Gun control: Senator Morgan Carroll on disruption at Aurora town hall
Still, Carroll says she felt more "disrespected" than directly threatened. She stresses that the majority of people in attendance were cordial and respectful. But a "loud screamer" was an exception to this rule, "going into personal attacks randomly all over the place" after the meeting had adjourned. Carroll attributed the attendees' mistaken assumption about the theme of the town hall meeting to a radio ad released by the Rocky Mountain Gun Owner's association, which calls itself "Colorado's only no-compromise gun rights group."
"What had happened was some people from the Rocky Mountain Gun Owners paid for an ad saying it was a gun town hall, and it wasn't," she says. "At least a third of the people there were there in response to the radio ad."
From the Rocky Mountain Gun Owners Facebook page.
Francis agrees that a few audience members vocally expressed a desire to ask questions and receive answers about some of the proposed gun control legislation, and cards on which audience members could write questions for the panel to answer had been distributed. However, she maintains that gun questions were shuffled to the bottom of the pile.
"A lot of them have come to the conclusion that phone calls and e-mails aren't enough," she says of attendees who wanted to talk about gun control. "Everyone seemed to be really enjoying the situation and submitting questions until you realized none of the questions are going to be asked."
Carroll believes that intimidation tactics are a strategy being employed by pro-gun advocacy groups and organizations, calling it their "strategy." Other members of the Democratic caucus are considering having security present at their respective town hall meetings in light of the events at the Aurora meeting and the threats against Fields -- who was supposed to be in attendance at the February 21 meeting, but chose not to out of safety concerns.
Whether these incidents are connected or part of an orchestrated strategy is speculative. But as the debate over gun control escalates at frightening speed, advocates from both sides seem to be seeing the chasm widen, rather than taking steps toward mutual understanding or a middle ground.
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