Gun owners’ rights advocate slams PIP lawmaker over Weapons Law stance
By John McPhaul
Puerto Rico Weapons Licenseholders Defense Corporation (CODEPOLA by its Spanish acronym) President Ariel Torres Meléndez criticized Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP) Rep. Denis Márquez Lebrón on Monday for his opposition to proposed amendments to the Weapons Law (Law 168-2019).
“Before offering an opinion against the measure, they should give the people a solution on how to eliminate crime, if they are so knowledgeable on the matter,” Torres Meléndez said in a written statement. “The criminal walks around with various illegal weapons, enters establishments, steals, kills and, unfortunately, Rep. Denis Márquez does not have a bill against the criminal and his criminal actions, but he does oppose decent people being equally able to defend themselves.”
Márquez Lebrón characterized as unnecessary the amendments contemplated by the substitute bill for House Bills 575 and 382 that was approved in an internal voting session of the House Public Safety Committee.
“It is a matter of reasoning and not of opposing some amendments in favor of citizens, owners of gun stores and industrial estates,” Torres Meléndez said. “Reading and listening to leaders of the Puerto Rican Independence Party and the Citizen Victory Movement speak out against our fundamental rights leaves us with a lot to think about. It seems that they forgot that Don Pedro Albizu had a .32-caliber revolver and Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela each carried a .38 revolver, without moving away from what happened in Barrio Obrero with Albizu Campos’ barber, which is consigned to the history of our country.”
“This is not a gun law,” he added. “This is giving decent citizens the opportunity to legally exercise their right to defense with whatever resources they can. A gun on his waist and a backup on his leg versus criminals, who do it illegally, with automatic weapons and better armed than the police.”
Regarding the opposition to improving the Weapons Law, Torres Meléndez said “this leads us to think that the representative [Márquez Lebrón] or any other legislator against the bill merely supports criminals.”