Skip to comments.Fairbanks Assembly campaign ad reignites debate about guns at public meetings(AK)
Posted on 09/21/2011 10:06:09 AM PDT by marktwain
FAIRBANKS While most advertisements from candidates in the Oct. 4 local election promote their own positions, Van Lawrence has gone on the attack in the race against incumbent Michael Dukes.
The ad, which ran in the News-Miner on Sept. 11, called out Dukes for carrying a gun to public meetings and community barbecues, among other points.
Lawrence, a local attorney, said he ran the ad, titled 4 Reasons Why You Should Vote For Me, as a way of pointing out what he felt are key differences between himself and Dukes. The other points included Im not an anti-government zealot, I am a sensible and positive problem-solver and I am not Michael Dukes.
Im most troubled by him taking (a gun) to the assembly. I think that is entirely inappropriate, he said. Just because its in his right to carry a gun to the assembly meetings doesnt make it right. I think it sends the message of intimidation.
Dukes, a local radio personality who often talks about firearms on his show, said carrying a gun is only a small part of who he is and that he doesnt feel its irresponsible.
Its no secret to carry a gun, its every Alaskans right, he said. Its not like I walk around with a big shiny arrow pointing to my hip with a big chrome pistol. Its a responsibility that Ive chosen to exert for the last 25 or 30 years.
Lawrence said his concern is not just about the gun Dukes carries. He pointed to T-shirts and mugs that Dukes sold through his blog before he was elected to the assembly in 2010. The merchandise carried a picture of a rifle and the words When all else fails ... vote from the rooftops.
Lawrence likened the message to controversial statements made by Sharron Angle, a Nevada Republican who made a failed bid for the U.S. Senate in 2010. Angle was criticized for what she called Second Amendment remedies to problems in government.
I think it sends a horrible message, Lawrence said. It implies that if a person doesnt get what he wants out of the ballot box, he should resort to firearms to get his way.
Dukes said the image, which dates back to 2008, was a satire and was never meant to be taken seriously by his listeners.
Dukes disagreed with being called an anti-government zealot. Pointing to work on the wood stove change-out program and his vote to create a bus line on Van Horn Road, he said hes a small-government advocate not an anti-government zealot.
I kind of had to chuckle when I saw the ad, because obviously he doesnt know who I am, thats the bottom line, Dukes said. Anyone who has sat down and talked to me more than five minutes knows thats not who I am.
But there was one point Dukes agreed with.
As far as him not being Michael Dukes, hes right, hes not Michael Dukes, Dukes said.
So what’s this Lawrence guy running as?