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Local political reverberations from Newton

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It's clear that there are a political figures in Ventura County and who share President Barack Obama's assessment, expressed in his remarks at memorial service in Newton, CT, last night that, "We can't accept events like this as routine."

Democratic congressional candidate Lee Rogers, the Simi Valley podiatrist who lost his challenge against Rep. Buck McKeon last month, told voters during the campaign that among the things that distinguished him as a moderate Democrat was his support for the Second Amendment and gun rights, and that he was a member of the NRA.

After Friday, he no longer is. He shared on Facebook the resignation letter he wrote immediately after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Here is what he wrote:

"I am a proud gun owner and advocate for the Second Amendment. I grew up in the Midwest as a hunter and currently own guns for self-protection.

But there comes a time when society has to decide between competing rights. I believe one's right not to be mass-murdered by a gun in a movie theater, a mall, or a school outweighs the right to own an assault weapon or high capacity magazine.

Recent events highlight how some of the rights you fight for are too frequently exercised by deranged individuals that lead to the deaths of numerous adults and defenseless children. I cannot in good conscious be a member of an organization that mechanically argues for the right to purchase guns without background checks or waiting periods, the right to own high capacity magazines, or the right to own automatic assault weapons.

While running for Congress in 2012, I received your candidate questionnaire for endorsement. Even as a staunch supporter of gun ownership for self-protection, hunting, sport shooting, or collecting, I found your questions so outrageous. I was unable to answer "yes" to a single question.

Please accept this notification that I'm resigning my membership to the NRA effective today.

My thoughts are on the families of the victims in the multiple recent tragedies."

In a Sunday posting on his New York Times blog, columnist Paul Krugman quotes Ventura County Democratic Central Committee Chairman David Atkins, a Hullabaloo blogger, in arguing that Democratic elected officials needn't pay much heed to pro-gun fanatics because they are people who would not support Democrats under any circumstances. Atkins' blog post noted that other national tragedies have inspired government actions to prevent recurrences, but that fear of the gun lobby has prevented that from happening in the case of mass shootings.


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95 percent accurate
Over the last 25 presidential elections, Ventura County voters have backed the winner 24 times, or over 95 percent of the time. It is one of only a handful of counties in the nation that has been such a predictable bellwether.
about Timm Herdt
Timm Herdt
The Ventura County Star's Sacramento Bureau Chief Timm Herdt on state issues and politics from Sacramento to Ventura County. He can be contacted at therdt@vcstar.com
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