McGinty gets endorsement from Pennsylvania gun-safety group in Senate race

from the Delaware County Daily Times

by Marc Levy, the Associated Press

August 24, 2016

HARRISBURG, Pa. >> A prominent Pennsylvania group that advocates for tougher gun restrictions endorsed Democrat Katie McGinty for U.S. Senate on Tuesday, on the heels of Republican incumbent Pat Toomey winning endorsements from two national groups.

CeaseFire Pennsylvania said Tuesday that it believes McGinty will make gun-violence prevention “a cornerstone” of her work in Washington.

While Toomey crossed party lines and angered gun-rights proponents with a vote to broaden background checks, CeaseFire Pennsylvania was critical of several other Toomey positions on firearms. They included co-sponsoring legislation that would require Pennsylvania to recognize licenses and permits to carry a concealed firearm from every other state.

CeaseFire Pennsylvania also noted that McGinty supports restrictions on “military-style assault weapons” and high-capacity magazines. Toomey does not.

“We are appreciative of what Sen. Toomey did and we know it was significant, but we think we need more from the person who will be our second senator and we think this is a priority issue for Pennsylvanians,” said Shira Goodman, CeaseFire Pennsylvania’s executive director. “And we want someone who will be committed and consistent in seeing this issue through to get policies that will make us safer.”

Polls show McGinty and Toomey in a neck-and-neck race that could help determine control of the U.S. Senate next year. Gun control is already the subject of two TV ads running in Pennsylvania’s U.S. Senate race, and it has emerged as a prominent issue in the campaign. 

In an interview, McGinty criticized Toomey’s vote on background checks as “a political calculation for a senator under re-election pressure.” Toomey’s campaign responded in a statement saying that the organizations that are “serious about achieving bipartisan results” are supporting Toomey.

Both say they would sponsor legislation to advance gun safety.

In 2013, Toomey voted to expand background checks on sales at gun shows and online, and again in 2015. The bill emerged as a response to the shooting rampage at Connecticut’s Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012, but it ultimately failed amid Republican opposition.

Still, his vote helped draw endorsements from anti-gun violence groups led by former Democratic congresswoman Gabby Giffords and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Toomey was endorsed by the National Rifle Association in his 2010 campaign. 

CeaseFire Pennsylvania also pointed to Toomey’s recent votes on legislation to prevent a suspected terrorist from buying a firearm. He opposed a Democratic proposal because, he has said, it would have created unconstitutional barriers for someone who is mistakenly put on a terrorist watch list.

Rather, Toomey supported a Republican measure to block such purchases, legislation that Democrats defeated and criticized as being ineffective. GOP leaders did not allow a vote on a proposed compromise bill Toomey drafted in June, and he sided with Democrats on another proposed compromise sponsored by Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine.

The NRA opposed Collins’ bill, and Republicans defeated it.

Read more here.