Mount Vernon Letter: Wrong Side Of the Issues

Mount Vernon Letter: Wrong Side Of the Issues

Letter to the Editor

To the Editor:

Once more, this week, state Sen. Scott Surovell has demonstrated that he is out of the mainstream of even his fellow Democrats. The State Senate voted 34-6 to pass a Bill allowing all state judges and retired state judges to carry concealed handguns without requiring them to obtain a permit. Senator Surovell was one of the six who opposed the Bill. Since there are 19 Democratic Senators in the State Senate, he is decidedly in the minority of his own political party on this issue.

In opposing the Bill, Senator Surovell said: "What concerns me about this bill is that it not only applies to current judges, but it also applies to retired judges. I don't think there's anything so special about the job that they ought to be able to carry for the rest of their lives just because at one point in time we gave them a robe." This quote is remarkable for a number of reasons starting with the fact that Senator Surovell is a trial lawyer who frequently appears before people wearing robes. He is fully aware that those robed individuals often sentence criminals to jail. He is also aware that when they are doing so, their identity is clearly shown on a placard visible from the bench.

The fact that a judge has retired does not change the fact that he or she sentenced criminals to jail terms when he or she was an active judge. It is not unheard of for criminals to finish their jail terms and start looking for the judge who sent them to jail or prison. Senator Surovell's opposition to this Bill strikes me as both foolish and mean-spirited. However, this is not surprising. Senator Surovell, when he was a state delegate, opposed requiring Court clerks to conceal the identities of concealed carry permitees. He also opposed giving citizens civil immunity when they defend themselves against intruders into their homes.

I am not a psychiatrist so I cannot credibly analyze Senator Surovell's motivations for these seemingly mean-spirited decisions as a representative of the citizenry. I can only say that my gut reaction is he is on the wrong side of these issues and can only be held accountable by the constituents who elected him.

H. Jay Spiegel

Mount Vernon