Sometimes acting like an alderman can get a mayoral candidate in trouble. Ask Andi — BB rifle — Turco-Levin. About a week ago, Turco-Levin said she was approached by a frightened elderly woman who said she saw a man carrying what appeared to be a rifle, walking his dog in their Uptown neighborhood early on a Sunday morning.
Police determined the loaded BB gun the man was carrying was to protect his dog from other dogs. Cops suggested he get a stick or pepper spray so as not to alarm passersby. Under city statute, BB guns, loaded or otherwise, can be carried on city streets. It says nothing about discharges. Empty long guns can be carried, but not fired.
Turco-Levin said she e-mailed Common Council President Jim Noble and Police Chief Jerry Keller, along with council Laws and Rules Committee Chairman Bob Senor, asking for a review of gun-control laws.
The BBs hit the fan shortly thereafter.
Former alderman Rich Cahill Jr., like Turco-Levin a candidate for the Republican mayoral nomination in the Sept. 13 primary, attacked his opponent for what he characterized as an uninformed, knee-jerk overreaction. Cahill, an attorney and a candidate for mayor in 2007, does not mince words. Senor expressed similar sentiments. Others just rolled their eyes. The police chief, who retires in December, had no comment.
“Can you imagine a Republican candidate raising a gun issue like that before a primary?” Cahill marveled, no doubt thanking his lucky stars. “I think I’ll send her a bouquet of flowers.” Little Richard (his father is also Richard) might want to check with Mrs. Cahill and Mr. Levin before calling the florist.
Turco, as she’s referred to by native-born Kingstonians, took her concerns to the Freeman but withdrew her request for coverage after cooler (political) heads prevailed.
Displaying a talent for damage control well beyond her 20 months in office, Turco swears she’s not anti-gun, as Cahill suggests, and that she “totally believes in the right to bear arms.” Neither she nor musician husband Tony Levin owns a firearm, she said, but added she used to be “quite a good skeet shooter at one time.”
Cahill’s righteous and self-serving indignation notwithstanding, Turco might have been on the right track on this one. From 50 feet away, even to an experienced gun owner or police officer, a BB gun looks alarmingly like a small-caliber firearm. And what does any sensible person do when they see somebody approaching them with a firearm? Run like hell, that’s what, and ring up a cop, or maybe an alderman.