Gun Control, Social Security Debated At Reed Town Hall

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ITHACA, NY (WSKG) – NY 23rd District Congressman Tom Reed held a town hall in Ithaca on Tuesday. About 50 people attended the event at the public library.

The first topic of discussion was Social Security.

Reed said he wants to save Social Security for future generations. But, he opposes Democratic proposals he said they would raise taxes.

Later, the conversation shifted to guns.

Celia Clarke/WSKG Public Media

Betsy Schlesinger (center) speaks to Rep. Tom Reed (right). Her grandson (left) listens in. Celia Clarke/WSKG Public Media

The Republican reaffirmed his opposition to an assault rifle ban and described it as a slippery slope that might lead to the repeal of the Second Amendment. 

Others disagreed.

“No one has the mass shootings we have!,” one woman shouted. “No one.”

“But, we have the freedom,” Reed responded, to which the room erupted in groans.

Reed said lawmakers should focus on who commits the crimes rather than what.

Betsy Schlesinger, a retired public school psychologist, disagreed. She attended the meeting with her daughter and 16-year-old grandson. She said blaming mass shootings on mental illness is misguided.

“To start labelling them mental is not only really off base, but very, very unfair to people who do have identifiable psychiatric issues because those people are usually victims,” Schlesinger said. 

Reed got applause when he said he favors removing restrictions on the CDC should be lifted to allow for research about gun violence as a public health issue.

But, that restriction, called the Dickey amendment, was lifted in 2018.

New York’s 23rd district which stretches across the Southern Tier and includes Owego, Ithaca, and Jamestown.

Reed’s staff will hold office hours in Ithaca later this month.