Rep. Kuhl: Just Joking About Packing Heat
You can imagine how startled we were to read that Rep. Randy Kuhl (R-N.Y.) is considering arming himself in the wake of war protests at his district offices.
According to an editorial published Wednesday in the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, Kuhl - a man alleged to have once pulled two shotguns on his then wife at a 1994 dinner party - "has thought of arming himself, given the perception -- not accurate, he said -- that he is an inflexible supporter of President Bush's approach to the Iraq war."
The editorial board's blog quoted Kuhl as saying he has "thought about packing" in light of the perceived security threat to himself and his offices.
The paper's editorial admonished Kuhl, saying "any step along security lines may have a chilling effect on communication between constituents and a public official." Hinting that those who may disagree with Kuhl's stance in support of the Iraq war might be too intimidated to speak out if their congressman is packing heat, the editorial said, "It's more important than ever that ordinary citizens believe they can interact with their elected representatives without impediment."
A spokeswoman for Kuhl confirmed that Iraq war protestors targeted the congressman's offices in Bath and Fairport, New York, on Monday of this week but that Kuhl wasn't working at either office that day.
And while she acknowledged that the protests have made her boss rethink security, she disputed that Kuhl is seriously considering arming himself. "That comment was taken way out of context," the spokeswoman, Meghan Tisinger, told the Sleuth.
She said when Congressman Kuhl told the Democrat and Chronicle editorial board that he had "thought about packing" - he was just joking. (Get a sense of humor, people!) "It was one of those sarcastic, offhanded comments," she said.
Plus, Tisinger explained, Kuhl was joking about arming himself in the context of increased security on Capitol Hill in light of the approaching anniversary of 9/11.
According to the Associated Press and other news reports, divorce papers unearthed before the 2004 election (with the help of Kuhl's Democratic opponent) reveal Kuhl was alleged to have taken "out two shotguns and threatened to shoot plaintiff" during a 1994 dinner party at their home.
For anyone unnerved by the thought of Kuhl packing heat when he returns from recess next month, you can probably relax. While he does have a license to carry a firearm the good news is that, according to his spokeswoman, he doesn't exercise that right when he's working.
Mary Ann Akers
August 9, 2007; 5:22 PM ET
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