In an exchange on Twitter, Rep. Val Demings (D-FL) revealed an unusual understanding of the U.S. Constitution. In the Twitter exchange with a person identified as “Stephen Mercer,” she claimed that her First Amendment rights are different from his.
The tweet from her detractor referred to an incident that occurred on February 27, 2009. While she was serving as chief of police in Orlando, Florida, a man broke into Demings’ vehicle and stole a 9 mm handgun that was issued to her in addition to other belongings that were stored in a duffle bag. In a report on the incident, police internal affairs manager Dwain L. Rivers wrote, "Although the vehicle's remote was used to lock the vehicle, the doors were not physically [checked] to ensure the locks [had] engaged." Rivers added, however, that "Chief Demings accepts full responsibility and does not wish to contest the sustained finding." For the violation, Demings was given "written censure" that would "remain in her personnel file for three years."
During the first week of May, Demings wrote on Facebook, “Proud to stand with Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, Americans For Responsible Solutions, The Brady Campaign and my distinguished colleagues in this fight for common sense gun legislation. We stand AGAINST the gun lobby, and WITH victims of gun violence everywhere.” She accompanied the post with a photograph of herself and a group of gun control advocates.
In response, Stephen Mercer posted on May 3, “Hey Val...Have they found that gun that was stolen out of your car? Let's talk responsible gun ownership first, before we take on other points."
Rep. Demings responded on Facebook: "Teach me how to be perfect, Stephen, because obviously you are. My First amendment right is different from yours. You are wasting your time."
Mercer wrote to Demings on May 4: "Your First Amendment rights are the same as mine...no one gets put on a pedestal...same as my Second Amendment rights. Who are you to regulate ore laws onto law-abiding citizens. We are regulated by background checks on the federal level on every purchase. My ccp background check on a federal level, and yet I haven't irresponsibly left a gun someplace it can get stolen." Then Daniel Hensel wrote: "She thinks she is better. See the issue with all of this always goes back to 'personal responsbility.' Since one person makes a mistake, they want to blame everyone else. She took an oath as mentioned by Richard and she needs to abide by it or leave. If she doesn't like the constitution, move."
Michael Louis Greenstein wrote: "Wait, did she just try to say she getsmore First Amendment rights than us? What a joke!"
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