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McDaniel says he's pro-2nd Amendment

Thursday, August 24, 2006

(Photo)
DUSTIN McDANIEL
Arkansas attorney general candidate Dustin McDaniel, a Democrat, said accusations that he is not 2nd Amendment friendly are not true. "Gunner (DeLay) can't shoot straight on the issue," McDaniel said in an Aug. 13 interview at the Areawide Media office in Salem.

Gunner Delay, the Republican candidate, points to McDaniel's role in an attempt by families of victims in the Jonesboro West Side school shootings to sue Remington and other gun manufacturers. Delay said McDaniel and his father filed the lawsuit that would hold gun makers responsible for crimes committed with guns. The suit would also hold gun owners responsible for crimes committed with their guns even if the guns were stolen.

"I was in law school at the time," McDaniel said. "It was filed following the Westside shooting and I worked on it for the law firm."

"I'm a hunter, gun owner and former police officer," McDaniel said. "I have an A rating from the National Rifle Association and am a member of the NRA."

According to DeLay's campaign Web log, McDaniel graduated from law school in 1999 and jumped right into the middle of the case. DeLay accuses McDaniel of getting involved in the case for publicity.

"I'm pro-2nd Amendment," McDaniel said. "He's been talking nonsense." McDaniel did not, however, disavow the lawsuit, which has not yet been settled.

McDaniel also said an issue he is concerned about is ID theft. He said the high number of retirees in the Ozarks makes it a primary concern. The elderly are one of the main targets of scammers and ID thieves, he said.

"There are three basic things I want to do," McDaniel said. "Prevention, provide tools to the victims to take control of their losses and punish the offenders."

McDaniel said the Attorney General's office releases information and scam alerts to the public to keep them informed and on guard. "It's important to continue that effort."

"I think we need to make Arkansas' IDs cards more difficult to counterfeit," he said. "Ours is amongst the easiest in the country to counterfeit."

He said if someone is able to obtain another individual's birth certificate and Social Security card then they'd have no problem obtaining a driver's license in someone else's name with their photo on it.

McDaniel said there are ways to prevent thieves from obtaining fake driver's licenses. One way is storing an individual's signature electronically. Another is storing a thumbprint electronically. Those are not likely for Arkansas, McDaniel said. "They are cost prohibitive and many people are uncomfortable with having the government hold personal information. We need to find a common sense balance."

McDaniel said one of the tools he'd like to implement is an ID passport. He said current Attorney General Mike Beebe supported it. He said the passport would be presented by victims to financial institutions to assist them against false claims.

Another tool would be a new program that would give scam victims to put a security freeze on their accounts. He said the freeze would allow the victim a say in who controls the account and who has access to financial and sensitive information.

"Victims of ID theft feel very powerless," McDaniel said. "Once their information is out there they can be victimized again and again."

McDaniel said ID theft ranges from misdemeanors to felonies. "I think if we need to get tough on ID theft," he said. He said he wants to increase penalties for ID thefts.

McDaniel will face DeLay in the general election Nov. 7.



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