The showdown between Pennsylvania’s Democratic Lt. Gov. John Fetterman and Republican candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz vying for the open U.S. Senate seat in Pennsylvania was described as “painful.” Lt. Gov. Fetterman is clearly struggling with the effects of the stroke he suffered months ago. We sincerely hope that he regains his health. Nevertheless, the debate revealed that Keystone State voters must contend with two candidates with vastly differing view on Second Amendment rights.
The debate opened with a question of why the candidates are running to represent Pennsylvanians in the Senate. Dr. Oz was unequivocal in his frustration with government overreach coming from Washington, D.C.
“I’m running for the U.S. Senate because Washington keeps getting it wrong with extreme positions,” Oz said. “Let’s take crime as an example, because it’s been such a big problem…John Fetterman, during this crime wave, has been trying to get as many murderers, convicted and sentenced to life in prison, out of jail as possible…”
Lt. Gov. Fetterman believes his record on crime qualifies him for higher office.
“I believe that I run on my record on crime,” Lt. Gov. Fetterman said. “All he’s done is put a plan up on his website in the last 24 hours. He has no experience.”
NSSF examined both candidates’ websites for how they would address crime and gun rights. Dr. Oz’s campaign site spells out that he rejects “defund the police” policies and opposes “cashless bail” ideas. On gun rights, Dr. Oz professes to being a gun owner, learning to hunt as a young teen with his father. He also “knows the Second Amendment isn’t about hunting, it’s about protecting ourselves.” He rejects red flag laws and “liberal gun grabs.”
Lt. Gov. Fetterman, too, professes to be a gun owner on his campaign site. He says he wants “common sense gun safety measures.” That includes his call to ban Modern Sporting Rifles (MSRs) which are the most popular-selling centerfire rifles in America with over 24.4 million in circulation today, universal background checks, which are impossible without a national gun registry and is prohibited by federal law. He wants red flag laws, without qualifying the need for Due Process rights protections.
“The Fraternal Order of Police from Braddock, the small town he represented, endorsed me,” Oz explained. “They supported me because what he’s saying is not true. Violence skyrocketed in Braddock… the town wasn’t in good shape when John got there. It got worse when he was there. People kept leaving, so of course you’re going to have all kinds of aberrations, but John… the city was dangerous under your leadership and that’s why the FOP endorsed me.”
Both candidates were asked how they might have voted on the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which was recently signed into law. Oz’s position wasn’t unlike that of the NSSF. There are portions of the bill that had merit, but other portions that needed more work.
“There are parts of that bill I like a lot,” Oz explained. “For example, I like that there are background checks that are being strengthened now so we can make sure that people who should not have guns don’t get guns. I also like that there was a lot of money invested for mental health, which is an important part of the equation.”
Oz was pressed if he would have voted to pass the legislation and added, “I would have tried to improve that bill.”
Oz took Lt. Gov. Fetterman to task over the reports of him wielding a shotgun against an unarmed Black man while he was mayor of Braddock, Pa.
“There’s one person on this stage that’s broken the law, we believe,” Oz said. “John Fetterman took a shotgun, chased an unarmed African American man and put the gun, apparently according to that man, to his chest. Why haven’t you apologized to that unarmed, innocent Black man who you put a shotgun to his chest?”
John Fetterman on the time he held an unarmed black jogger at gunpoint:
“The people of Braddock understood that situation was about me defending the community, acting as the chief law enforcement officer of the town.” pic.twitter.com/O36Pn99Jaf
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) October 12, 2022
Lt. Gov. Fetterman declined to offer an apology or a detailed explanation of the incident.
“I made the opportunity to defend our community as the chief law enforcement officer there,” he said.
SCOTUS & Filibuster
Both candidates said they had no interest in expanding the composition of the U.S. Supreme Court when asked by moderators. That radical notion has been proposed by far-left Members of Congress and senators as a way of achieving policy positions for issues that cannot survive the legislative process, including gun control.
“One of the first things he has said when he came back to the campaign trail was that he wanted to bust the filibuster, which means removing the brakes on the Sente overreacting,” Oz said. “That’s a risk.”
“That’s true. That is true,” Lt. Gov. Fetterman said.
Fetterman’s answer tells you how the filibuster/expansion of Court issue polls. Oz right to call out Fetterman being a radical on filibuster. Fetterman then hangs himself by confirming filibuster stance. #PASenateDebate https://t.co/G0GRSjquhV
— Hugh Hewitt (@hughhewitt) October 26, 2022
“If you do that, you would free up the Democrats in the Senate without getting the normal amount of votes to actually expand the Supreme Court, add more states, do things that are detrimental to the well-being of the country,” Oz explained. “I think that arguing on your first day back that we should get rid of the filibuster is a dangerously radical move that would hurt Washington. It’s not in our nation’s best interest.”
Pennsylvanians will have the final say on Nov. 8 when they cast ballots for who will represent them in the U.S. Senate and other races in the Commonwealth. This much is certain. This vote is critical to protecting the firearm industry and the Second Amendment rights of all Americans. Voters can learn more about how to register, where to vote and how their elected officials stand on firearm-industry issues. Don’t Risk Your Rights. #GUNVOTE.
Larry Keane is SVP for Government and Public Affairs, Assistant Secretary and General Counsel of the National Shooting Sports Foundation.