Sunday, May 20, 2018
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‘Joe’ to victims’ families: Don’t trump gun rights

Admits his message is a ‘little blunt’

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    Samuel 'Joe the Plumber' Wurzelbacher.

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The weekend mass shooting in California and the Memorial Day holiday prompted local GOP activist Samuel “Joe the Plumber” Wurzelbacher to write an open letter to the parents of the murder victims that expresses his sympathy, but also declares: “Your dead kids don’t trump my Constitutional rights.”

Fearing that gun-control advocates will latch onto statements from victims’ relatives about how disturbed individuals such as California shooter Elliot Rodger acquire guns, the Springfield Township resident wrote on his Web site

“I’m sorry you lost your child. I myself have a son and daughter and the one thing I never want to go through is what you’re going through now. But as harsh as this sounds — your dead kids don’t trump my Constitutional rights.”

RELATED CONTENT: Download PDF of the original letter

Mr. Wurzelbacher said in Monday’s posting that relatives’ statements will be exploited “by gun-grab extremists as are all tragedies involving gun violence and the mentally ill by the anti-Second Amendment Left.”

He urged against “playing into the hands of the folks who merely capitalize on these horrific events for their own political ends.”

“They don’t care about your family or your dead children at all. They sound like they do, whereas I sound uncaring and like I say, harsh. Don’t be fooled — I care about your family and mine. The future of our very liberty lies in the balance of this fight,” Mr. Wurzelbacher wrote.

He specifically addressed Richard Martinez whose 20-year-old son was among those killed. Mr. Martinez has blamed the NRA and irresponsible politicians for allowing mentally unstable people the ability to buy guns.

Reached Tuesday night, Mr. Wurzelbacher said his posting was “a little blunt for some people.”

It even led, he said, to two emailed death threats, which he plans to report to the FBI this morning.

But he added, “A lot of people are glad that I’m as blunt as I am.” On a week that the country just celebrated Memorial Day, he said gun-control advocates are making a mockery of what Americans fought and died for over the years.

Blaming guns for deaths such as those in California, is not the answer, he said, adding that guns allow many to protect themselves.

Mr. Wurzelbacher, 40, gained fame in 2008 when Mr. Obama happened to stop by his front yard on the campaign. They talked about taxes and the conversation was picked up in national debates.

Since then, he’s spoken in about 48 states to crowds ranging from 20 to 20,000.

Speaking about once a month is one of five jobs that Mr. Wurzelbacher said he holds.

He’s a line worker at Chrysler. He operates his Web site, which employs about 30 writers, most of whom are freelancers, but a few are full-time. He’s about to debut a gun company, which he described as a retail operation that also produces original designs. And he still works as a plumber as well as taking on other jobs, such as tree work.

He is not, however, eager to run for office again. “God, I hope not,” he said in response to such a query.

He was disappointed in his 2012 congressional campaign by the offers he got for significant donations — if only he would make certain statements. He was unwilling, he said, to compromise his principles to do that.

“It’s hard for a regular Joe to make things happen,” he said of the need for money in successful campaigns.

But he’s still trying to do just that, he said, with his Web site, which he said gets 3.5 million to 8 million hits per month.

Blade news services contributed to this report.

Contact Jane Schmucker at: or 419-724-6102.

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