Gun Activists Question Lawmaker's Internet Activity

A picture being circulated online shows a sponsor of proposed changes to gun laws on Facebook during testimony on gun issues.

A state senator is facing criticism for her actions during a hearing on possible changes to the state's gun laws. 

Gun rights activists claim a picture taken during Monday's hearing before a subcommittee on gun control issues shows Senator Beth Bye on Facebook. 

The picture is being circulated online and some posts claim the senator was on the Internet and ignoring testimony opposing her proposed gun control legislation.  Bye is a co-sponsor of a number of the bills the subcommittee is considering.

"If you don't have the respect for your own constituents and the people that you represent to pay full attention to them, then she shouldn't have that seat," said Todd Branche, a gun owner from Waterford who did not attend the 16-hour hearing.

Bye addressed the controversy in an interview while she attended Tuesday's hearing on mental health issues.

"I was in the room for 16 hours and I was listening, but I was also going back and forth with constituents. I mean, it's 2013. I think we're all trying to figure out the right balance of keeping constituents informed," said Bye.

Bye is a member of the Bipartisan Task Force on Gun Violence Prevention and Children's Safety that was appointed after the Newtown shootings, and she is part of the subcommittee on school safety issues. 

She said she attended hearings before other subcommittees on gun control and mental health to get a broad understanding of all of the issues.

"I guess you have to expect this, that people are going to try to misconstrue your motives and make you look bad to help their cause and I think that they have the right to do that," said Bye. 

Not all gun rights advocates oppose Bye's internet activity.

"I applaud her for being here for all of those days and the fact that anyone is giving her garbage about it I think it's awful," said Brooke Cheney, a gun owner from Harwinton who attended the hearing.

The task force is holding public hearings before making recommendations to the full legislature on changes that should be made to state law in the hopes of preventing another tragedy like Newtown. 

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