South Mississippi congressional candidate Ron Williams said mayors vowing to block new Chick-fil-A restaurants because the company’s president opposes gay marriage “need to be introduced to the Second Amendment ASAP.”
Williams, a Libertarian candidate for the U.S. House District 4 seat, made that and other statements in a letter to the editor to the Sun Herald. But asked about the letter, he said his comments were “hyperbole, non clarity,” and that “I don’t want anybody to go shoot anybody, but I want people to understand what a slippery slope we can be on and what the purpose of the Second Amendment is.”
His letter was in response to statements by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanual and Boston Mayor Tom Menino advising Chick-fil-A not to seek new franchises in their cities over CEO Dan Cathy’s public opposition to gay marriage. San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee and Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl have made similar statements about potentially blocking the restaurant.
Williams said this is an abuse of government power and runs afoul of the First Amendment rights to free speech.
In his letter, Williams said: “Let me make it clear, the CEO is being punished by government officials because he exercised his First Amendment right of free speech. The Constitution is very clear. When government restricts and punishes the people for exercising their First Amendment rights, then we are to default to the Second Amendment (right to keep and bear arms). These two mayors need to be introduced to the Second Amendment ASAP.”
Williams also wrote: “The correct response to these mayors would be to send troops or whatever to remove these men from office, by whatever means is necessary.”
In the 2010 midterm elections, TEA Party-backed Republican candidate Sharron Angle, who unsuccessfully challenged Democratic U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, caused a stir with similar comments about the Second Amendment. She said that people were “looking toward Second Amendment remedies” over their displeasure with Congress and floated the possibility of armed insurrection if “Congress keeps going the way it is.”
Williams said his letter was meant to remind people that “some things are worth fighting for, if they cannot be remedied by any other measure.”
“I’m not saying anybody should go shoot these mayors,” Williams said. “But politicians need to be reminded, our founding fathers were quite clear that it’s quite possible for our country to fall back into the hands of tyranny ... I’m a thou-shalt-not-kill kind of guy, but these guys should be reminded of the Second Amendment ... I guess the word reminded would have been better (in the letter) ... I needed a thesaurus beside me.”
Williams, of Moss Point, faces incumbent Republican Rep. Steven Palazzo, Democrat Michael Herrington of Hattiesburg and Reform candidate Robert W. Claunch of Diamondhead in the Nov. 6 general election.