NEW CASTLE, Del. (CBS) — Delaware Senate candidates Christine O’Donnell and Chris Coons each held events Thursday morning at the same time in New Castle, Del. within two miles of each other. But they focused on very different issues.
Coons (D) read a book to toddlers at the New Castle Public Library. O’Donnell (R) picked up the endorsement of a sportsmen’s group at the Delaware State Pistol Club. At O’Donnell’s event, the focus was the second amendment.
“I assure you that when I get to Washington, I will defend the constitution. I will fight to protect your right to self defense,” O’Donnell told a small gathering that included nearly as many reporters as supporters. She said she has never owned a gun herself but is concerned about the second amendment’s future.
“You don’t have to own a firearm to protect our rights. I want to protect our right to own a firearm, and that right is being threatened in a very serious way.”
When asked, O’Donnell would not take a position on renewing a federal ban on certain types of assault weapons. A previous ban expired in 2004, and various groups and officials across the country – among them Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey – have called on lawmakers in Washington to institute a new ban. Ramsey, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter (D) and Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell (D) called for a comprehensive ban after the 2008 killing of police Sergeant Stephen Liczbinski with a Chinese-made SKS assault rifle. Ramsey says that gun should not be on the streets.
O’Donnell says she wants to see an actual bill before making up her mind.
Chris Coons, meanwhile, told Eyewitness News he’s not sure how much voters care about gun control this election year.
“I have strong respect for the second amendment and the rights of individual Americans to own weapons for either sport or protection,” he said. “But I’m focusing on what I think are the immediate issues facing our country, which is getting the economy back on track, creating high-quality jobs, dealing with federal spending and the deficit.”
Coons says he doesn’t think the country needs any additional gun laws.
“I think the gun laws we have in place are more than adequate to keep us safe, we just have to enforce them,” he said.
Reported By Ben Simmoneau, CBS 3