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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Shooters Committee on Political Education (SCOPE) has downgraded the score it gave to Democratic 62nd Senate District candidate Johnny Destino from an A to a C- due to support that Destino has received by people the group feels are anti-gun, according to a press release sent this afternoon by North Tonawanda Mayor and fellow 62nd Senate District candidate Rob Ortt.

"After revisiting and researching Johnny Destino, it has come to our attention that his campaign is being supported by officials that, in our opinion, are anti-gun owner and anti-Constitution," according to John Peracciny, Co-Chairman of Niagara County SCOPE. "At SCOPE, we believe candidates need to show support for the Second Amendment not only with their words, but with their actions. It is a clear conflict of interest for Johnny Destino to enthusiastically accept the endorsement of pro-SAFE Act officials, while telling us he supports the Constitution, and resulted in SCOPE lowering his rating to a C-,"

Ortt trumpeted the news: “Voters in the 62nd Senate District know where I stand on the Second Amendment and protecting the Constitution. I’ve fought to protect our freedoms in combat and I will continue to do so in Albany," he said via press release. “I am very proud to have and A+ rating from SCOPE, as well as the support of the National Rifle Association and the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association. We need to send people to Albany that voters can trust to do what they say, and my proven record of defending our Constitution demonstrates to voters that I won’t just say I’ll protect their rights, I’ve done it.”

Destino, meanwhile, downplayed the downgrade: "If Ortt wants to make this whole election about guns, let him," he said. "It's becoming increasingly obvious that he has no plans for creating jobs in the 62nd District."

"SCOPE must be working directly with Ortt's camp since the first I've learned about this was from you," Destino added.

The 2nd Amendment has been front and center in this race from the outset. It was the primary stated concern of former candidate Gia Arnold and has been discussed at length by Ortt and Destino. The two made references to their SCOPE ratings in a debate at NCCC on Oct. 15. After Ortt had noted his A+ rating, Destino joked, "I only have an A."

Destino's support of Gov. Andrew Cuomo also came up at that debate with Ortt questioning how Destino could oppose the SAFE Act while also supporting the man who pushed to make it law. Destino said at the time that while he would like to see the SAFE Act repealed, he felt that Cuomo had done a better job reaching in to Western New York than other recent governors.

Destino has the Democratic line on the Nov. 4 ballot, while Ortt can be found on the Republican, Conservative and Independence Party lines. A third candidate is on the Nov. 4 ballot, as well. Paul Brown carries the Working Families line, but has not actively campaigned.

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