A New Jersey Republican running for the third district House seat publicly contradicted his views on citizens’ Second Amendment rights while on the campaign trail.
Tom MacArthur, a wealthy insurance executive who raised taxes as the mayor of Randolph Township, debated National Rifle Association board member Scott Bach about which gun restrictions — if any — the NRA president would support back during a March 2013 GOP event held at the La Strada restaurant in Randolph, New Jersey. A video of the debate taken by local Republicans was removed from YouTube shortly before MacArthur announced his candidacy.
Daniel Haggerty, vice president in charge of programming for the Randolph Republican Club, scheduled Bach to give a presentation at the event and was present while MacArthur argued with Bach. He’s also spoken to MacArthur at numerous other GOP events.
“I believe he’s opposed to pure Second Amendment rights, based on comments he made during Republican meetings,” Haggerty told The Daily Caller.
Billy Baer, who co-hosted a conservative talk radio show with Haggerty, also attended the meeting and spoke with MacArthur about citizens’ gun rights.
“He seemed to be more mainstream that I would be on the issue,” Baer said, recalling their conversation to TheDC. “His position was more moderate. It wasn’t much different than the Obama administration’s. He’s a little to the left of the mainstream Republicans.”
A participant who declined to be identified said MacArthur even mentioned that he was considering joining Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a pro-gun control advocacy organization backed by the former New York City mayor.
When MacArthur served on the Randolph Township Council, he supported restrictions on not only firearms, but on crossbows and compound bows as well. Minutes from an August 4, 2011 council meeting show MacArthur, citing safety concerns, asking if bow use could be further restricted by the state during deer season.
MacArthur’s consultant, Chris Russell, said MacArthur strongly supports Second Amendment rights, but didn’t elaborate further.
MacArthur is running against the former mayor of Botoga and conservative activist Steve Lonegan, a tea party-favored candidate, for the seat left vacant by New Jersey Republican Rep. Jon Runyan.
Russell repeatedly declined TheDC’s requests for comment. Bach also declined to comment on the conversations he held with MacArthur.