EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

February 13, 2013

DA a guest at president's address

(Continued)

He said Nugent represents an extreme position, someone who resorts to name calling instead of reason.

“It shows why the Republicans may be in the majority, but they can’t really lead,” Tierney said.

Blodgett said he is not interested in slogans or bluster, but in having a discussion about gun violence and ways to stem it. His efforts include a once-a-year school safety conference with superintendents that looks at issues around physical school safety, as well as mental health issues.

“I try to do it in an understated and successful way,” Blodgett said.

Blodgett was already in D.C. for his role as vice president of the National District Attorneys Association during its annual conference, in which district attorneys lobby members of Congress on a variety of issues. When Tierney heard Blodgett would be in the capital, he invited Blodgett to Obama’s address.

Tierney said Blodgett also represents a leader in public safety and health issues related to gun violence prevention, someone with a reasonable approach and an authoritative voice.

“We are trying to collaborate on community discussions on gun violence,” Blodgett said.

Tierney also invited Lynette Alameddine of Saugus. Alameddine’s son, Ross, was killed in the mass shooting at Virginia Tech in 2007.

These invitations to the State of the Union are part of a wider effort by some in Congress to invite those who have been affected by gun violence, or who are working to end it, according to Tierney.

“We wanted to make a statement with our guests,” Tierney said.

Tierney said he does not want to infringe on gun owners’ rights, but said the Constitution allows for reasonable restrictions. For instance, he said handguns could be made safer through better design or the use of technology, and a gun could be personalized, so only the owner could use it.

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