On Wednesday night, Tea Party Republican Caren Merrick pledged – kind of, sort of, with her fingers crossed behind her back, no doubt – to make her NRA questionnaire public prior to the November 8 election. Of course, Merrick conveniently didn’t say whether she’d release the questionnaire today, tomorrow, or more likely at 5:59 am on election day, when she can be sure that nobody will have a chance to know about her extreme answers. Of course, we DO know what was on that questionnaire, and we also know that to get an A- rating a candidate has to answer all, or nearly all, of these questions “correctly.” With that, here’s a press release I just received from Virginians for Responsible Gun Laws. I can guarantee you that Tea Party Republican Caren Merrick doesn’t want you to read it.
VIRGINIA CANDIDATE WITH A- RATING FROM NRA REFUSES TO DISCLOSE POSITION ON KEY GUN ISSUES
ARLINGTON, October 21, 2011-Caren Merrick (R) and Barbara Favola (D), candidates for state Senate in Virginia’s 31st District, faced questions about their positions on gun issues at a debate on Wednesday evening. Of the two candidates, Merrick was the only one to respond to the National Rifle Association (NRA) 2011 Virginia Candidate Questionnaire. Merrick was noncommittal when asked about releasing her NRA Questionnaire responses and has not provided a definitive response to follow up inquiries.
The debate was hosted by the Cherrydale (Arlington) Citizens Association. Omar Samaha-a resident of the 31st whose sister Reema was killed in the Virginia Tech massacre on April 16, 2007-asked Merrick how her A- rating from the NRA impacted her stance on the issue of whether there should be background checks for all gun sales in Virginia, including those at gun shows.
Merrick responded that “I do have an A- grade from the NRA I think because I do believe in gun safety and responsible gun ownership.” She then added, “We should have a background check. I think that we should have a background check. I think that that’s true and I think that we should follow laws and as people break the gun laws then they should face the consequences of that.” Favola told Samaha that she had an F grade from the NRA and was a strong supporter of universal background checks and other gun violence prevention policies, such as keeping guns out of recreation centers.
Here is a link with full coverage of the candidates’ responses.
Josh Horwitz, Executive Director of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence and also an Arlington resident, questioned Merrick about the wide range of positions a candidate generally needs to embrace in order to earn an A- grade from the NRA. These positions would include:
*Support for legislation that would eliminate Virginia’s Firearm Transaction Center, which conducts background checks on gun purchasers in the state and is widely thought to be more effective than the background check system operated by the FBI.
*Opposition to any legislation that would require background checks on private firearm sales at gun shows.
*Support for legislation that would get rid of the one-handgun-a-month law.
*Opposition to any legislation that would regulate the ownership and sale of .50 caliber firearms in Virginia. .50 caliber firearms are battlefield weapons typically used to take out armored targets at long distance.
*Support for legislation that would prevent Virginia’s pediatricians from talking with their patients about the risks of guns in the home and safe storage practices.
“I look forward to Ms. Merrick disclosing to the residents of the 31st District the information that she has already shared with the NRA so that voters can make a fully informed decision in this election,” said Omar Samaha.