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Tolman speaks of additional gun control during visit

July 11, 2014 | By G. Michael Dobbs

Warren Tolman (right), who is running for attorney general, was seen at his Chicopee appearance with Hampden County Sheriff Michael Ashe Jr.
Reminder Publications photo by G. Michael Dobbs

CHICOPEE – Democratic candidate for Attorney General Warren Tolman said he would like to bring the same technology that unlocks an iPhone with a fingerprint to handguns.
The candidate brought his message to a meet and greet at the Kennedy American Legion Post on July 7.
Before speaking to the audience of about 30 people, Tolman spoke to Reminder Publications about the opiate crisis and the illegal guns coming from Vermont and being traded in western Massachusetts for heroin.
He said a plan to deal with the issue has many steps and he would involve local and state law enforcement as well as federal agencies such as the FBI.
“The bottom line is that we need a complete solution,” he said.
Tolman added, “When you see Vermont license plates [in western Massachusetts] they’re not here shopping. They’re making a trade.” He said that while there are “lots of illegal guns” in the eastern part of the state, there isn’t an equivalent “corridor” as formed by Interstate 91 in that area. 
He believes that part of that solution is the adoption of “smart gun” technology that unlocks the trigger with the authorized fingerprint. 
Tolman’s campaign literature outlining his plan noted that while he was in the Legislature he sponsored the 1998 Assault Weapons Ban. If elected he would work to achieve state and federal background checks for gun dealers and gun buyers at gun shows; banning .50 caliber firearms; and working to pass a law that would allow police to remove any firearms at the scene of domestic violence.
The National Rifle Association has in the past graded Tolman F for his gun control advocacy.
Education about opiate addiction is also important to Tolman and he called increasing treatment facilities for opiate addicts “the single biggest thing we have to do, particularly for women.”
He said he wants to clamp down on doctors who are prescribing unnecessary opiates to people and he intends to go after “big pharma” in making sure the drugs they producer as in tamper resistant forms.
“It’s a crisis and it’s time for crisis intervention,” he said.
Former Attorney Generals Francis Bellotti, Scott Harshbarger, Tom Reilly and Jim Shannon have endorsed Tolman’s candidacy.
Tolman’s appearance was co-hosted by Chicopee School Committee member Michael Pise and it attracted two of western Massachusetts’ most powerful Democrats: Sheriff Michael Ashe Jr. and State Democratic Party vice chair Debra Kozikowski.
Pise said that Tolman “Is a great guy and will be a great attorney general.”
Ashe lauded Tolman and said, “When I look back and I think of Warren, I think of character.”
Tolman said he has a commitment to western Massachusetts and noted he is the first candidate for attorney general to open a campaign office here.
He added, “I’m running because of the impact you can have in so many ways.”
Two other Democratic candidates for office also attended – Eric Lesser who is running for the 1st Hampden And Hampshire Senate seat and Edward Collins who is running for state representative in the 9th Hampden District.

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