The two candidates in the 5th Congressional race met for a debate in Danbury last night. One of the issues they discussed was gun control laws. They were asked specifically about closing the background check loophole. Democratic incumbent Elizabeth Esty says when the law was passed 20 years ago, very few people bought anything on the internet.
Republican challenger Clay Cope says gun control is a three pronged issue. He says there is a mental health issue, a failure of the FBI to keep track of criminals, and a need to keep the 2nd Amendment in tact.
Esty says Cope is woefully illinformed.
Cope said that Esty should be focused on issues directly impacting the 5th District, and not helping 18 other states get the same strict gun laws that Connecticut now has.
The pair was asked what changes they would make to the country's immigration system.
Cope wants current laws enforced, steps taken to seal the border to keep illegal immigrants from coming in and to reform the process for people to become citizens. His partner is here legally from Peru, but can't get his citizenship. He says people are coming into this country illegal because they're not able to become citizens. For one friend's parents it it took 17 years.
Esty says the current system is broken. She wants to secure the border, keep families together and give them a legal earned path to citizenship that includes paying back taxes if any are owed. She says farmers can't find legal labor to do the work. Esty says the dysfunctional system forces them to make a choice between hiring illegally or being uncompetitive.
While they agreed on some policy issues, there was a difference of opinion about the Affordable Care Act.
Cope called Obamacare an epic failure and would like to see it replaced. He would like to see private market solutions implemented. He doesn't think there should be government-required insurance.
Esty says it's doing a lot of good for a lot of people, but it's not perfect. She compared it to Medicare, which got amended over and over again like any big piece of policy will. Esty says the private marketplace was the system before the Affordable Care Act and led to more emergency room visits.