A video of Newtown, Connecticut dad Bill Stevens is getting attention across the Internet just as President Barack Obama is launching a campaign-style drive to promote gun control measures.
Stevens, whose daughter Victoria attends school at Reed Intermediate School, about a mile away from the sight of the tragic December shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, spoke in favor of gun rights before a Working Group Public Hearing on Gun Violence Prevention at the Connecticut State Capitol on January 28.
“Charleton Heston made the phrase, ‘from my cold, dead hands’ famous, and I will tell you here today, you will take my ability to protect my Victoria from my cold, dead hands,” said Stevens, punctuating this final line of his testimony with a resounding pound of his fist on the desk before him, and drawing cheers from the chamber audience.
Stevens said that he was not testifying to “cite crime statistics, lives saved with a gun, or the economic impact with the proposed asinine legislation some of these gun control bills you have proposed,” but that he wanted to stress his rights under the U.S. and Connecticut State Constitutions, and defend his ability to protect his family.
“We all know what the Second Amendment says, but Section 15 of the state Constitution says very clearly, ‘Every citizen has a right to bear arms in defense of himself and the state.’ There’s no registration, there’s no permitting, there’s no background checks. It’s quite clear,” said Stevens. “In order to limit the rights of individuals, there is something called due process, and legislation is not due process. You want to take my rights away, let’s go to court.”
“My guns are not dangerous. They are at home, locked up, collecting dust and cat hair,” he quipped, sparking laughter.
Stevens’s testimony took place at the same hearing as the “heckling” hoax, in which MSNBC edited video to back up a false report that Neil Heslin, a Newtown dad speaking in favor of gun control, was “heckled” by gun-rights advocates during his statement.