|A online campaign ad from Democrat John Bell highlighting statements from Bell’s opponent, incumbent state Del. David Ramadan, on gun rights has been removed from YouTube.|
An official campaign ad from Democratic House of Delegates 87th District candidate John Bell that featured powerful pro-gun rights statements from Bell's opponent, Republican Del. David Ramadan, has been removed from the Internet, and the original remarks from Ramadan have gone from public to private on YouTube.
Ramadan, the GOP incumbent in the neck-and-neck 87th House race, made the comments in question in May 2011. Speaking to the Virginia Citizens Defense League, Ramadan said he will “work hard to eliminate all the existing rules and regulations and limitations that are on the books.”
“There should be absolutely no restrictions on God-loving, law-abiding citizens to carry guns in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Period. It's as simple as that,” Ramadan, who represents portions of Loudoun and Prince William counties, said. " … I will fight adamantly any kind of interpretation, any kind of restrictions, any kind of rules, that will limit your rights to own and carry. And I will work hard to eliminate all the existing rules and regulations and limitations that are on the books.”
The now-vanished Bell ad underlined Ramadan's “no restrictions” comments.
This morning, a Bell campaign spokesman said he received a notification from YouTube stating: “We have disabled the following material as a result of a third-party notification from VaGunRights claiming that this material is infringing.”
In addition to the Bell ad being pulled from the web, VAGunRights has made the original video private. Prior to the ad, it was publicly available.
After an attempt to contact the operator of the VAGunRights YouTube page, the Times-Mirror learned the owner of the video recording Ramadan's speech is Ed Levine, a local Ramadan supporter and avid Second Amendment advocate.
Levine confirmed he contacted YouTube content managers to have the Bell ad taken down and that he made the original video private. He did so, he said, because he felt the ad took Ramadan's comments out-of-context. Levine said he made private Ramadan's speech so that no one else would use his copyrighted material for campaign purposes.
This afternoon, Ramadan told the Times-Mirror he did not initiate having the ad scrubbed from the Internet. Yet, speaking about its content, the first-term delegate said Bell is “deliberately attempting to deceive voters on my position.”
“As an avid sportsman, I support the Second Amendment and oppose efforts to restrict gun ownership for law-abiding citizens,” Ramadan said.
The Republican lawmaker today clarified his “rules and regulations” and "no restrictions" remarks from 2011 by saying, “background checks and keeping guns out of the hands of the mentally ill are certainly common sense regulations that I support.”
Joe Hamill, a Bell spokesman, maintains his campaign never misrepresented Ramadan's views on gun rights.
"David Ramadan got caught telling the truth about his dangerous stance on gun laws when he thought voters weren't watching," Hamill said. "And no matter how hard he tries to convince voters otherwise, his statement was unambiguous and speaks for itself."