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Murphy Runs Afoul of Second Amendment Supporters in Manchester

U.S. Senator Chris Murphy's visit to Manchester recently resulted in a call to the police department.

When U.S. Senator Chris Murphy appeared at a "town hall meeting" in Manchester on Sunday, things became so heated that police had to be called to the scene, although no arrests were made and the senator still stayed late to answer questions and speak with constituents. 

Murphy, a Democrat and former Congressman who represented the 5th Congressional District, had scheduled the event "to discuss federal policy and hear ideas about how he can best represent the people of Connecticut in Washington," according to a press release from his office prior to the event. It was the second of five such events that Murphy plans to hold throughout Connecticut in the coming weeks, one in each of the state's five congressional districts; an earlier event took place in Hamden. 

But at several points during the event, which was held at MCC on Main, Murphy was interrupted by members of the audience who kept trying to steer the dialogue back to the Second Amendment and the senator's views on gun control. Things became so unruly during the event, that Manchester Mayor Leo V. Diana had to intercede on Murphy's behalf and ask the crowd to remain quiet and orderly as Murphy was trying to discuss other issues and answer constituents questions. 

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Several videos posted to YouTube (and attached to this article) show Murphy continually being interrupted by members of the audience, and the event eventually deteriorating into a shouting match in the crowd. 

"They were totally disrupting the meeting," said Diana, a Democrat. "At one point, it just got into this shouting match."

At that point, Diana said he interjected and asked people to quiet down and be respectful, and asked Deputy Mayor Jay Moran to call the Manchester Police Department. 

"It didn't get to that point, but it did seem like it was going to get out of hand," Diana said.

But William Boylan, who attended the event and blogged about it on Patch, said he and other members of the audience felt as though their views were not being taken into consideration or respected by Murphy, and that the event seemed more like a "lecture" from the senator than a town hall meeting. 

"My idea of a town hall meeting is people standing up, looking the senator in the eye, asking their questions and getting a straight answer back while being looked in the eye, along with input, interjection from others in attendance, and follow up," Boylon wrote. 

During the event, questions were solicited through written notes and could pertain to any topic, and Murphy's staff selected the questions he would answer; questions could also be submitted via Twitter prior to the event. 

"There were some who came out on Sunday with the express purpose of disrupting a public town hall meeting, and they did," said Ben Marter, a spokesman for the senator. "It was disappointing, because as a result other people didn't have a chance for their voices to be heard." 

When asked if Murphy's office was thinking of changing the format or style of its town hall meetings in the future, Marter replied "absolutely not." 

"That's a town hall format," he told Patch. "Chris believes very strongly in getting out and engaging in a  conversation to make sure that people's voices are heard." 

Manchester Police Chief Marc Montminy, who can be seen in the background of one of the YouTube clips in civilian clothes, said police received reports of "rowdiness" and "raucous" behavior at the event, so a uniformed officer was dispatched. Montminy also showed up to "observe," he said.

"We wanted to make sure things didn't get out of hand," Montminy said. 

When the subject of gun control and the Second Amendment came up during the discussion, Murphy acknowledged that people have different interpretations of the Constitution but that, in the wake of the Newtown shootings, it was "time for this country to have a serious, comprehensive conversation on gun violence." 

Murphy said he favored banning "military-style assault weapons" and high capacity magazines. 

Afterwards, Murphy stayed later than the scheduled time to speak with the audience and answer additional questions. A YouTube clip again shows the senator being assailed by multiple questions and comments at the same time, until he eventually leaves.

Montminy said that no arrests were made and no one was denied the opportunity to speak at the event.  

Jerry O'Connor February 28, 2013 at 02:07 AM
Although we had a wake to attend and I had a performance gig later that afternoon, my wife and I considered attending the Senator's meeting as we almost always do when our Federal representatives afford us this opportunity at a nearby location. We find these sessions informative and, while we don't always agree with the viewpoints expressed by our elected reps, we do come away with a better understanding of complex issues and a confirmed belief that they are, without exception, dedicated public servants. But I told my wife Sunday morning that the timing of this event was unfortunate, and that I feared that the "gun nuts" (the words I used and I will stand by them) would show up en masse and try to shout everyone down, so perhaps we should skip it. Sad to say, a review of the attached videos and comments from attendees who I respect have confirmed my assessment. Before any of the NRA-brainwashed start hurling insults (to which I will not respond) let me mention that I am a Vietnam veteran and a firm believer in the right to bear arms. However I do not believe that the 2nd Amendment supersedes the rest of the U.S. Constitution nor that it mandates that the rights it guarantees must be unlimited and unregulated any more than the 1st Amendment protects someone who falsely screams "Fire!" in a crowded theater. Many of us have strong beliefs on various political issues. But that doesn't justify boorish behavior.
Scott Aiken February 28, 2013 at 01:14 PM
Hear, hear!
Spiff February 28, 2013 at 04:27 PM
I'm absolutely embarrassed to have this little clueless boy as one of our Senators. Is this really the best that CT can come up with? Apparently! Either Rob Simmons or Christopher Shays would have been so much better.
Scott Aiken February 28, 2013 at 06:54 PM
Both Rob Simmons and Christopher Shays, classic Yankee Republicans, would have been a great choices. Unfortunately, the schizophrenic and polarized Republican party decided that Linda McMahon was their candidate both in 2010 and 2012. Want to find out why Yankee Republicans are almost extinct? Start here: 1.) http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2012-03-01/opinions/35450357_1_senate-common-ground-olympia-snowe 2.) http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2012/08/15/connecticut-and-the-pitiful-death-knell-of-the-gop-moderate/ 3.) http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/08/13/chris-shays-last-stand-the-gop-passes-on-a-connecticut-moderate.html 4.) http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/27/world/americas/27iht-gop.3681309.html?pagewanted=all
kathi sanborn February 28, 2013 at 08:51 PM
I wholeheartedly agree with Jerry O'Connor. The people that were monopolizing the conversation were trying to push their own agenda without regard to everyone else that was there. If they would only get off their pulpit long enough to listen and realize that the lawmakers are not trying to take away their 2nd amendment right. What I hear the senator saying is that there needs to be stricter requirements to buy firearms. Along with rights comes responsibility.
Tony M February 28, 2013 at 09:45 PM
If people would take a deep breath, step back and realize the time the second amendment was put into our bill of rights was a time of revolution when our forefathers were at war with England The weapons used during this time were muzzle loaded single shot long rifles. They did not have multi-rounds modern military assault weapons. NO ONE WANTS TO TAKE YOUR TOYS AWAY; all we ask is A COMPLETE BACKGROUND CHECK FOR ANYONE WANTING TO BUY ANY TYPE OF GUN. True most deaths by guns are by hand guns you certainly don't want your child, relative or someone else's child killed by someone who is mentally ill. Go look in your mirror and ask yourself, "would I really want that to happen"?
Sam H February 28, 2013 at 10:01 PM
Whatever happened to reasonable political discourse? If you have to shout and act impolite in order to attempt to justify your position, rather than using facts and reason, then your might want to reevaluate your position.
Jon Crickmore March 01, 2013 at 11:06 AM
I disagree with almost everything Mr Murphy stands for BUT i will give him credit he was pretty professional when being questioned by the "Gun nuts" (The word Jerry uses and stands by) After watching the videos it pretty clear that there was 2 people who interrupted Mr Murphy. It was so scary and rude he decided to stay after the meeting to speak directly with gun advocates. If you actually watched the video you will see Mr Murphy was doing just fine until the Manchester watch dogs took the microphone from him so they could beat their chests and say they would call the police lol. With that being said why don't you guys google town hall meetings and compare them to this one. I would love to see how many of you followers would shout if the meeting would have been about things that are hurting this country (1 Million spent on a turtle tunnel etc) @ Tony: If it was only background checks they wanted then know one would be discussing this. If you watch the video Mr Murphy clearly says they want to ban military style weapons. 2ndly a family member of mine was killed by a crazed mental case with a gun. The gun didn't kill this innocent child the justice system did. She was murdered by a twice convicted rapist let of out prison to rape again and this time he stepped it up and added murder. He was not allowed to have a gun and didn't get this gun at a show or a gun store. Do any of you get it ? Criminals don't follow laws that's why we call them criminals
Jon Crickmore March 01, 2013 at 11:25 AM
CONTINUED: You are also very very wrong about guns. It's already illegal to own a military weapon. An AR-15 is NOT a military weapon and it's also NOT an assault rifle. AR means Armalite not assault weapon. They want to ban military STYLE weapons. Do you know what that means Tony ? It means weapons that LOOK like a military weapon. When was the last time style killed anyone? Now onto the 2nd amendment comment. Your right about the muzzle loader weapons being the gun of the times. It was the weapon both civilians and the government used. Now the government uses much more high tech weapons and the public needs to have a weapon other then muskets to protect against a tyrannical government. No i don't think the government is going to start killing citizens BUT that's part of the reason for the 2nd amendment. According to your comments it's hand guns and mental cases doing the most killing. So why are we not talking about those facts instead of weapons of style? @Sam if it's facts you seek then look up Chicago and see that gun laws don't stop crime they only hurt law abiding citizens. This is a fact that is not discussed by anyone. How come PATCH does not print articles comparing apples to apples ? Lets talk facts. Put the facts out there and lets see where we end up. It's already clear most people have no idea what guns are what and what laws are already on the books but not being enforced.
tina bourke March 01, 2013 at 02:35 PM
^I actually was there and it was more then only two shout outs. I have friends from your native country, which you disclosed in an earlier article, and I have learned a lot about the rapes occurring at this time from taking an interest in your culture. Again, I am sorry about your family member! It was animated and disorderly and there is no minimizing as this cause would have you so desperately try to believe. Jon I'm not sure why you brought David into it as he is only giving us a channel to discuss it and the town hall meeting was for everyone's interests, not just their cause of the second amendment. The posts on the other article regarding this topic clearly stated they deliberately wanted to draw the discussion to their own agenda the "second amendment" but then go on to justify, villify anyone pointing out their action in doing this. There is no arguing at this point that is/was clearly their goal and it is written in their stated posts. In addition a disregard to monopolizing the event and any challenge to their behavior is met with justifications and character assassination as well as right back to, guess what, the second amendment. Hey I was a rebel and I would be the first one to call out the police if I saw something wrong but in this case, I was glad they were there. No one got arrested and he did not stand like an intimidating military guard but rather gently against the wall very un-intimidating.
tina bourke March 01, 2013 at 02:36 PM
P.S., Apathy has the largest statistics on gun violence, not the mentally ill.
Jon Crickmore March 01, 2013 at 03:02 PM
Tina my native country is the United States. My wife is from the Philippines. Not that any of that has to do with this just pointing it out. There are many outspoken rude people who advocate for guns. Just like many ignorant rude people against guns. My comment was about journalism as a whole and not David. If people wanted a Chanel for discussion it would not be a one sided conversation. Where was the article on the peaceful gathering at the capital where are the articles about the woman and children saved by guns ? There are none because tragedy is good for business. I only bring up my family member so folks will know. I Have lived both sides and don't blame an object for violence. Why are there not articles about the guns laws we already have that are not enforced. There is many other parts to the equation besides guns yet that is talked about very little. The death of my family member is a prime example. The murders of the family in Cromwell is another. Where s the outrage against elected officials who allow these scum bags out of prison Where are the articles ? Whats wrong the media afraid to ask the tough questions ? It takes many separate actions to occur before the trigger is pulled. I guess it's easier to blame the guns and pass more laws that are already proven to do nothing to reduce crime.
tina bourke March 01, 2013 at 03:29 PM
Oh journalism and journalist being objective and societal issues? Yea I thought about that too and I imagine it would be hard at times to be objective and wonder too who/what would be the influence for it not to be and their own agenda for the influence. For example running for office is one example etc. Depending on what side of the issues you stand and/or your in-depth knowledge or lack of and how influence, sales can be a factor. I think I got ya? As far as this particular article, I was there and had a first hand account. Although I don't have a halo on my head. Having said that, having so many people in a small room and escalating and then disclosing via their posts they were packing guns and innuendo as if we were supposed to know they were nice people... They may be the nicest people on earth but they were disorderly. They question the senator's and mayor's style but refuse to take any feedback on their own. I won't justify my first hand account to anyone as I was there. Had I not been, I would of only been responding to a report and someone's justification of their cause, he, he. So I get the journalist part I think you are talking about? And then that goes into politics in a whole and how perhaps this is an opportunity for the "other" party to circle like vulgers, he, he and use the media for their cause, he, he? Anyway, I think with Patch I read you can pose any article of interest??? There is a lot of information on your interests out there.

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