely to be used in a crime.

          • Bob in Boston

            I’ve seen Linsky in person at a hearing, and he’s a sneaky, dangerous man – he was misquoting statistics left and right to drive his agenda.

            On the positive side, the Democrats in Massachusetts actually have one representative (Paul Heroux) who is proposing very logical legislation that would work in Massachusetts.

          • PaulD

            Bob, you’re right. In fact, I’d go so far as to call him a blatant liar. In a live forum in Holliston, he stated that the US is the most violent country in the world (yes, worst than Mexico, Honduras, etc). We have some good legislators in MA, but people like Linsky are all too common.

          • John

            And did you read the part of the Heller vs DC ruling that said the 2nd amendment was not absolute and certain restrictions applied?

          • PaulD

            Yes. I’ve read the whole decision. You’ll also notice that it refers to the Miller and Cruikshank decisions and that neither preclude the Heller decision. It also refers to Miller’s holding about weapons “in common use at the time”. The AR15 is the epitome of common use right now. It’s fairly obvious that the restrictions Heller says are not precluded by the decision are carrying a gun in a school, or restrictions on who can conceal carry, or felons/mentally ill owning guns. It also says that the 2A is not a right to keep and carry *any weapons whatsoever in any manner*. Nobody is claiming they should be able to own and carry a nuke.

            What you’re obviously arguing is that the line in the sand on restrictions does not include “assault weapons” (a term manufactured by the Democratic party). Nothing in Heller says this and the language it uses is “this decision does not preclude restrictions” as opposed to “this decision explicitly protects restrictions”. This is typical of how the Supreme Court rules, very narrowly.

          • John

            I think you underestimate the amount of pro gunners who say the 2a means there can be no restrictions. Heck, the NRA just passed a resolution at their last big conference saying exactly that, that they oppose all new gun control laws.

            The Assault weapons term isn’t manufacturerd by gun control advocates. Look at this H&K advertisement from the 1980s.

            “In a survival situation, you want the most uncompromising weapon that money can buy. The HK 91 Semi-Automatic Assault Rifle from Heckler & Koch.”

            http://web.archive.org/web/19980202065557/http:/www.vpc.org/studies/thath&k.htm

            Gun manufacturers and dealers have been calling some of their semi automatic weapons assault rifles and assault style. That is why the media talks about “assault weapons”.

            Here’s another: Intratec, which made the infamous TEC assault pistols banned by name in the federal statute, advertised its line of semiautomatic pistols in magazines such as Soldier of Fortune, Combat Handguns, and S.W.A.T. this way in 1989: “At two-thirds the weight (and price) of an Uzi, the TEC-9 series clearly stands out among high capacity 9mm assault-type pistols.”

          • PaulD

            “Assault Rifle” not “assault weapon”. The former means a full automatic (machine gun) rifle chambered in an intermediate cartridge (smaller than the rounds used in WWII in guns like the M1 Garand). The M16 is an assault rifle. The AR15 is not. The latter term was coined by Josh Sugarman of the Violence Policy Center. It’s a great example of how language is used to demonize.

            This guy does a great job of illustrating this: http://youtu.be/q2riOiBaZrg

            As for the NRA, yes, they are opposing all new gun control laws. The key word there is new, meaning we already have enough and don’t need more (particularly in Massachusetts).

          • John

            Is a rifle not a weapon? And no, the former doesn’t mean that. Did you not see the H&K advertisement? They called their SEMI AUTOMATIC weapon an assault rifle. I would love to see your evidence that the VPC invented the term.

            So if we don’t need any more gun laws, what do you suggest we do to fix our gun problem? Keep in mind that 70% of homicides are committed with a firearm and that as a country, we have a gun death rate of 10.6 compared to Canada’s rate of 2.38 or Germany’s rate 1.24, to give some context. Also keep in mind that the top states for gun death rates and homicide rates are almost all red, pro gun states.

            State – Gun death rate

            Louisiana 18.1
            Wyoming 18.1
            Alabama 17.4
            Mississippi 16.8
            Arkansas 16.2
            Montana 16
            Nevada 15.5
            Tennessee 15.2
            Alaska 14.7

            And here are the top 10 states for homicide rate:

            Louisiana 9.6
            Maryland 7.3
            Missouri 7.0
            South Carolina 6.1
            Nevada 5.9
            New Mexico 5.7
            Michigan 5.6
            Mississippi 5.6
            Tennessee 5.6
            Arizona 5.5

          • PaulD

            HK is also famous for having incompetent marketing people. Tell me if you can see what’s wrong here: http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/41.jpg

            “Assault rifle” means what I said it meant: http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/39165/assault-rifle

            If you ask anyone with any historical knowledge of firearms, they will agree.

            I’m not surprised you’re conflating murder and suicide. If you stuck with murder, you’d see that Montana and Wyoming have very low murder rates. NH and VT are other good examples. They rank 48th and 49th for murders yet both have very few gun control laws, as compared to somewhere like MA.

            As for the Amidst the Noise video, if you find that to be awful, then there’s not a lot more to say here. His point is clear, concise and well stated.

          • John

            I don’t see anything wrong in the picture. What am I missing?

            I think we can agree that the definition is disputed. I can link Webster, you can link that. So your defense for H&K using that is their marketing team is incompetent? Great. Good luck proving that. How about IntraTec? Same thing? Can I start redefining words as well, and when I see an alternate definition, dismiss it as incompetence? Either way, nothing changes. If gun manufacturers use that term, that’s the term that gets picked up.

            I gave you the figures for murder and gun death rate. How can you say I’m confused? MA has a murder rate of 3.2, with all it’s gun control. Compare that to Louisiana with 3 times the murder rate and lax gun laws. And why are Wyoming and Montana special? Sure, you don’t like to admit that firearms are used in most of suicides. But when you take a public health approach to promote harm reduction, you look at ALL gun deaths.

            Are the top 10 states not all red pro gun states, outside of Maryland?

            I’m glad you like the video. I especially like the hyperbolic (and ridiculous) statement at the beginning talking about assault spatulas. Get it? It’s an assault spatula if I assault you with it! hurhurhurhur! Let’s you know right away which way he leans in the debate.

          • PaulD

            The HK ad was a test to check your knowledge of firearms. You don’t seem to have any as far as I can tell. The answer is the rounds are placed in the magazine backwards because the photographer didn’t know anything about guns either.

            As for public health, well, if you’re going to treat guns that way, it once again shows your knowledge on the topic. A gun can be used for good purposes. I don’t see that cigarettes can (except maybe as fertilizer). You are conflating the numbers by not breaking out murder and suicide and not noting the fact that the two are often inversely proportional. States like MO, ID, VT, NH and other rural states have high gun ownership, low murder rates and, yes, higher suicide rates. It’s just possible that the rural nature of the area is more important than the guns. At very least, masking the situation by putting the numbers in one bucket won’t help. Further, at some point suicide is the last basic human right a person has. It’s also misogynistic to concentrate on guns as a method of suicide since women don’t use them nearly as much as males for that purpose (check the rates in MA).

            Sure, Louisiana has little gun control. Vermont has even less. In fact Vermont has the least gun control of any state. They rank 49th in murders. I mentioned MO and WY as similar cases. So by your own logic, why is Louisiana special?

            Finally, on the video, he’s making a point in no different a way than the control crowd does by talking about “spraying bullets” like Feinstein does. You’re discounting the video by the first 10 seconds or so when the rest of it has a very good point, which you ignored.

          • John

            Oh no, the bullets are in backwards! I guess that everything they print is questionable now. Doesn’t change the fact that they labeled their guns that way. So did IntraTec, so did Steyr, etc… Maybe you can find pictures of them loading their bullets incorrectly as well?

            I’m not conflating the numbers. I labeled them clearly. Gun death rate = all causes. Did you need me to define what gun death rate means? I thought it was obvious. Then I posted the homicide rate separately. Did you need me to include a paragraph like this one to help you understand?

            I’m not saying guns are the only factor responsible in gun death rates. But they are obviously a huge contributing factor. One that people like you will deny. So suicide is a right and we shouldn’t try and help people when they are suicidal? If your friend or family member is suicidal, will you try and help in any way you can? So why not for others? We hospitalize hundreds of thousands of people every year for suicide attempts, only about 30 thousand are successful. More than half of those are from firearms. Many people live out the rest of their lives after an attempted suicide. Should we tell them to use a gun next time instead?

            Louisiana is special because it has lax gun laws and the highest murder rate by far, as well as the highest gun death rate. There are many factors that contribute to violence. You can say that Louisiana is more violent than Vermont, sure. What happens when you have violence + easy access to guns? That is the point I’m trying to make. Many factors contribute to why a person would want to commit a crime/violence. But one factor directly impacts the lethality involved, and that is the weapon choice and it’s availability, and guns are too easily accessible.

            I’ve watched all his videos. I’m not discounting based on the intro. I’m saying he starts off by making a ridiculous point in hopes of ridiculing the other side and that colors his argument right off the bat. And he has no point since gun manufacturers themselves use assault weapon/rifle terminology. So it kinda makes the whole video moot. Just like his video where his main argument was the violent crime rates in the UK and implying that gun control leads to that, even though he’s comparing two very different definitions of violent crime. Which, I hope you’ve looked up and verified.

          • Bob in Boston

            Hey, I was at that hearing too! In fact, when Linsky said we were the most violent country in the world, I was the one who got yelled at for saying “that’s not true!” without having the floor. :-)

          • PaulD

            Well done.

          • John

            And what does that link prove? It says nowhere that their violent crime is higher than ours.

          • PaulD

            Did you actually read it and/or follow the links? The British Crime Survey gives a number of 31/1000 reporting being a victim of violent crime in 2010/11. In the US, the BJS gives a number of 16.9/1000 in 2009 and states that violent crime has declined by 2/3 since 1994. That would make the UK’s rate nearly double ours.

            Both of these stats are from interviews.

          • John

            Like I said before, the definitions of violent crime are much broader in the UK. Look it up. So comparing the two does, not, work.

            How about instead of analyzing violent crime as a whole, since it’s parts are different from country to country, you look at the individual parts.

            Like, robbery, or aggravated assault. Compare those numbers and you might have more validity for your argument.

          • Bob in Boston

            Once again John, background checks don’t prevent criminals from getting guns, they prevent criminals from getting guns at gun dealers.

            The goal here is to keep guns out of the hands of criminals *period*, not control whether they get them from legal or illegal sources.

          • John

            Who says background checks prevent criminals from buying guns on the black market? No one says that Bob. So why do you make this point over and over? You can’t pass gun control laws to regulate the black market. Are you retarded? Why do you keep trying to argue this stupid point?

            So you don’t think it’s a good thing that 150k guns were prevented from being purchased by criminals? Yes or no.

          • Bob in Boston

            Since guns are used to protect people at least 8x as often as hurt people, any legislation that takes guns out of the hands of US citizens will result in more harm, but if Congress could come up with legislation that would actually take guns out of the hands of criminals WITHOUT making it harder for law abiding citizens to own guns, then I would be fine with it. Thing is – nothing that Congress has proposed so far would do that, including this latest “expanded background checks” bill.

            The biggest positive effect would be if we just started enforcing the laws that are already in place. The number of cases where criminals broke gun laws and were prosecuted for it is almost zero, and criminals who are in jail don’t shoot people.

          • John

            Hahahahahahhahahahahahaah.

            When someone goes to buy a gun, how do you know who is law abiding and who is a criminal?

            You constantly argue against background checks, by saying they don’t prevent people from buying guns on the black market (you’re an idiot btw), but then you say we should enforce the laws, like those against lying on the background check.

            Bob, how can you be so stupid that you always contradict yourself?

    • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

      I feel like if we did follow markeys money it would lead to Bloomberg. that’s the only other guy I know as obsessed with disarming commoners.

  • Thinkfreeer

    His attempt to make this an anti-Republican rant is working. Now that he has actually HAD to campaign for a few weeks, he actually HAS some positions (not that I would call then principles) other than “vote for anything Democrat.” Lets’s see”
    1. keeping our streets, schools, and communities safe
    2. womens’ rights
    3. protect the budget from cuts

    OK, it’s clear to me. I know who I’m voting against. I’m a man who wants the budget cut (because it’s my money, not his). And we already know that banning assault weapons does nothing for public safety.

    • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

      we also know that on the federal level abortion laws are not changing no matter which of these jokers win and that’s the only womens right that markey cares about. he clearly cares nothing for a womans right to choose how large a magazine she wants for her ar15. clearly many budgets need cutting can anyone not think of things the govt wastes money on? i’ll start:
      nascar sponsorships: 20 million

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