Poughkeepsie, N.Y. city councilman Joe Rich (D-Ward 2) is retiring after his term expires next year. As he is not seeking reelection, Rich finds himself liberated. When reminded that this will be his last year, Rich told the constituent, “That’s why I can say what I want.”
What Councilman Rich wants to say is “Shut up!” to Poughkeepsie residents who oppose a proposed gun control measure that would require city residents to keep their firearms locked up at all times at a City Council meeting to discuss the issue.
Shooter Committee On Political Education, or SCOPE, first chair Jacqueline Emslie says the proposal, according to the Poughkeepsie Journal, “would make mandatory gun storage ‘a blanket policy for everyone under all circumstances,’ which could be detrimental in a number of situations.”
The meeting ran long because so many people wanted to have their say. Rich, after 11:00 pm in a meeting that started at 5:00 pm, had had enough. When someone challenged Rich’s assertion that those opposing the measure were not residents of the city, an audience member and measure opponent made it known that he not only lives in Poughkeepsie, but he lives in 2nd Ward, which Rich represents.
Rich began yelling “Shut up! You’re not recognized.” Personal insults began flying between Rich and the audience until order was resorted.
Rich later apologized, but justified his outburst because SCOPE members attended en mass and wore the group’s t-shirts. The Poughkeepsie Journal reports him saying:
“I didn’t mean to lose my temper, but felt it was abusive for them to come there in large numbers, wearing their shirts,” Rich said. “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.”
Rich also said to Emslie “You don’t love this city, you just don’t want us to have a successful law…”