A councilman at the City of Poughkeepsie Common Council lost his cool and verbally attacked attendees who disagreed with a proposed bill that would mandate gun owners to keep their firearms locked up.
Councilman Joe Rich (D-2nd Ward) started off rather reasonably, simply expressing his disagreement with members of the Dutchess County chapter of the Shooter Committee On Political Education (SCOPE). But his calm demeanor quickly devolved into a one-sided shouting match.
SCOPE First Chair Jacqueline Emslie, a resident of Poughkeepsie, gave a presentation explaining why they thought the proposed legislation was a bad idea. Rich’s response? Yelling at Emslie, telling her to go back to her own city, which was Poughkeepsie, the same city the ordnance was being proposed for.
Rich continued his diatribe for some time, hurling insults and claiming unfounded facts like only rich people lock up their guns.
Rich ended up apologizing for losing his temper after the fact, blaming his outburst on SCOPE’s “abusive” shirts and terrifying intimidation tactics, i.e. citing the Constitution.
“I didn’t mean to lose my temper, but felt it was abusive for them to come there in large numbers, wearing their shirts,” said Rich. “They were accusing us of taking their Second Amendment rights. I got upset, so I stood up – I don’t have to be intimidated by outside organizations like that.”
Emslie took the incident in stride, later commenting that her and SCOPE’s goal was simply to present their information to the council so they could make an intelligent decision.
“We came to give information and present to the council, so they can make an informed decision if it does come up for a vote,” said Emslie. “My whole goal was to give the council a resident gun owners’ perspective. This will have a negative effect on gun owners.”
(Freelance writer Brent Rogers submitted this article)