letter, Daily Local News, 8/5/17 (letters are not online at the Daily Local)
I was somewhat perplexed by the article “Costello talks of security concerns” (Daily Local, July 23).
Rep. Costello (R-PA 6) is quoted as saying that those trying to get him to attend a town hall meeting with constituents earlier this year “actually were creating a potential trap for me so people would be able to shoot at me.”
Did he mean 1) that he thinks the organizers were (and perhaps still are) planning to assassinate him? Or 2) that he worries about appearing at a public event that could also be attended by unstable people who have guns?
I have attended some of the rallies outside his office, calling for him to act on issues like supporting Medicare and opposing Trumpcare; and I have to say, hypothesis 1) seems to me absurd. The people who organize and attend those rallies are not deranged and are not violent, quite the contrary.
Hypothesis 2) seems more plausible. When Rep. Costello has appeared among constituents outside his office on Market St.–which is a good thing to do–it has been without advance notice; and the town hall he has held was inside the Courthouse, with security screening. That is not an irrational decision, given the attack in a public venue on former congresswoman Gabby Giffords (D-AZ) and those around her. Even the most pro-gun members of Congress do not seem eager to allow members of the public to bring guns into the Capitol building.
I have often noticed that the shades on Rep. Costello’s office windows are drawn. His staff have said that is because they fear papers on their desks being seen from outside, but that’s hard to understand, as his windows are one floor above ground level. Perhaps the real fear is being shot at from outside?
If Rep. Costello and his staff are really worried about the dangers posed by unstable people who should not have access to guns, can we expect him to oppose bills now before Congress that would make it easier for people to carry concealed guns, to equip weapons with silencers, and to bring firearms into public schools?
We’ll see, but it’s hard to be optimistic, since Rep. Costello recently voted for HR 1181, to allow gun purchase by almost 200,000 veterans who currently are prevented from buying guns by action of Veterans Administration medical professionals under the National Instant Background Check system.
Still, Rep. Costello likes to represent himself as a moderate representing a “purple” district, and perhaps his security concerns will give him a chance to distance himself from the NRA and to show that he has everyone’s security at heart, not just his own.