by Steve Corbett – Greetings from Scranton
Haunted by brain-blowing memories of President John Kennedy’s 1963 assassination, I don’t want any stray Glocks, Berettas, Sig Sauers, Colts, Smith & Wessons or any other guns anywhere near an American commander-in-chief.
That’s why I felt edgy when I attended a rally President Joe Biden held last October at Scranton’s Electric City Trolley Museum.
Just a few rows from where Biden spoke from a podium, a well- known Democratic state lawmaker sat much too close for comfort, calling attention to his own well-publicized reckless gun behavior that makes him a major impediment to basic gun safety in America.
My state senator and trigger-happy macho man Marty Flynn doesn’t support crucial gun control. The former county prison guard, professional boxer and mixed martial arts mauler is why we need gun control.
Because Secret Service agents swarmed the area and everyone at the rally had undergone thorough security checks, I assumed Flynn wasn’t carrying the licensed, loaded firearm he has publicly flaunted for years. I also assumed Flynn did not leave a loaded gun in his car.
But the senator’s troubling pattern of reckless disregard for gun safety left me wondering if he had any idea how he increases the odds that a “bad guy with a gun” might one day kill somebody.
Flynn loves his gun. As a peculiar breed of red-blooded American white man, Flynn travels with his gun. Flynn feels more powerful with his gun. Flynn also is pure public menace with his gun.
Back in 2014 when Flynn was a state representative, he and another lawmaker were walking home to their apartment near the Capitol in downtown Harrisburg when two juveniles confronted them in a robbery.
One of the teenagers pulled a gun.
Frenzied Flynn pulled his gun.
The kid fired once and missed.
Flynn fired twice and missed.
Thankfully, nobody got wounded or killed, including vulnerable men, women or children struck by stray bullets blasting through walls of their nearby homes. Robocop law enforcement officials ruled Flynn acted in self-defense and commended him for helping maintain frontier justice.
Flynn told the Associated Press in a story headlined “Legislator who foiled robbery credits his gun,” he “believes he probably would have been killed if he had not used the Smith & Wesson Bodyguard 380 pistol that he conceals in a belt holster worn on the small of his back.”
Not a single elected official, Democrat or Republican, publicly criticized Flynn as a lousy shot who needs serious remedial firearms training, a cocky gunslinger who could easily have killed an innocent bystander with ricocheting bullets. Flynn’s berserk behavior also never came up when he campaigned for Biden who still promises public policy to protect people, particularly children, from guns.
Fast draw Flynn’s potentially deadly poor judgment didn’t stop with his undisciplined shootout on the street.
Flynn won a special election in May 2021 that named him the new Democratic state senator representing Biden’s old hometown. City, county, state and federal elected Democrats in Northeastern Pennsylvania cheered Flynn in his quest for higher office.
Not one elected official publicly questioned Flynn’s bad judgment even when he lost his gun.
Flynn says somebody stole the .357-caliber SIG Sauer P-229 with a full clip from his car. No matter how you cut the gunpowder, Flynn still lost his gun. And somebody almost died even without Flynn pulling the trigger. The alleged thief used Flynn’s pistol to shoot a Scranton man six times, according to police.
The shooting victim survived.
What remained of Flynn’s already shaky credibility died.
Flynn told Scranton cops he last saw his gun July 21 in the console of his car parked outside his West Scranton home. On July 28 Flynn reported the gun stolen. On August 2 police say a teenager used Flynn’s gun to shoot his victim, firing at least eight times.
Flynn said he thinks his car was locked but cops say no evidence exists of a break-in.
Palooka Flynn recently voted for a Republican bill to punish local governments that try to improve gun laws without legislative approval. Flynn wants to make it harder to prevent gun nuts like him from carrying firearms into municipal buildings and city parks.
Taxpayers in other states no doubt endure their own Flynn-like mutations. What makes Flynn unique is his representing the city where Joe Biden was born, a town tough enough as it is now burdened with a licensed-to-kill legislator. Law abiding good citizens expect and deserve better from elected officials.
I’ve owned guns over the years and legally carried loaded, concealed weapons. For the most part, civilian firearms are more trouble than they’re worth.
Flynn ignored my emailed questions about his manic behavior. His legislative assistant confirmed she received my questions and passed them on to Flynn and his district staff. At least she’s a straight shooter.
Since I trust Flynn’s judgement as much as I trust that the late actor and brother gun nut Charlton Heston didn’t believe the Second Amendment is listed among the Ten Commandments, I asked Flynn two questions to which we hopefully already know answers. Still, Flynn refused to say if he was packing a pistol at the Biden rally or left a loaded gun in the car at the Biden rally.
Flynn also refused to say whether he ever took a loaded gun into the state Capitol building, onto the floor of the state House of Representatives or onto the floor of the state Senate.
Scranton police should consider charging Flynn with reckless endangerment. If not, the state attorney general should. The county sheriff who issued Flynn’s concealed carry permit also should immediately revoke the privilege.
Instead of a hyper lawmaker with a hair trigger lack of discipline helping dictate already flimsy public policy, Flynn’s constituents and the rest of America need a controlled, courageous leader who believes political power does more harm than good when it blasts from the barrel of a gun.
Increasingly easy availability of private firearms concerns me more than ever. Fortified public policy must improve common sense gun control so more and more loaded weapons don’t get into more and more wrong hands and kill somebody else.
Like maybe even another American president.