Rights of people on both sides of issue should be respected
On June 6, Helen and I went up to Legislative Hall in support of SB 163, which would prohibit the sale and possession of military-style assault rifles.
The bill would not prohibit possession for those who already own assault rifles.
We arrived 15 minutes before the hearing was to begin, but Legislative Hall was already packed. No more seats remained in the downstairs Senate chamber. We went to the upstairs section, which was full except for one last seat in the front row. Three men sat in a section meant for four.
With Helen dressed in orange to signify support for the measure, we decided it was better if she took the seat. I left to sit outside the chamber. But a couple of minutes later she joined me.
She said she had asked the man if he could please move so she could sit down. "You can sit on my lap if you like," he replied, "but I don't think my wife would like that."
A real class act.
Helen asked again.
That would depend, he said, on whether you support the Second Amendment. Helen said she supported the Second Amendment but didn't think people needed assault rifles.
Not that this should have made any difference, of course. This was a public hearing. But here he was giving my 61-year-old wife the third degree before deciding if he would allow her to sit.
After a brief back-and-forth, he said he wasn't going to move.
I believed my wife, of course, but went in to ask the man if he had refused to move to allow my wife a seat.
Yes, he said, seeming pleased with himself.
I asked him his name. This appeared to nettle him. "I don't have to give you my name," he said.
"No, you don't," I agreed.
Outside the chambers, I found a Legislative Hall official and told him what happened.
He went in, came out and then went downstairs to get a Capitol Police officer to tell the man to move. Mind you, a police officer had to get involved to enforce both common courtesy and a basic right.
The weird upshot was that a man managed to sneak in before Helen to grab the last seat, but at least the seat was used.
Outside, I saw a pickup truck with a sticker that said, "Don't tread on my gun rights."
I assume the man who refused my wife a seat would agree with those sentiments. How sad that he didn't appreciate the hypocrisy of treading on the rights of others.