Atlantic County Sheriff Frank Balles, a Republican nominee for New Jersey State Senate, told gun rights activists last week that if his opponent, incumbent Senator Jim Whelan (D) knocked on their door, they should get their firearms.
Talking Points Memo reports that Balles was laying out his opposition to gun restrictions before a gun-rights group called Bold Departure:
“When someone’s been elected for 30 years and he comes knocking on your door and tells you, ‘Listen, this is what I want to do to help you,’ quickly close your door, go inside,” Balles said.
A member of the audience quickly interjected, “And get your gun!”
Balles quickly responded, “And get your gun, exactly!”
Watch the video:
Balles said at the event that he is both a member of Bold Departure and a life member of the NRA. He attacked Whelan for supporting a series of post-Sandy Hook gun laws, calling the efforts “nonsense.”
On his campaign website, Balles calls himself a “career law enforcement professional.” He claims to “care deeply about the community and the safety of its citizens.”
New Jersey Democrats have called on Sheriff Balles to resign his office. Balles attempted to deny having made the comment on Thursday afternoon, telling reporters that he had only suggested voters close their doors if Sen. Whelan visits. “Whatever else was said, was said by the audience,” he said, “I can’t control the audience.” But the video clearly shows him agreeing with and repeating the audience member’s suggestion that any visited constituent should “get your gun.” Bold Departure removed the video from public view, though TPM has posted its own copy.