Members of a pro-gun Long Island web forum have been bombarding state Assemblyman Dan Losquadro’s Facebook page with comments critical of his vote in favor of stricter gun control measures in New York State.
They’re also complaining that their comments are getting deleted.
And at least one member has started a Facebook page called ”Dan Losquadro is Dishonest,” calling on people to protest the second-term assemblyman’s campaign events as he runs for Brookhaven Town highway superintendent.
“Dan has told everyone he is an avid shooter, supporter of the Second Amendment, and is against the rifle ban that was recently passed in New York and then only hours later he voted for it,” the “Dan Losquadro is Dishonest” page states.
The 6,000-member Long Island Firearms website reports comments members posted on the Brookhaven Town Republican Committee Facebook page have also been removed.
“What would we expect?” one poster wrote. “They don’t support the 2nd Amendement, why would they support the 1st?”
“Nothing worse than a politician who isn’t man enough to face the music for a vote he cast,” another stated.
Mr. Losquadro, a Republican from Shoreham and self-described pro-Second Amendment advocate, says he voted for the Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement (SAFE) Act because there were sections the Republicans were able to negotiate into it which he feels will have more of an effect on gun crime that gun restrictions.
These include requirements that mental health care providers report threats made by patients, increased penalties for gun offenses, a section making gun ownership records no longer public, and measures streamlining the steps needed to get mental health care for people who need it.
He says he’s been taking phone calls about his vote and is happy to explain his position to anyone who calls.
As for the Facebook comments, he said “it’s a political page and I actually don’t manage that page.”
“I think, ultimately, there were comments that were inappropriate, there were comments that had nothing to do with the post they were attached to, and I think, ultimately, it was decided that instead of getting into a back and forth with individuals, the page was taken down for a period of time,” he said.
He said the people he’s spoken to about his vote have come to understand the process that went into it.
“The way this process was forced on the legislature by the governor, there were a lot of things negotiated into the bill by the Republicans that the Democrats did not want to give up,” he said. “Voting against those things we tried so hard to get in this bill that would have had a real effect on public safety, wasn’t something I wanted to do.”
“I have tried to call everybody back and speak about it,” Mr. Losquadro said.
Mr. Losquadro says there are things in the bill he disagrees with, such as the seven-round limit on magazine size, but he believes the good parts of the bill were more important.
He’s also heard from a lot of people concerned about gun violence in the wake of the recents shootings at a Connecticut elementary school, he said, adding that he’s spoke at a lot of local school forums on the subject.
“There are a lot of people who are very nervous about [gun violence],” he said.
In a press release on his vote on the SAFE bill, issued earlier this week, Mr. Losquadro said:
“This is not a perfect world and at the end of the day I voted for the act because I do believe it will make a positive difference in making our communities and schools safer. As the husband of a teacher and the father of a 3 year old son, that is my top priority.”
And what about state Senator Ken LaValle (R-Port Jefferson), who also voted for the SAFE act?
He seems to have gotten off easier than Mr. Losquadro. There’s just a few mentions of him on the Long Island Firearms site, and some comments about the SAFE act posted on his Facebook page.
The senator, however, also had previously set up a strict policy for posting to his Facebook page, which says the page’s managers have the right to remove comments that are, among other things, derogatory, inappropriate, personal attacks, or not related to the original post or discussion.